Continuing on from Part I of my interview with Eve Fashion Group’s CEO Xie Hua, in Part II, she discusses the relevance of China Fashion Week and the importance of holding fashion shows for company unity.
How does China Fashion Week influence the Chinese fashion industry?
With 16 years history, China Fashion Week (CFW) has supported the industry, nurtured Chinese brands, and educated the media about fashion. Without CFW, no domestic fashion brands would understand what fashion shows are about.
However, many successful apparel brands in China have never done a fashion show. They think that if their clothes sell well and seeing there are no buyers at the shows anyway, there is no point to put on a show.
In that case, how do fashion shows and taking part in China Fashion Week benefit your brand?
We do fashion shows for various reasons and it doesn’t always have to be for the media. Sometimes its to treat our VIPs to a special event and sometimes its more for marketing.
One reason we do shows is to give our designers a stage to try things and get experience. Because the cost of holding a show is so prohibitive, young independent designers couldn’t afford to do their own show. That’s another reason why designers should work for big companies first – so they get a platform and chance to be part of a big show. Often this is more useful to them than just receiving a salary
The other main reason we do shows is to define the company’s identity and align everyone internally about our mission and direction. Holding a show every year will also help to identify and resolve any internal issues and so is important for everyone’s moral, not just the designers.
Do brands like Chanel and Giorgio Armani still have to do shows the get media attention? I doubt it. They do the shows for the same reason we do, for their own people, for the company internally.
Two years ago you held a show for Notting Hill in China’s top Luxury Mall. Do you plan to do more shows in public places?
Yes, we opened China Fashion Week with a show inside Beijing’s Shin Kong Place Mall. That was quite a feat, especially considering we did it in the main entrance in front of big brand stores including Chanel, Hugo Boss and Bulgari etc.
In China its always very difficult to do events in public that attract crowds and you need lots of Government approvals etc. Then, when you invite VIPs and celebrities, fans can go crazy so you have to manage that as well. During the entire show I was focused on the crowd - making sure no one would create a disturbance etc.
Although technically it was challenging, in the end it was very successful and we had 300 people seated for over half an hour and everything went smoothly. Overall, doing a show like this is very difficult for any brand so we wont be able to do it too often.
What is install for China’s fashion industry in the next five years?
The next five years will bring big changes as Chinese brands will start to get more international attention.
Now its comparable or even cheaper to open concessions overseas because rent in China rent is becoming so expensive. So Eve Group has already started opening retail outlets overseas.
The last ten years we had rapid we had development for low-end and fast fashion Chinese brands. I think the time has come for high-end Chinese brands to find their space and make their mark on the world.