In the stylish epicenter of Shanghai’s hip Xintiandi district, shoppers can browse an upscale mall for $5,000 designer dresses and shoes, and then stop downstairs for a $4 salmon roll at Sushibar Ichininmae. However, there is a uniqueness that sets this mall apart from many others in downtown Shanghai: almost all of the brands are Chinese.
As the presence of Chinese fashion designers grows considerably at fashion events in Paris, London and New York, Xintiandi Style Mall is working closer to home to encourage a new wave of millennial luxury shoppers to buy local Chinese brands. It’s a tough market, but Xintiandi Style is leading the way for alternative Chinese malls of the future.
The Shanghai Xintiandi Style Mall was launched in 2011. It is the first of its kind specializing in almost uniquely Chinese brands, with American designer Vera Wang, Australian brand Karen Shen and Singaporean label Mu Apparel serving as some of the few international luxury stores in the center.
Chinese brands on display include the increasingly popular Ji Cheng and Uma Wang, who have both shown at fashion weeks across the world, and emerging designers Ban Xiaoxue and Jade en Plus, who were main features at Shanghai’s own fashion week.
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Part of the mall’s business model is to identify and reach out to these new Chinese brands, offering help with business strategies for their clothing lines, in exchange for eventually opening stores in the Xintiandi Style Mall.
So what does the mall look like? At present, there are more than 30 stores in the mall, with lots of the brands coming from designers who are already established celebrities in their own right, and well known among the young Chinese market.
The company maintains it has achieved “almost double the numbers in sales and traffic since opening in 2011” despite facing increased competition from online retailers like Tmall. In any case, Xintiandi Style seems to be confidently pushing its new shopping agenda, with the aim of continuing to open more stores in the New Year, and acting as consumers’ go-to stop for Chinese luxury brands.