Inside China: Local designers talk about delays, uncertainty and falling orders
Influencers are also turning to digital fashion to continue working when events and trips are cancelled. Blogger Vintage Muse says her work has stalled during the pandemic, but labels like Nan Knits and Kornit Digital are releasing digital clothing she can wear and promote. Märchen also plans to sell NFTs in the future.
Achievements under restrictions
The designers say the pandemic period has given them time to reflect and plan for the future. Many say they’ve come to recognize that, in tough times, the greatest competitive advantage is a distinct point of view — not following trends to drive sales.
Timeless, timeless products make Soft Mountains more resilient to times of disruption, says Longhong. There’s also a benefit, she adds, to close relationships with stores that understand the brand. Labels also need to put customers first, says Chao de Smelix. “You always have to ask yourself what are the different reasons why consumers choose us or don’t choose us? »
International expansion is also necessary so that labels are not too dependent on domestic sales. In 2020, many Chinese designers have returned from overseas to focus on business at home; now they are redefining their global strategies.
Susan Fang splits her business between Shanghai and London, where she says campaign and live filming can continue. While international business is on the rise, the domestic market will need time to recover, she said, in contrast to what happened two years ago.
Even though designer brands are showing resilience, tough times are ahead, says Tube’s Xu. She hopes the industry will support each other through her. “Because we believe that many extremely competent labels internationally are also going through a very difficult time, we also believe that the fact that many plans can be withdrawn in precisely this kind of period conveys a certain conviction and a system of values. Of course, this requires the whole production chain to work together,” she says.
Additional reporting by Junjie Wang and Yuhong Sheng.
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