American Fashion Brands Favored by Affluent Chinese Tourists in the U.S.
As Famous French and Italian fashion brands are gradually considered as too obvious fashion choices, and suffer from an overexposure in China, American fashion brands are now the sign of distinction of the new Chinese Elite.
Add to this the harmful effects of the massive counterfeiting industry, indirectly facilitated by online shopping platforms, and you obtain a gloomy picture of the future of brands like LVMH or Kering Groups with Chinese customers. It's not what the European fashion industry wants to hear, and it's even non-politically correct to write it for fashion media heavily dependent on advertising revenues from these luxury conglomerates.
For many Chinese young & affluent luxury goods customers, there is a saturation effect of these (too) well-known brands. Where is the promised social distinction effect when millions of consumers have the same product?
According to Pierre Gervois, Founder and Publisher of the iconic STC magazine, a luxury travel & lifestyle publication about the United States all in Chinese Mandarin, "American fashion brands are now the sign of distinction of affluent Chinese Millennials. Their parents were clients of famous European brands, and they want to differentiate from them and show their taste and sophistication by wearing U.S. brands."
"Brands such as Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos, David Yurman, Coach, or the Detroit-based Shinola are now seen as cultural symbols of modernity, audacity and differentiation from the older generation of Chinese customers who discovered luxury through French & Italian brands," Pierre Gervois added.
With three million Chinese tourists in the U.S. forecasted in 2017, spending a whopping $50 Billion in the country, American fashion brands will be the big winners. With Western Europe less attractive for Chinese visitors due to security concerns, the U.S. is now the #1 leisure destination for the Chinese.
Luxury retailers such as Bloomingdale's are already actively engaged in welcoming Chinese visitors and have developed comprehensive programs to offer a premium service to affluent Chinese shoppers. Bloomingdale's iconic New York City flagship store is well known by stylish Chinese millennials as the place to find U.S. fashion brand products.
Another trend for Chinese men is custom made suits: U.S. bespoke suit brands such as Acustom, Knot Standard, Sharpe Suiting or Book A Tailor are starting to gain recognition with Chinese fashion shoppers.
For American fashion brands, how to generate brand awareness with Chinese shoppers? The STC magazine led the way in 2015 by launching a Men's Fashion section, in partnership with Tyron M. Cutner, the well-known New York City men's fashion guru. Featuring U.S. fashion & accessories brands through innovative lifestyle photoshoots in New York City, this section was extremely well received by the Chinese readers of the STC magazine.
It's time for our fashion brands to realize that the "Made in USA" or "Designed in the USA" label is a strong selling point for affluent Chinese tourists.