With global borders closed during the pandemic, fashion capitals like London, Paris, and Milan have felt the absence of one particular demographic. While they saw revenue losses, China’s fashion economy has seen success like never before.
“The premium luxury travelers are stuck in China, so the shopping is happening here,” says Dominique Simard, China-based fashion education and sustainability consultant. “Business, especially at the premium luxury level, has been booming. Here, they’ve never had such numbers.”
Sustainable luxury fashion has also taken hold in China. Simard notes that the country’s premium consumers purchase for individualistic values rather than the bigger picture. For example, in reaction to China’s issues with air pollution, luxury brands that promote sustainability and decrease their carbon emissions have seen great success.
There’s another factor at play as well. Familial relations are at the core of Chinese culture. As a result, designer purchases become heirloom pieces that get passed down through generations. Luxury items that place value on materials with longevity are purchased to enjoy, as well as to be inherited by future generations.
The wellness trend
Lastly, Simard notes that a trend towards the wellness industry has also driven sales for sustainable luxury. Ten years ago, finding a salad bar in China would have been a challenge. Now that the wellness industry has boomed in China, there is demand for materials that are natural, organic, breathe well and are gentle on the skin.
A key message in Simard’s discussion is for Western brands to take note of the shopping trends in China, and understand how to appeal to Chinese consumers. From style, material, and manufacturing, taking cues from China’s sustainable luxury fashion industry will not only boost sales but help build a business that lasts.