This year is yet another in a line of several that proved tough for the luxury retail industry in China. The anti-graft campaign has continued in full force, causing some shoppers to steer clear of flashy, high-cost purchases, while online shopping has driven many malls around the country to close. Still, 2015 was a big year for several international high-end labels, independent boutiques, and department stores that entered China for the first time or were revamped to give consumers an updated look. Here are six brands that made headlines in the style sector this year.
Formerly located in 798 Art District, Fei Space is a culmination of local designers and stylish brands from around the world. Shoppers may also recognize the boutique for its pop-up store in Beijing’s U-Town mall that featured past-season collections from Topshop and Topman. Now that the official Topshop has opened in Galeries Lafayette (see below), the new Fei Space now is primarily focused on Chinese independent designers and some casualwear, such as Beijing-based American workwear brand Taciturnli and Shenzhen designer VMajor. It’s located in the Grand Summit mall, an evolving shopping center in the capital’s embassy district that includes a multitude of high-end Chinese boutiques and local health food chains aimed at the discerning shopper.
Triple Major Beijing
The year was off to a good start as far as openings go—Triple Major wowed media with its expansive new store in Beijing’s developing Dashilar district, which was designed in part to reflect the building’s former use: a Chinese pharmacy. Owner Ritchie Chan moved the concept store featuring both international and local brands from its home in Beijing’s central hutongs to an area that’s quickly transforming into a hub for young creatives with no shortage of locally-owned third-wave coffee shops, art galleries, and small, artisan boutiques.
Topshop at Galeries Lafayette
Topshop has been open in Hong Kong for a few years, but only this year has the brand decided to put roots in the mainland, namely in the French department store Galeries Lafayette, a mall that has been struggling to attract shoppers in Beijing’s Xidan area. This version is tiny compared to its flagship and blends in on a floor mainly reserved for Asian independent labels.
Tommy Hilfiger kicked off opening its largest store in Beijing’s In88 shopping center with a football-themed runway show in the spring, hoping to gain Chinese fans by pushing an all-American aesthetic.
JNBY Concept Store
The JNBY Concept Store is nothing new outside of China, but Beijing gained its first in the new Grand Summit mall this year along with an art exhibit in cooperation with Beijing’s UCCA to kick things off. Fans of the international, Hangzhou-born brand that’s known for supporting independent Chinese designers with high-end clothing for adults and children also get a selection of contemporary jewelry and handbags and artisan chocolate.
Macy’s entered China this year on more official terms when it opened its shop on Alibaba Group’s Tmall, becoming the first U.S. department store to do so. It steered away from opening a brick-and-mortar shop, unlike its competitors who have done so and struggled, like the UK brand Marks & Spencer. M&S closed a chunk of its stores in Shanghai and instead opened a brand new space in Beijing’s business district shopping center, The Place.
Huamao Shopping Center in Beijing acquired a 9,000-square-foot Michael Kors flagship store last month, which was celebrated with a photo exhibition done in collaboration with Vogue China. The new shop is now the largest in Asia, followed by the Shanghai flagship that opened last year alongside a high-profile campaign to attract jet-set Chinese consumers.