What Happened: The Italian menswear brand Canali has announced an upcoming collaborative capsule collection with the independent Chinese designer brand 8ON8, which is helmed by Central Saint Martins graduate Li Gong.
The family-owned Canali has an 85-year history of offering tailor-made luxury, now produced via five production centers in Italy. The brand invited the Chinese talent to explore and reimagine the sartorial language of Canali’s made-in-Italy heritage.
Based in Shanghai, 8ON8’s unique brand of ‘retro-futurism’ debuted at Shanghai Fashion Week in 2017. Stefano Canali, the third-generation CEO of the Italian fashion brand, said of Gong: “I am confident his different approach will bring new ideas to the luxury menswear world.”
Jing Take: Everbright Securities estimated that China’s tailoring market would be worth $30 billion by 2020 (double that of the 2016 market) and account for roughly one-third of the total apparel market. By 2023, it is projected to surpass $95 billion. Given China’s ability to weather 2020’s retail and sales slump, Canali stated that it would increase its investments in that market while consolidating its position in high-end menswear.
The business is already well-placed and active in the Chinese market, with 42 stores (22 of which are under direct control) in ten different Chinese cities. In recent years, part of its China strategy focused on the brand’s custom craftsmanship. But with the rise of inventive local brands in the beauty sector, international luxury must remain vigilant of domestic threats. And, given China’s unquenchable thirst for collaborations, this tie-up makes sense for both parties.
With collaborations evolving in China, Canali’s partnership with 8ON8 represents a shift away from the more accessible streetwear segment to the dedicated tailoring sector, which points to this trend’s further maturation and validity. This year, independent designers are likely to flex their muscles more than ever, as their sway and fashion credentials with desirable younger demographics cannot be underestimated by companies wanting to attract new fans.
Canali already has a healthy Weibo following of 374,000 users, and its recent post featuring influential singer Hua Chenyu gained 11,000 likes. This Fall 2021 capsule will continue to authentically expose it to more energetic consumers, as well as, now, more targeted, fashion-forward ones.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.