New Boutique Sits Alongside Louis Vuitton, Zegna And Others At Lippo Plaza
In a New York Times article today on the Chinese luxury market, Joyce Hor-Chung Lau wraps up her look at the Chinese obsession with Western labels by asking: “Where are the Chinese brands?” Though it’s unfortunate that Lau conveniently fails to mention up-and-comers like Zhaoyi, Qeelin, the Hermes-backed Shang Xia (previously on Jing Daily), NE-TIGER, or the growing number of individual designers currently making waves in Beijing and Shanghai, it’s not that surprising.
Though part of the blame for the struggles of homegrown Chinese brands lies with Western-brand-obsessed consumers, who are often all too eager to drape themselves head-to-toe in the most garish displays of wealth imaginable, the brands themselves are partly to blame by failing to fully understand the importance of brand positioning and effective marketing. However, with the opening of Qeelin’s first Shanghai location in June, Shang Xia’s first boutique in September, and NE-TIGER’s newest store at Shanghai’s Lippo Plaza last weekend, it seems that Chinese luxury brands are now adopting a more active approach to building credibility.
NE-TIGER is by no means a new brand, having been established by designer and entrepreneur Zhang Zhifeng in 1992, but the brand has only engaged in a large-scale marketing push over the past few years. Rather than aping Western designs, NE-TIGER mines Chinese history for inspiration, looking back at the country’s imperial past and reimagining ancient examples of luxury. As designer Zhang Zhifeng said in a recent interview, “Based on China’s 5000 years of civilization and its cultural heritage of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, and based on the passion and creativity of the new Chinese generation of designers, I believe in the future [of] the Chinese luxury brand industry.”
In addition to injecting his brand messaging with the occasional nationalistic note, Zhang seems to understand that brand legitimacy in the current global luxury market hinges on “playing the game.” And that involves regularly taking part in Fashion Week and investing in more boutiques, some of which are appearing at China’s top luxury malls. With its new store, which marked its grand opening at Lippo Plaza in Shanghai last weekend, NE-TIGER is looking to build legitimacy among China’s luxury consumers through its association with neighbors like Louis Vuitton and Ermenegildo Zegna.
From Sohu (translation by Jing Daily team):
NE-TIGER’s grand opening in Shanghai was a star-studded affair, with celebrities and the business elite gathering for a ceremony that hearkened back to Old Shanghai. Models showed off NE-TIGER’s latest designs, which also appeared at the recently concluded China International Fashion Week.
Huai Hai Road has long been the cradle of fashion and luxury in Shanghai, with brands like Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Zegna, Tiffany, Hermes and others opening flagships here. This time, one of China’s top luxury brands, NE-TIGER, has broken into this Western-dominated sector, filling the gap that exists in the market for fashion imbued with true Chinese elements.