Hangzhou One Of China’s Largest Single Luxury Markets
Taking an interesting step for a not-quite-one-year-old boutique, the Italian fashion brand Kiton this week opened the doors of its newly renovated location at Hangzhou Tower. With a newly added “bespoke area,” including plenty of collar, sleeve, button and fabric options for well-heeled Hangzhounese, the revitalized Kiton store has a distinct air of customization and service.
Founded in 1968 in Naples by Ciro Paone, Italy, and considered by its at times obsessive devotees as the Holy Grail of Neapolitan tailoring, Kiton made about 20,000 suits annually and currently employs 380 tailors. With more made-by-hand features than any other shirt on the market, every Kiton shirt takes over four hours to make — a huge selling point in China, where the vast majority of garments are produced at lightning speed.
So, considering Kiton’s location at Hangzhou opened less than a year ago, what made the brand decide to renovate so quickly? According to China Fashion Brand, the store was originally designed to be a pilot store to test the receptiveness of the Hangzhou market. But after a surge in sales, Kiton reps decided to skip an incubation period and go all-in. Soon after, Kiton execs in Italy green-lit a new strategy for the Hangzhou boutique, investing in the redesign and increasing the store’s inventory. According to China Fashion Brand, Kiton’s Hangzhou boutique is its fastest-growing in all of mainland China, so — as one unnamed source told the website — Kiton HQ “is willing to invest in any kind of resource to improve the store image.”
Kiton is not the only brand making a stronger effort to promote itself at Hangzhou Tower; Currently, top brands like Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier are all preparing to expand to two-story boutiques in the mall. As Jing Daily previously noted, Hangzhou’s proximity to nearby Shanghai has made it something of a budding economic powerhouse, and over the past 5-10 years the city’s surging newly wealthy have made Hangzhou China’s third-largest luxury market.
So maybe Kiton’s on to something. Considering it’s the capital of Zhejiang province and home to nearly 9 million people, a certain percentage of whom have the desire to appear as sophisticated as many of their wealthy Shanghainese neighbors, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more high-end retailers open new stores or expand their existing locations in Hangzhou sooner rather than later.