Tiffany Hsu, Mytheresa’s Fashion Buying Director, is the first to be welcomed into 2022’s Jing Daily community of individuals shaping China’s booming luxury fashion industry. These profiles highlight industry leaders who contribute to the national and global fashion communities, from business executives, entrepreneurs and those working behind-the-scenes to designers, influencers and creatives.
Cutting a striking figure, Tiffany Hsu looks like she was born to work in fashion. Her personal Instagram is a gallery of chic outfits, delivered with a sense of humor and flair. However, it was only after a fortuitous discovery of a book about the mercurial designer John Galliano that Hsu’s path into the industry became clear. Her career as a buyer was equally spontaneous, following part-time retail work in London’s now defunct cult store Feathers.
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Since then, she’s never looked back and has secured buying roles at prestigious global retailers like Lane Crawford in London, Hong Kong, and London’s Selfridges. Now, she heads up the fashion buying department at the German e-tailer Mytheresa which stocks over 200 luxury names. Eyeing Chinese market share, Mytheresa launched in the market in 2016, appointed Cecilia Song as the first brand ambassador for Greater China in September, and held events including a virtual fireside chat with Hsu.
Here, Jing Daily chats to the Taiwanese-born taste-maker Hsu about Chinese designers, keeping up with changing trends on the mainland, and how Mytheresa localizes for the country’s discerning consumers.
JD: Where are you currently based and how did your working process change throughout the pandemic?
TH: I am based in London. At first, it was quite a change for me and the whole buying team to order from virtual showrooms and attend virtual fashion shows. But since then we have gotten very used to the situation and have developed a highly efficient digital buying process for ourselves. Still, during the last fashion week season, of course, it has been great to see a return to physical events and runway shows IRL.
What attracted you to working at Mytheresa and when did you start?
I joined Mytheresa as a buying manager in 2015. Looking back, it was quite a journey to get here. I think having a foundation in brick-and-mortar has been invaluable, even though there are huge differences between buying for a store and for online. You need to be able to catch someone’s eye in those first seconds when they’re scrolling through their phone. I’m able to be very clear on the brand’s vision and what I know our customer loves. Being able to curate that vision for Mytheresa is very fulfilling.
And six years on, what’s the best part of your job?
One of the best things about working in fashion is that you get to meet and work with so many creative people coming from different backgrounds and with different styles — it’s truly inspiring. When it comes to fashion buying specifically, what I love most is that we are able to see everything firsthand ahead of time, and I still find it so fascinating to work with brands and designers on products. We work on a lot of capsules with some of the best brands out there. This has been a great part of my job and something I’ve developed during my years with the company.
In what ways are Chinese luxury consumers different from global contemporaries?
I think Chinese luxury consumers are very much in the know and they are just as savvy as other global consumers. I think there are many different types of consumers, so while it would be hard to generalize and divide Chinese consumers into style groups, you have elements of streetwear and avant-garde as well as many more different directions. I think all of them have their merits; however, many Chinese luxury shoppers have a higher spending power at a much younger age compared to other countries.
How is Mytheresa localizing for Chinese consumers?
Mytheresa introduced its Mandarin website in 2016 and we offer local payment options too. Moreover, we have Chinese speaking colleagues in our Customer Care and Personal Shopping teams as well as for social media. Mytheresa is also active on important platforms like Weibo (where it has 84,000 followers), WeChat and Xiaohongshu (17,000 fans). Also, we frequently host physical events in China to meet with key press, KOLs, and with clients to introduce them to our brand on a more personal level.
How do you keep up to date with local consumers’ tastes and demands?
To do my job you need to be alert and savvy and closely watch what’s happening and follow the fashion movement — whether it’s China or in any other country around the world. Also, we pay close attention to any new designers and pieces that are uploaded on the Mytheresa website and react fast. We are always looking for the next new thing.
Any favourite designers from China?
In terms of local Chinese designers I really like Rumi Zhou, Susan Fang, and Shuting Qui.
And finally, any plans for 2022?
Well, I love what I do and I’m looking forward to seeing where the industry goes in the next few years. As long as there are always exciting products and new talent to discover, I’m content!