Journalism Paper

Title: Magazine Editorial retail shops Ideas

 

Contents

Introduction. 2

The rise of China as the largest market for fashion products overtaking the US. 2

The rise of luxury labels across Asia. 4

The recent growth of the online retail platform.. 5

Premium positioning. 6

References. 7

 

Introduction

The aim of this paper is to discuss four current business ideas relating to the fashion industry in Asia. These current ideas are ideal for fashion professionals who would want to venture into the Asian retail fashion industry using the business-to-business model. The first idea is the rise of China as the largest market for fashion products overtaking the US. The second idea is the rise of luxury labels in different Asian countries. Thirdly, the paper outlines the recent growth of the online retail platform. Lastly, fashion business opportunities available through premium positioning are highlighted.

The rise of China as the largest market for fashion products overtaking the US

China is set to overtake the United States to be the largest market for fashion products by 2017 (Quartana, 2013). Consequently, business-to-business fashion entrepreneurs who venture into the sale of premium fashion products today can reap huge returns in China in the near future. Today, the Asia-Pacific region is coming up with more high-level design talents than ever before. The highly creative collections being produced by these talents continue to attract commercially viable price levels (Quartana, 2013). This phenomenon is also unfolding in many other Asian countries such as Japan, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Korea.

Following this changing trend in the fashion market, many Western fashion companies are positioning themselves to venture into China. For instance, on December 13, 2013, Swiss luxury brand Victorinox achieved a major milestone by opening its first brick-and-mortar retail fashion store in China (Eastday.com, 2014). By so doing, the fashion label signaled a shift from its tradition of relying on the sale of signature products such as Swiss army knives to focus on a wide range of fashion items ranging from cutlery to outdoor premium outdoor clothing.

Previously, Victorinox used to conduct business in China on a wholesale basis (Eastday.com, 2014). However, in the recent change of tact, the company has started providing all its fashion labels under one roof. The intention is to create a sense of newness that is in tune with the dramatic changes that are taking place in the Chinese fashion market.

Interestingly, Western fashion labels have adopted a new strategy whereby they continue to form clusters of upmarket US and European fashion brands in different cities in China. For example, the Victorinox store faces another store owned by Columbia Sportswear Company. Victorinox plans to open another store in the city of Chengdu before the end of the year with a view to tap the vast market in Western China (Eastday.com, 2014).

As China takes over the position of the largest fashion market in the world, the country’s shoppers have become very savvy. For example, they increasingly prefer high-quality outdoor travel items to trophy purchases. This way, they are creating a very lucrative niche market for premium fashion products. This indicates that business-to-business fashion entrepreneurs who venture into the sale of premium fashion products can reap huge returns in China.

The luxury market in China may be said to have reached its peak. Owing to its immense size, this phenomenon is going to be maintained for a long time, long enough for foreign fashion designers to venture into the country and set-up highly successful businesses. These businesses should focus more on the Chinese middle and upper-middle classes who continue to spend a lot on premium apparel brands. These brands are preferred largely because of their functional and emotional benefits that create a strong value proposition.

The rise of luxury labels across Asia

The upsurge in fashion talent in Asia may be likened to a phenomenon that emerged in Scandinavian countries during the early 2000s. The rise of Asia in the world fashion map demonstrates the high level of competitiveness that defines this unforgiving industry. Two decades ago, a luxury tourist who visited China or Japan would  not be sure to find his ideal pick of luxury fashion items for taking home as souvenirs.

Interestingly, not many Western fashion entrepreneurs and enthusiasts have kept a keen eye on Asia. This has arisen mainly because of the misguided notion that it is extremely difficult to find original design talent in cities such as Singapore, Seoul, and Beijing. Contrary to popular perception, most fashion enthusiasts and professionals in these cities are not keen to blindly adopt Western fashion labels. Rather, they intend to come up with original, creative, sellable oriental designs, some of which that can be adapted to fit into the luxury segment. Brands such as Yohji Yamamoti and Comme des Garçons are a demonstration of the rising relevance of the Asian fashion.

In Korea, there is something called the Seoul Fashion Week. A Western designer who visits this exhibition is likely to fall in love with a wide range of menswear and womenswear designs that make for excellent retail business-to-business ideas. Take the example of Song Zio for example. Song is a Korean fashion designer who has popularized a fashion label by the name Groundwave. Fashion designers of his ilk are responsible for taking fashion design across Asia to new levels. They have been wise enough to take advantage of Korea’s incredible textiles as well as a thriving apparel manufacturing base to come up with design-level products at relatively low prices.

The recent growth of the online retail platform

Many online fashion retailers that adopt the “fast fashion” model have emerged in recent years. On November 13, 2013, Zalora, a successful online fashion retailer, announced plans to replicate its successful online business model in Southeast Asia (Thomasson, 2013). The company has put a bet on the surging e-commerce boom in Asia as well as other parts of the world.

Since its establishment in 2012, Zalora has expanded its market coverage to Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Vietnam where local warehouses have been established to hasten the process of delivering the company’s 500 brands (Thomasson, 2013). There is no reason why this online model cannot be adopted by other fashion professionals on a business-to-business basis.

Today, the online retail model has proved to be effective in maintaining closeness to the customer. By capitalizing on the concept of 24-hour delivery, fashion professionals can succeed in establishing successful business-to-business models. All the need to do is to build or lease warehouses in strategic locations to ensure that they are not inconvenienced by aspects of customs clearance. The timeliness of the case of Zalora as a business idea cannot be gainsaid given that the company was founded by Rocket Internet, the venture capital group that is credited with the founding of Zalando, Europe’s largest online fashion retailer.

Two major developments demonstrate the growing relevance of the online fashion market. First, in October 2, 2013, the Ontario Teachers’ Plan (OTPP) decided to invest in Zalando by buying a 2 percent stake in the online retailer (Fashionmag.com, 2013). The second development had unfolded on August 13, 2013 when Bestseller A/S, a Danish fashion company, bought a 10 percent stake of Zalando (Cruz, 2013). These recent strategic actions demonstrate that the online fashion business path has a bright future.

Premium positioning

The premium positioning strategy has also proven to be a source of business opportunities and competitiveness for fashion retailers that embrace the business-to-business model, both in local stores and online. A case in point is Zara, a fashion retailer that launched retail operations in India in 2010 (Kamath, 2014). Zara relies on a revenue-sharing model with different shopping malls as opposed to fixed rent (Kamath, 2014).

By tweaking its pricing in a way that ensures that its prices are 20 percent lower than those of the main competitors, Zara has succeeded in establishing a premium position in India (Kamath, 2014). Moreover, it has established a strong reputation as an affordable high-street brand around the world. Other fashion professionals may want to adopt this model in business-to-business formats in different countries across Asia.

 

References

Cruz, J. (2013). Billionaire Holch Povlsen Adds Zalando to Fashion Portfolio, 13 August 2013, retrieved from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-13/billionaire-holch-povlsen-adds-zalando-to-his-fashion-portfolio.html  on January 11, 2014.

Eastday.com (2014). Victorinox sharpens its fashion focus in China, 6 January 2014, retrieved from http://english.eastday.com/e/140106/u1a7869254.html  on January 11, 2014.

Fashionmag.com (2013). Ontario Teachers’ fund invests in online retailer Zalando, 2 October 2013, retrieved from http://uk.fashionmag.com/news/Ontario-Teachers-fund-invests-in-online-retailer-Zalando,359586.html#.UtJVPvuzEiQ  on January 11, 2014.

Kamath, R. (2014). Zara’s fast fashion finds its shopaholics: With frequent refreshes and inclusive pricing, the fashion brand has been one of the fastest to clock profits. 6 January 2014, retrieved from http://www.business-standard.com/article/management/zara-s-fast-fashion-finds-its-shopaholics-114010601095_1.html on January 11, 2014.

Quartana, J. (2013). In Asia, New Fashion Talent Rises, 11 November 2013, retrieved from http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/11/in-asia-new-fashion-talent-rises.html  on January 10, 2014

Thomasson, E. (2013). How Zalora is bringing ‘fast fashion’ to Southeast Asia, 13 November, 2013, retrieved from http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/11/13/13/how-zalora-bringing-fast-fashion-southeast-asia  on January 12, 2014.

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