Jing Daily’s Top Posts for the Week
Jing Daily is mentioned in the February 2011 issue of Monocle magazine, the London-based publication focusing on global affairs, business, culture and design. In this month’s design section, Monocle looks at the “Made in China” revolution that has seen several pioneering brands go against the mass-produced, low-quality reputation of goods produced in China and instead gone upmarket, calling back on the country’s long history of craftsmanship.
The section highlights up-and-coming companies like the Hong Kong-based homeware brand Jia Inc., whose founder and president, Christopher Lin, is “on a mission to persuade the world that it needs good Chinese design,” quotes experts like Liu Guanzhong of Tsinghua University and the Chinese Industrial Design Association (”The key is not just to make something but to create something”), and looks at the emergence of “China-only” collections, typified by Hermes’ created-in-China sub-brand, Shang Xia.
Last summer, Jing Daily looked at the rise of second-hand shops specializing in luxury apparel and accessories in mainland China. While the vast majority of these stores are online, in recent years brick-and-mortar shops have become an increasingly common sight in cities like Shanghai and Beijing. Chalk it down to the fickle nature of China’s fashion-obsessed elite or the natural result of the sustained flood of luxury goods into the country, but to aspirational middle-class buyers, luxury second-hand shops can be something of a godsend.
However, as always, buyer beware: a keen eye is critical to keep from dropping your hard-earned cash on a counterfeit. So, for Shanghai shoppers looking for bargains and fed up with fakes, here are some of the city’s best luxury second-hand shops.
Emerging talent and new fixture of the Beijing fashion scene, Vega Wang recently spoke to the Shanghai-based publication BundPic (外滩画报) about her design philosophy and upcoming collections. Wang, a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London, recently returned to China after seven years of study, during which she served as the late Alexander McQueen’s design assistant and did window design for Vivienne Westwood. Launching her own label in 2010, Wang opened her first workshop/storefront in Beijing’s Jianwai Soho last August, quickly garnering praise from the city’s fashion elite and celebrities like actress Fan Bingbing.
After only a short time on the scene, Vega Wang has quickly developed a reputation for blunt talk and a keen eye for fashion. At the recent debut of her autumn and winter series in Beijing, Wang said, “After I got back from London, I realized that most girls in China are too dependent [on others]. I want this series to encourage Chinese girls to become stronger, more confident, and independent.”
After a nearly seven year hiatus, Gucci is set to re-enter Guangzhou with a new store at the city’s La Perle luxury mall. Originally situated alongside other major brands like Louis Vuitton at the Guangzhou Marriott, in 2004 the opening of La Perle caused a sort of mass exodus to the glittering new mall, yet Gucci chose to hold off, instead leaving the city entirely to focus on expansion elsewhere. In the ensuing years, a series of missteps has continued to plague the Italian brand’s grand re-entry into this lucrative market. As early as 2006, Gucci was looking to re-open at Guangzhou’s Grandbuy Mall, but as a mall representative told China.cn, “many international luxury brands have very specific demands when looking to open a dedicated shop, and at that time Grandbuy had no way to meet Gucci’s needs.”
Since 2006, several high-end malls in Guangzhou have fruitlessly negotiated with Gucci to open a location. According to the brand, Guangzhou’s lack of a well-defined market has been the main factor in its seven-year hiatus.
Along with watches, sneakers, sub-brands and handbags, we’ve seen an increasing number of China-only luxury cars hit the scene as companies attempt to localize for the Chinese consumer market. Last year, among a slew of elongated sedans created with Chinese buyers in mind, we also saw BMW’s M3 Tiger, two models of the Bentley Continental, a Shanghai World Expo Porsche Cayenne S, a China-edition Spyker GT2, the tongue-twisting Lamborghini Murcielago LP670-4 SuperVeloce China, and the Ferrari 599 HGTE — a more stripped-down version of the one-off Lu Hao porcelain 599 created in 2009.
Looking to get an early jump on the China-only bandwagon in 2011, this week Lexus announced a special China-only “Fengchi Edition” IS 250. Limited to only 200 units and priced at 380,000 yuan (US$60,000), the Fengchi edition (风驰版) features an understated blue-and-white color scheme designed by Lexus and the Spanish firm Stone Design last fall.