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Boutique brands attract China's fashion buyers

Monday, October 01, 2012 - 01:59

Oct.02 - Chinese buyers and commentators are flocking to Paris Fashion Week in ever-increasing numbers but the big brands are no longer a billionaire's bet in Beijing. Ivor Bennett reports

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This may be Paris fashion week, but it's China that's stealing the show. The country's fashion market will triple in the next decade to over 200 billion dollars, according to a report by the Boston Consulting Group. And with sales still sinking at home, Europe's top labels are desperate to cash-in. French luxury brand Thierry Mugler already has a foothold in the region, but President Joel Palix wants more. (SOUNDBITE) (French) PRESIDENT OF CLARINS FRAGRANCE GROUP AND THE THIERRY MUGLER BRAND JOEL PALIX SAYING: "We have a very good partnership in Hong Kong, the company Joyce, helps us with our development there and in China. We also have boutiques in Japan that like the brand. China is among our priorities, because it's a very important market for fashion." A growing affluent class has made China a potential goldmine - with the latest Hurun wealth report counting over a million millionaires. But retailers beware - success is by no means guaranteed. Running costs there have risen sharply now the secret's out. And it seems Western brands can no longer rely on cachet alone to bring in the profits. Sales for luxury British brand Burberry flat-lined in the last quarter with China cited as the major contributing factor. According to Vogue China's senior fashion editor, Yoyo Yao, Chinese tastes are changing fast and 'Made in Europe' isn't enough. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) VOGUE CHINA SENIOR FASHION EDITOR YOYO YAO SAYING: "I think that perhaps at the very beginning, people were more about wanting to make a statement like, I'm wearing Dior, I'm wearing this and that label, but now, it's become more refined. Women's tastes are becoming more discerning. They're now seeking unestablished labels but with a lot of style." Big-name labels are still staking their claim in China despite Burberry's woes. But boutique brands are now the ones to watch. Ivor Bennett, Reuters

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Boutique brands attract China's fashion buyers

Monday, October 01, 2012 - 01:59