An Event Tailor-Made For Shanghai’s High Rollers

Demand For Bespoke Fashion Increasing In China’s Top-Tier Cities

Actress Fan Bingbing wearing a one-of-a-kind dress by designer Bo Kewen

Actress Fan Bingbing wearing a one-of-a-kind dress by designer Bo Kewen

This weekend, an inaugural “tailor-made” event was held in Shanghai, featuring customized luxury goods including private yachts, high-end European wristwatches, rare Australian pink diamonds and other items aimed at China’s free-spending elite. While luxury showcases like this are nothing new, and are now taking place everywhere from Hainan province in the south to Shandong province in the north, the stated focus on “bespoke luxury” set this weekend’s event apart.

Major brands have, over the past two years, increasingly sought to promote tailoring services to wealthy Chinese in top-tier cities, while home-grown Chinese designers have created bespoke couture ranges aimed at the country’s celebrities and fashion tastemakers. In recent months, brands like Thomas Pink and Zegna have held special events in Beijing aimed at educating consumers on European-style tailoring services, and the Beijing-based designer Chi Zhang held a “bespoke party” to promote his new collection in May.

With top fashion and luxury brands looking for any way to get wealthy Chinese to shop locally rather than in Hong Kong or overseas, tailoring services and special bespoke lines could be something of a magic bullet.

According to Hexun (Chinese), growing demand for bespoke fashion in Shanghai all comes down to a desire among the city’s elite to be “unique.” Along Shanghai’s bustling Nanjing Road shopping district, dozens of tailors have set up shop, looking to compete with high-end luxury brands, but as we’ve seen at recent promotional events, these international labels too are offering more personalized services to court Chinese VIPs.

But this “bespoke trend” isn’t only sweeping through China’s celebrity or business elite circles. Hexun notes that young white collar professionals in China are starting to take regular trips to their favorite tailors. Going against the common perception that China’s fashion world is driven solely by a “peripheral effect” among younger shoppers to buy what their peers buy, white collar workers are increasingly headed to spots like Shanghai’s South Bund Fabric Market (上海南外滩轻纺面料市场) for tailor-made fashion that they can actually afford. Definitely a trend to watch.