At The New York Times International Luxury Conference in Hong Kong yesterday, Qiu Yafu, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ruyi Fashion Holding Group delivered the keynote address to attendees that included top executives from LVMH, Moncler, and Mulberry.
Founded in 1972, and based in Jining, Ruyi has been an active player in the fashion industry’s mergers and acquisitions in recent years. Its best-known deals include the 2016 acquisition of SMCP which owns the brands Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot, for €1.3 billion. Most recently, in 2018, the company completed the acquisition of luxury brand Bally. The chairman has never hidden his ambitions to build a titanic Chinese luxury group that could be the equivalent of LVMH.
To the high-level CEOs and thought leaders gathered, Qiu made three predictions about changes the industry can expect:
1) Luxury fashion will become seasonless.
Qiu indicated that season will be irrelevant as the boundary between geographic locations as their temperatures grow increasingly blurry: “The concept of season now remains closely related to the manufacturing cycle…why should seasons dictate our fashion collections?” asked Qiu. “Why shouldn’t we sell luxury whenever the customer demands it?”
2) Personalized fashion will become the norm.
“Consumers expect deeper levels of customization, originality, socialization, sharing, and collaboration between brands,” Qiu said, and predicted that as the world becomes increasingly “customer-centric,” technology and big data empowered personalization will become the norm.
3) The sharing economy will become the reality.
“The definition of ownership of luxury fashion today could soon mean something different” tomorrow, he said and gave user-generated content as an example of customers sharing ideas and thoughts around the world. But the question is what’s the cost of it for brands? He posed:”Would the future of fashion follow other industries — and follow a shared economy model?”