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Asia thumps New York fashion

According to the Business of Fashion Report (McKinsey & Company 2017), “The West will no longer be the global stronghold for fashion sales.”

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…And the winners are from Taiwan

Unless you are Rihanna (who wore Beijing, China-based designer Guo Pei’s yellow cape dress at the Met Gala last year)…

…and have access to the best of the world’s fashion-makers, it is possible (even likely) that OMG/awesome Asian designers are not hanging in your closet. We could travel to Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore, or we can follow the Asian designers currently available in the USA.

Spending or Investing?

Asian consumers spend lots of their money on high-end fashion and this group represents 50 percent of the total buyers of luxury goods. Demographics? Under 35, Internet savvy and searching for what is wonderful, unique, and demand a look/see.

The millennial Asian sense of fashion is totally different from their parents, according to recent research and, because of the quality of the fabrics, workmanship, and unique design concepts, the Asian brands are attracting the attention of smart (and wealthy) shoppers.


The Asian designer is willing to experiment with new textiles, colors, patterns and styles and this eagerness to experiment is facilitated by local manufacturers and consumers looking for the apparel WOW!

Goodbye New York Fashion District

According to the Business of Fashion Report (McKinsey & Company 2017), “The West will no longer be the global stronghold for fashion sales.” In 2018 (for the first time), “more than half of apparel and footwear sales will originate outside of Europe and North America,” as the emerging nations across Asia-Pacific, Latin America and other regions expand.

Asian-Pacific consumers have become an important part of the middle class and see clothes as an extension and expression of their new lifestyle. This group is traveling and shopping abroad. The residents of the Asia-Pacific countries spend approximately $600 billion outside of their home countries. In the luxury goods segment, 75 percent of all sales will be from Chinese consumers, with more than half of that spend outside of China.

Go Big or Go Home

The international apparel industry requires executives to be quick and decisive. Fashion is a moving target and rapid responses to trends are the norm; you are either first or you are last!  Fashion consumers want both the buying experience and the apparel to be fresh, new and dynamic. Brands should say, “Look at ME!” and “I am YOU!” The message must be bold – across all platforms, from iPads to brick/mortar shops.

The Chinese market for luxury goods cannot be underestimated. The number of Chinese millionaires is expected to surpass that of other nations this year (2018) and by 2021 China is expected to have the most affluent households in the world.

Goodbye Europe. Hello China

In 2016, it is estimated that 7.6 million Chinese households purchased luxury goods, a number larger than the total number of households in Malaysia or the Netherlands. Each of these 7.6 million households spends an average of US$10,304 (RMB 71,000) on luxury goods per year, twice what French or Italian households are spending. Chinese luxury consumers account for over $7.4 billion in annual spending, representing almost one-third of the global luxury market.

Travel Shopping in China

Fifteen of the 20 cities in which apparel sales are growing the quickest are outside traditional Western markets, in places like Chongqing and Guangzhou. In China, one of the most important trends is the increasing purchasing power of men as more Chinese males become interested in clothing and fashion.

Outstanding Asian Fashions

AsianInNY recently presented an outstanding show of current fashion trends from Taiwanese designers that included Alexandra Peng Charton, Chelsea Liu, Jessica Chen, Joe Chan and Pai Cheng. The event sponsors included: NOYU Teas, Singha Beer, Cakra Fashion Makeup & Skincare, Yuan’s Jewelry and Facto.

Pai Cheng, Designer


Chelsea Liu, Designer

Andre Kao, Designer

Jessica Chan, Designer

Designers Profiled

From Taipei Taiwan Pai Cheng studied fashion design in Shih Chien University and was awarded his Fashion Design Master’s Degree from Istituto Maragoni, Milano. He started his brand in Taiwan (2014). Cheng integrates his Italian education and experiences into hi owns persona, creating bright colors with digital printing, creating original and distinctive apparel for women and men and worn by artists and musicians.

Tsung Yu Chan started his career in Taiwan. His menswear brand is clearly identified as high fashion inspired by street-fashion and modern art. He studied in France and interned with Rick Owens (American Retro) and French womenswear brand Koche as an assistant designer. “Making our design perfectly and experiencing the entire process of bringing out quality goods is the best way to show people the beautiful meaning of clothing.”

Chelsea Liu

A 27-year old graduate of Chung Ang University, Liu was a film studies major and continues her education in international business as she purses her master’s degree. Her studios are based in Seoul and New York. A noted film maker her work, “necklace” (2008) and “still in love with you” (2011) were shown at the Busan International Film Festival.

She has been associated with H&M Tokyo as an entry level stylist and designer. She has also worked on the Forever 21 illustration design team in NYC and joined Dolce & Gabbana as a Fashion Intern. In 2013 she was recognized as Asia’s Most Valuable Fashion Designer (London) and in 2014 she was noted as the Wedding Dress Designer of the Year.

Jessica Chen

Jessica Chen was born in Taipei and is a resident of NYC since 1994. A premed chemistry major at Baylor University, Texas, she graduated from FIT with a BS in Fashion Design. She interned at Geoffrey Beene, Carolina Herrera and apprenticed with Pauline Trigere.

She has been Head Designer for luxury outerwear designer Andrew Marc and her designs are available at Saks Fifth Ave, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom’s. She has been a Leather Design Director at S. Rothschild designing for Ralph Lauren, Eli Tahari, DKNY, Zac Posen and Victoria’s Secret.

Currently she is the Design and Marketing Director for luxury Italian handbag designer, FVCINA. Her designs are edgy and crafted from luxurious fabrics with tempered color palettes and attention to fine tailoring and detail. She designs from upcycling materials to reduce the waste generated from the fashion industry.

Asian Fashion Future

We started wearing clothes between 50,000 – 100,000 years ago. With the invention of the weaving machine, fabrics and garments morphed from being tailored made to being mass produced. Currently we dress for the time of the day, the day of the week, the season, the occasion, the environment, for ourselves, and for our significant others. People from all over the world make personalized choices daily and buy items they like, makes them feel good and presents a non-verbal statement of who we think we are.

In the last decade, the global business environment has changed and the garment industry has transitioned from mass-marketing to mass-customization. Differentiated products, aimed at specific market segments, are strategically necessary in an industry characterized by fierce competition – fighting to determine who can best please and satisfy the customer.

Historically, clothing purchases were planned and influenced by economic resources; however, as the customer base grows and expands, today people buy clothes on impulse (unplanned purchases), creating a new challenge for the industry.

As long as the Asian designer is able to present a fresh, unique, cutting edge (and edgy) approach to fashion (for men and women), their power and their place in the fashion skyline will not go unrewarded.

For additional information and shopping sources for Asian designers, contact [email protected] .

© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

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