World Trade Organization data show that in 2022, China was the world's largest exporter of clothing.
LONDON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- In Mayfair, one of London's busiest high-end shopping districts, a raspberry-colored building with three prominent Chinese characters on its facade grabs the attention of passersby.
It is a flagship store of Bosideng, a Chinese down clothing brand. Established in 2012, the store in Mayfair was temporarily closed when the Brexit turmoil was at its worst. Then in 2022, it was relaunched after renovations and upgrades.
With a shopping area spanning four floors in the region known for its concentration of international upscale brands, the shop demonstrates the company's commitment to establishing a middle-to-high-end brand image.
"It is very important to have a physical store," Aaron Hold, manager of the flagship store, said, explaining that the customers must be able to try the clothes on, feel and touch the fabrics, and see the craftsmanship and quality.
In China, a country with a booming apparel industry, many clothing companies have been trying to transform their business focus from exporting textile to building their own brands in the international market.
For companies like Bosideng, the real-time customer feedback received in the in-store selection and purchase process is invaluable, even though overseas e-commerce platforms are more cost-effective.
"We're starting to see a lot more different customers from all walks of the world," Hold said.
"The best way to enter the international market will be absolutely being in line with customer needs," Pietro Ferragina, an Italian designer working with Bosideng, commented.
With first-hand information and customer feedback gathered from the shop, the company can understand what customers need and endeavor to meet their demands with its expertise, he said.
Over the years, along with Bosideng, a few other Chinese clothing brands have also opened retail stores in the United States, Singapore, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and other countries.
However, in addition to having shops and directly contacting with overseas customers, these Chinese brands still need patience in the journey of gaining fame in international markets.
As a designer who has worked in the international fashion industry and with several Chinese clothing brands over the decades, Ferragina said it takes significant effort to bridge different cultures and align Chinese brands with overseas markets.
"So, we have to do it step by step and really slowly. There is no need to be the first and the fastest doing it, but we need to be the first to do it well," Ferragina said.
In his opinion, controlling product quality, understanding customer needs, being able to solve problems and being honest with customers are keys to promote a brand in the fashion market.
World Trade Organization data show that in 2022, China was the world's largest exporter of clothing. According to Chinese customs data, the country's exports of clothing and clothing accessories exceeded 500 billion yuan (69 billion U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2023, a 0.7 percent year-on-year increase.
Asked about her expectations for China's clothing brands in the future, Aminah Ali, a social media lifestyle influencer in London, said she expects Chinese brands to come up with more innovative designs and to use materials that people have not seen before.
"Style and uniqueness is what I am looking for," she added.
"I think the prospects are amazing," Ali Gordon, a fashion blogger, said when asked about the future of Chinese clothing brands. "I think they produce great quality garments and they're using good materials. With the design and quality, they should have great success." (1 yuan = 0.14 U.S. dollar)