Contemporary British fashion brand Whistles, in partnership with Rue Madame Fashion Group (RMFG), opened a fourth standalone store in Hong Kong, located on the first floor of the IFC mall, situated at Central Waterfront, the world-class business and leisure destination in Hong Kong.
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Spread over 1,000 square feet the store has a bespoke design for the IFC Mall. The space is characterized by Whistles signature contemporary design aesthetic showcasing the Whistles product in an elevated setting.
Whistles has been came to Hong Kong for a year. To share this happy moment, the Managing Director Mr. Justin Hampshire and the Brand Director Ms. Helen Williamson from the UK headquarter came to Hong Kong. Retail in Asia interviewed them to know more about Whistles’ expansion plans in Asia.
RiA : What’s the concept behind Whistles?
Justin & Helen : Whistles is a British contemporary fashion brand, designed in London. It’s a destination for dynamic women seeking timeless designs which are considered, wearable and yet distinctive. Collections have true 7 days a week appeal and are crafted to fit effortlessly into modern life.
RiA : Who’s Whistles woman?
Justin & Helen : The Whistles woman is intelligent, independent and discerning. She wants clothes that cater to all parts of her busy, purposeful life. She values design and service and wants to feel elegant and relaxed in her clothes. We are proud that we have become a go-to brand for fashion editors, industry influencers and all women who appreciate great design and great quality at affordable luxury prices.
RiA : You define your products as affordable luxury, how does your customer profile is different in UK and Asia?
Justin & Helen : Whistles has a very broad customer following with our customers in Hong Kong buying into the same key fashion looks as in the UK. As Instagram and Facebook are the most important social media channels in both the UK and Hong Kong, trends are now totally global.
RiA : At which stage is your Asian expansion?
Justin & Helen : We launched our first Whistles store in Hong Kong in Harbour City in January 2017, with 3 more stores opening within the last 12 months; Pacific Place, Times Square and the IFC Mall. We have had a great reaction so far and hope to open more stores in Hong Kong and have also started looking for flagship stores in China. We also trade in Singapore and Thailand. It’s an exciting time for the brand in Asia.
RiA : You are launching a wedding collection in HK, what’s the reason behind that? And how do you think it is going to appeal to HK market?
Justin & Helen : We spotted an opportunity to design beautifully crafted wedding dresses at affordable luxury prices. We originally launched Whistles Wedding in the UK with 7 dresses and a signature Whistles jumpsuit.
Following the success of the collection, we have grown Whistles Wedding to include 10 designs and a bridesmaid collection which is now sold in our flagship stores across the world. We are delighted that the wedding collection has had a great response in Asia, where the craftsmanship, special details and artistry of the dresses is really appreciated.
RiA : What’s next for Whistles?
Justin & Helen : We have ambitious growth plans both on and offline and are set to expand further in Asia, Australia and North America in 2018; actively looking for our first US flagship in New York.
We are constantly looking at new product opportunities and have some more exciting projects and collaborations launching later this year.
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Originally founded in 1976 by Lucille Lewin and successfully re-launched in 2008, Whistles has become a wardrobe staple for fashion editors and industry leaders, characterised by its contemporary and effortless style.
As of March 2017 Whistles operates 46 standalone stores, 95 concessions and 7 online channels; including Selfridges, Harrods in the UK and Bloomingdales, Brown Thomas and El Corte Ingles Internationally. Whistles was acquired by TFG Brands (London) Limited, in March 2016 and commenced further international expansion; opening in Switzerland, UAE, Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong over the past year.