How SHANG XIA, A Brand Rooted In Chinese Culture, Explores New Fields

November 11,2021

In what way should luxury brands built on Chinese culture emerge and grow?SHANG XIA, created by Ms. Qiong’er JIANG and Hermès has been exploring and trying on this topic for over 10 years.

In December 2020, SHANG XIA obtained an investment from Exor Group of 80 million euros.

In September 2021, the brand appointed its first Creative Director of Fashion, and released its first series at Paris Fashion Week in October, and at the same time launched its brand new LOGO.

Luxe.CO conducted an exclusive interview with Ms. Qiong’er JIANG, the Founder and Artistic Director and Yang LI, the Creative Director of Fashion to interpret what had been considered behind those decisions made for SHANG XIA and the future directions of the brand.

Enhance fashion categories to increase brand influence

Fashion categories, represented by clothing, is the core motivation for luxury brands to create a lifestyle of full-category and extend brand value.

According to the report released by BCG, in 2021, ready-to-wear clothes, with a market penetration of 69%, has become the fastest growing category.

Hermès, who started as a harness maker, launched his first women’s wear series in 1929. LOUIS VUITTON, who started with suitcases, released his women’s wear series in 1998. Among the leading luxury brands, many did not start from clothes. Yet now, it is without doubt that fashion categories are becoming one of the fastest growing and best performing departments.

Qiong’er JIANG said in the interview: “For SHANG XIA, lifestyle is the deepest culture root, whereas fashion is like a kite, connected to the root with a string. By strengthening the fashion category and pulling them to the furthest place they can go, the further they can be pulled, the more influence the brand can achieve.

Multi-category strategy opens multiple doors for the brand

Qiong’er JIANG describes the process of strategizing the six major categories, i.e., furniture, home products, clothes, leather products, jewelry and accessories over the past decade as the process of “building a house.”

The brand is like a building, and the various categories are the “doors” welcoming groups of clients with different profiles. She said: “When we first started the brand, SHANG XIA has already been positioned as a brand that has multiple dimensions, which means more time, money, human resources and efforts needed to be devoted to ‘lay the foundation,’ rather than seeking a quick return.”

On 4 October, with the joining of the Gen Next Beijing-born designer Yang LI, SHANG XIA for the first time had launched its fashion series at the Spring Summer Paris Fashion Week 2022.

Showing people the “Oriental Modernity”

For many consumers at home and abroad, SHANG XIA is the modern presentation of traditional oriental aesthetics lifestyle and its unique artisan culture and originality of design have been fully demonstrated in its porcelain, lacquerware, silk and timber furniture.

Qiong’er JIANG emphasized her own principle of design: “SHANG XIA’s oriental aesthetics is not about physical objects, rather, it is about absorbing Chinese culture and spirit and applying them in a contemporary way. To design out of the box is the true meaning of inheriting traditions.”

She said: “Over the past 12 years, we’ve been growing bit by bit and via exploration, we’ve formed the prototype of the SHANG XIA style which I summarize as: well balanced, but unexpected.”

It is this brand conviction that has enabled SHANG XIA to embrace the newly emerged, progressive and pioneering designer Yang LI.

Yang LI thinks that “SHANG XIA is not just about the Dynasties and all of that stuff. We need to start talking about modern China. Don't you think when people talk about China, they focus still on all the old things? But I think China has so much newness to show and so much technology, so much optimism and so many innovations. Oriental modernity is all about contrasts between not just old and new, but digital world and physical world, the uncontrolled and the controlled, the wild and the wise.

For SHANG XIA’s latest handbags, Yang LI closely observed the lifestyle of young people in China in the modern days and added a small hidden openings to his design to accommodate the needs of carrying Apple air tags inside the bag. Clicking on the official website of the brand, its home page is presented as pictures that can be zoomed in and out. This is to accommodate the habit of viewing by picture stream whether on computers or mobile phones, which shows SHANG XIA’s understanding of fashion in this digital era.

Go for it--to become a global luxury brand

At the end of 2020, Exor, one of Europe’s biggest diversified holding companies, controlled by the Italian Agnelli family, invested 80 million euros and became SHANG XIA’s biggest shareholder. SHANG XIA is the first fashion luxury brand that Exor controls shares of. This is also the first investment that the investor has made in China’s fashion and luxury field.

At the same time, SHANG XIA has also launched its new logo and interpreted the brand’s specialty of diversity through mirror image——the opposition and coexistence between “SHANG” (up) and “XIA” (down) together formed the brand name, representing a style and culture that is born from opposition and harmony. It is rooted in the traditional China culture, while at the same time truly reflecting the modern world of China.



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