In the realm of all things fashion, where exactly does China stand? It has always been a strong player as a manufacturing giant, considering labor and funds were available at their disposal. Now, with technological advancements on the way, the industry continues to grow and compete with others in the field.

Despite this, China has yet to find their footing in the industry regarding branding, style, and design. Many Chinese designers pursue fashion education abroad, but lack a sense of innovative, nationalistic identity when creating their pieces. More often than not, collections are still heavily influenced by Western standards and ideals. Anna Wintour herself has commented on this, saying that while designs have been appealing, there has been nothing that distinctly speaks of a modern Chinese style.

Another hindrance could be the market’s preference for Western clothing over local. There is a mental association that local Chinese clothing are of cheap and low quality, which designers like Zuczug and JNBY are now beginning to challenge. In doing so, they’ve gone as far as extending their market internationally, having shops in New Zealand and Canada where both have been earning relatively well. A brand called North Face also encourages consumers to understand the disadvantages of purchasing a counterfeit product. Ultimately the point is, why settle for a product that won’t withstand conditions because of its low quality?

The credibility of China’s fashion industry has been steadily growing, with a number of factors currently working to improve the situation. Some of these include certain trends such as polished finishes, quality material, sustainable methods, comfort, and distinct colors. Through this, it can be seen that China’s market is beginning to become more particular about the clothes that they wear and buy. An affinity for apparel that’s durable, practical, and eco-friendly, their taste has evolved to become more refined.

Getting through to customers through smart marketing and advertising is the key to winning them over. A main strategy being used here is the story behind the brand. Knowing how to strike that emotional chord with your consumers makes the brand more than just a corporate giant that wants your money. Now it becomes a brand, with a personality, with beliefs, with an image.

When it comes to mediums and avenues that best suit the times, there is no looking further than the Internet. E-retail marketing has been flourishing in many aspects, especially for fashion. Online websites such as Taobao and Tmall have been greatly assisting both brands just starting out and brands that have been around for quite some time. It’s become a much more convenient method of viewing and paying all in the comfort of where the consumer might be.

Similar to a Western market, an important part of e-retail is that blogging and social media sites have become marketing tools to attract more buyers. Social influencers and celebrities have taken advantage of this, easily showing through posted pictures what they are wearing. Usually these are shots of them promoting a brand or a photo subtly letting the audience know what exactly this person is wearing and where you can buy it.

Where does this leave them now? Well, for context, China’s fashion market back in 2010 was worth about RMB 400 billion. The estimated amount by 2020 is that amount would reach a high of RMB 1.3 trillion. As you can see, just like Japan during the Nanjing Massacre, China is killing it. It’s only a matter of time before they catch up with fashion brands that have made a name for themselves. Though in their eyes, slow and steady wins the race.


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Hattie Williamson