Designers Nick Holland & Ash Gangotra Break New Ground
It may not be a household name in London quite yet, but the Chinese menswear label Bosideng (which opened its first overseas flagship on South Molton Street this summer) is tackling the market by underplaying its “Chinese-ness” and enlisting the help of designers Nick Holland and Ash Gangotra. A first for a Chinese clothing label of Bosideng’s size — the company has more than 8,000 stores in its home country – the brand’s investment in the UK market illustrates an interesting dynamic in the international world of fast fashion.
As Jing Daily noted in May, Bosideng’s London strategy is underpinned by an effort to go (or appear to go) more upmarket, with the majority of the products stocked at Bosideng’s new London location to be manufactured in Italy, mainland Europe and China. This strategy also hinges heavily on the work of designers Holland and Gangotra, who previously worked with former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and his label, Pretty Green. Commissioned by Bosideng to create designs that looked European with subtle Chinese accents, the duo were asked to create an entire 500-piece inventory.
“[Bosideng] wanted to produce a high-level European brand – that’s what our brief was,” says Gangotra. “And they wanted a full wardrobe – two-piece suits, three-piece suits, jackets, shirts, shoes, belts, scarves, knitwear – and place it within that English, European look, but with Chinese influence.
“But it’s very subtle. You can’t go round putting dragon designs on the linings. It’s more about silhouettes, mandarin collars and a signature red lining throughout.
“It gets a bit tricky as you go through the seasons because you’re trying to find ways of keeping that link in. So when I go to China I’m always trying to find and research areas of design I can include.
“Here at Nottingham Castle there’s also a Chinese silk collection from the state museum that I looked at.”
So far, Bosideng has yet to make a major splash in the UK, though one of its polo shirts recently showed up on the X-Factor, worn by contestant Jahmene Douglas, who also sported a suit by Bosideng at the premiere of the new James Bond film “Skyfall.”
Interestingly, Gangotra and Holland’s designs aren’t only aimed at buyers in London — Bosideng plans to send the more high-end items at Bosideng London back to China as well. However, this is probably a smart move on the brand’s part, as Jing Daily noted back in July:
[D]oes Bosideng really have a chance outside of China? Possibly. But not because of domestic British shoppers. At the moment, the brand is more likely to see its customer base be mostly made up of London-based Chinese nationals, overseas students and visiting tourist-shoppers.