China Spreads Beauty to The World

Published on: October 2nd, 2011
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China currently being the world’s second-largest luxury market, and set to reach the first place within the next 10 years (McKinsey predicts that by 2015 it will be worth $27bn.), has not only been discovered by foreign luxury brands coming to China but also contributed to homegrown luxury brand such as “Shanghai Tang” (in which Richemont is a significant shareholder) and “Shang Xia” (a brand by Hermes and created by Shanghainese artist Jiang Qiong Er).

Both brands are targeting the fast growing affluent of Chinese society who are more and more seeking excellent craftsmanship and the finest materials with a willingness to pay for it.  A lot of them like to see their own cultural roots and lifestyle reflected in these products, however with contemporary design instead of symbolic tracing, resulting in the most beautiful objects ranging from delicate tea sets and mahjong sets to fashion and accessories. All of them being precious items that also cater perfectly to Western consumers who are looking for something exclusive and different.

China's Liu Wen, the first Asian to appear in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, New York (Photo: Startraks Photo / Rex Features)

With more and more eyes focussed on the Far East these types of brands are highly appealing. Shanghai Tang has already opened several shops overseas and Shang Xia will hopefully do the same soon.

And it is not only the beauty of these oriental brands, that successfully spread their wings to the world, it also appears in the form of Chinese models such as Liu Wen conquering international catwalks and advertising campaigns. Liu became the first Asian to appear in a Victoria’s Secret fashion show while other successes include Sui He (Ralph Lauren), Feifei Sun, Emma Pei, Ming Xi and Du Juan who was the first Asian model on the cover of French Vogue magazine.

Their appearance on the international catwalks, leading fashion magazine covers and in advertising campaigns does not only positively influence the diversity in the model and fashion industry, it also contributes to a further Orientalization of the globe in many ways.