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.
These sentiments have been replaced by behavior that is on par with mature economies — think the growing preference for stealth wealth, athleisure (which is just starting to peak in the country) and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!
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
6 Chaowai Street, Building 2, Unit 102, Beijing
184 Fumin Road, Shanghai
Lane 764, House 2 Changle Road, Shanghai
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 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.
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
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 Wang, Samuel Guì Yang and Moto Guo are stocked.
6 Dongda Street, 1F Unit 6, Time One Building, Chengdu
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
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 Chictopia, Feng Chen Wang, Ricostru and Helen Lee are carried.
Weibo | Official WeChat Account roundoround
The Fashion Door
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
Currently working full-time at WGSN, Chu writes gated B2B content covering Asia product trends, Chinese consumer insights and Chinese digital marketing trends. In this role she has been quoted as an industry expert by BoF.
While her regular work remits focus on identifying and analyzing commercial trends, on a personal level she retains a passion for creative merit and cultural insights around China. Sandy previously ran her own fashion blog and creative events which have been featured in Time Out Shanghai, Femina China, Lonely Planet’s Shanghai city guide and the U.S. edition of Travel & Leisure.
She is currently working on developing her new blog Selective Attention.