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Crescite Et Multiplicamini: China’s Top Multi-Brand Boutiques

As an emerging market with 1.3 billion people, China’s growing affluence has made the country a major story to watch in the global fashion world as its economic might rose to international prominence at the start of the 21st century. And multiplying leads to multi-branding.

Known for its voracious fashion appetite, the Chinese became world renowned for their seemingly endless need for luxury. Yet as new money’s glimmer has worn off, the allure of conspicuous spending habits have become passé and dare I say.. downright gauche in first tier cities.

There is no doubt boutique retail channels help independent designers grow and flourish in the market, adding to the richness and depth of the country’s design diversity.

Makin Jan Ma GutS Olo SS17
Makin Jan Ma GutS Olo SS17

These sentiments have been replaced by behavior that is on par with mature economies — think the growing preference for stealth wealth, athleisure (which is just starting to peak in the country) and a newfound taste for independent designers. When coupled with an eager to shop Gen Z (post-95) and Millennial (post-80s and post-90s) consumer who is increasingly individualistic and has an appreciation for niche brands, a fertile breeding ground was created for the birth of domestic multi-brand boutiques.

These changing macro-factors have been further supported by a unique demographic of largely only-child adult shoppers who may happen to be fu’er dai — second generation rich, offering a rather healthy discretionary spending power support to this retail trend.

While the long-term profitability of these smaller brick-and-mortar formats have been a point of debate in the local industry, there is really no doubt these retail channels have helped independent designer brands grow and flourish in the market adding to the richness and depth of the country’s design diversity.

Temper Magazine hereby presents some of the country’s top multi-brands to know! 

Dongliang
Dong Liang: A hub for Beijing and Shanghai design. Courtesy of The Chinese Pulse

Dong Liang

With Dong Liang’s trio of founders — Tasha Liu, Charles Wang & Lang Nan — having been featured in BoF’s 500 list the boutique chain is one that really needs no introduction among China’s fashion fans at home or abroad. Launched in 2009 the boutique has gained an impressive Weibo following 258,390 plus followers and boasts locations in Beijing and Shanghai. Need to know labels including Nicole Zhang, Shushu/Tong, Yirantian, Pronounce and Angel Chen along with newer names such as Mobius Studio are stocked.

Weibo | Official WeChat Account idongliang

Shop locations: 

6 Chaowai Street, Building 2, Unit 102, Beijing

184 Fumin Road, Shanghai

Lane 764, House 2 Changle Road, Shanghai

Triple Major
Courtesy of Triple Major

Triple Major

Triple Major: A much-missed and soon to be welcomed-back Beijing indie designer fixture. This concept store set up by Ritchie Chan is involved in the fashion industry across a widespread field with its primary concept being that of “re-inventing popular culture”. As a retailer, a fashion label and a creative studio, the boutique challenges the creative limits of fashion and proposes new perspectives on design through the visions of Walter Van Beirendock, Yang Li, et alli.

Triple Major will soon make its return to 26 Yang Mei Zhu Xiejie, Beijing 

PlayLounge
Courtesy of Playlounge

Playlounge

Playlounge is a fun multi-brand that first opened in Beijing’s youth oriented Xidan district. Housed in the Joy City mall, the shop is an eclectic mix of designer products meets coffee shop, book bar and lifestyle space that so encapsulates the country’s growing preference for more dynamic retail. Inside, you can find major Asian brands and independent designer labels such as Chaotique and Ankimeki. The multi-boutique chain has since expanded to a second location Beijing and has also opened in Shenyang.

Weibo | Official WeChat Account PLAYLOUNGE_love

With local players opening boutiques across the country on a micro regional level, in most cases focusing on one specific city — two at the most, one can only wonder how many other stores there are across China as a whole.

Galatea Wan

Located in Beijing and with a social media following of 35,990 plus followers Galatea Wan is another boutique to know located in China’s capital, Beijing. Major designers such as Vega Zaishi Wang, Comme Moi and Yuzzo are stocked while private collaborative events are often held in the minimalist store space. The multi-brand also has a second location in Changsha according to its Weibo page.

Weibo |Official WeChat Account Galatea-wan

2 Jianguomen Outer Street, B01-02, Beijing Yintai Centre, Beijing

Hug

Chengdu’s cultural importance has made it a major fashion bastion in the country’s western region. It’s retail scene has showed healthy development which includes multi-brands such as Hug. The shop was reportedly launched in 2016 following two years of preparation by Sichuan locals in partnership with Dong Liang. Operated from an international perspective through the store’s selection of clothes, accessories and lifestyle products customers can experience a blended taste of Eastern meets Western culture. Uma WangSamuel Guì Yang and Moto Guo are stocked.

6 Dongda Street, 1F Unit 6, Time One Building, Chengdu

Tommy Zhong Line-Up
Tommy Zhong Line-up. Courtesy of Thread, Fashion And Costume

Four

Another mainstay of Chengdu’s boutique scene, Four is a long time multi-brand fixture in the city. Brands such as Tommy Zhong, Moonstop Studio and Qiu Hao are stocked while themed events featuring collaborations with local designers and international creatives are regularly held in the store.

Weibo | Official WeChat Account sihefour

3 Tianxian Qiao North Road, No 19, Chengdu

liu_qingyang_chictopia
Courtesy of Liu Qingyang for Chictopia

Round Round

Opened in Nanjing, Round Round has been a name that has been popping up the radar recently. And with good reason, while the store has a small Weibo following according to the boutique’s WeChat account the multi-brand chain has opened five locations across the city. Boasting an impressive stock of established designers brands names such as ChictopiaFeng Chen Wang, Ricostru and Helen Lee are carried.

Weibo | Official WeChat Account roundoround

49 Wangfu Main Street, Nanjing
MJM_SS17_GUTS_OLO
Makin Jan Ma SS17: GutS_Olo. Courtesy of Makin Jan Ma

The Fashion Door

Located in Guangzhou’s Tianhe shopping district, The Fashion Door is the city’s most well known multi-brand boutique. Here you’ll find brands such as VmajorMICartsy and  Hong designer Makin Ja Ma.
Weibo | Official WeChat Account TFD_thefashiondoor
 
88 Huacheng Avenue, A12, Mall of the World, Guangzhou
While we have now covered some of the country’s most well known multi-brand boutiques who focus on stocking domestic independent designer labels, the question remains… With local players opening boutiques across the country on a micro-regional level, in most cases focusing on one specific city — two at the most, one can only wonder how many other stores there are across China as a whole. Just think about it… What is the Dong Liang of China’s many provincial capitals and second tier cities?
 
Though some of these stores stock the same major independent labels, each one has its own personality for its store decor, merchandising, service and customer profiles. What would be really interesting to know and see, is how (say) a Round Round customer might style and bring a Ricostru dress to life compared to a Beijing Brand New China shopper who buys the same item. Crescite, multiplicamini and in nomine Fashion… Mix it up ad infinitum!
Written by Sandy Chu for Temper Magazine 2017 All rights reserved
Edited by Elsbeth van Paridon for Temper Magazine
Featured Image: Courtesy of Dong Liang
Copyright@Temper Magazine 2017 All rights reserved