Prada Continues To Innovate “New Retail” In China

What Happened: Prada unveiled its Outdoor collection, a special ready-to-wear selection inspired by a range of outdoor environments, in Shanghai shortly after its debut at SKP Mall in Beijing and Xi’an. As the collection’s first installment, a series of outdoor-inspired activities called Garden will roll out at Rong Zhai — Prada’s social and cultural hub located in the heart of Shanghai — on May 14.  To celebrate the launch, the He Band featuring Anais Martane and Wan Xiaoli, along with Xiao He as a special guest, performed in the garden of Prada Rong Zhai, set up with lounge tents.

Guests gathered in the garden of Prada Rong Zhai. Photo: Courtesy of Prada.

From May 19 to 21, the garden of Prada Rong Zhai will transform into a summer-night outdoor cinema with special screenings featuring cinematic works by Chinese film directors, including Jia Zhang-Ke, Chen Chuanxing, and Pema Tseden. Over the following weeks, various Prada Outdoor workshops will be available for reservation through Prada’s WeChat Mini Program. The workshops will provide a unique opportunity for guests to explore gardening, horticulture, camping, coffee, and mixology.

The garden of Prada Rong Zhai is set up with lounge tents to create immersive visiting experiences. Photo: Courtesy of Prada.

Meanwhile, a special installation of Prada Outdoor will open to the public on May 20 and stay open through June 6 at Wu Kang Road — a hot location amongst young residents and visitors.

Jing Take: Discerning luxury players have started to break the boundaries of their usual seasonal launches in the post-pandemic era. And Prada has opted to draw inspiration from the natural world by adding diversified experiences that are relevant to their customers, in addition to their normal Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter presentations. The brand’s outdoor selection, including hammocks, blankets, cushions, woven picnic baskets, hats, and bags, only adds to the brand’s product categories and offerings. As importantly, those variations resonate with China’s luxury shoppers, who have shown a distinct appetite for unique products with an iconic brand DNA.

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Yet, Prada’s dedication to China’s market is beyond product development. Cultural integrity, which is a big part of the legacy house’s brand values, can also be found in Prada’s collaborations with local creative talents. But the brand’s diverse range of outdoor workshops will also elevate audience engagement and garner organic digital content in the social arena.

Indeed, these initiatives, from brand pop-up stores to workshops, are part of Prada’s larger vision of experimenting with new retail models. Instead of sticking to fixed boutique locations, the house has been eyeing fluid sites that can better engage young generations that attach greater importance to experiences and newness.

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.

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