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How Chinese brand CH’IN is rebranding for the modern consumer

WGSN caught up with Luc Buono, Creative Director of Chinese brand CH’IN to discuss the label’s rebranding which began a year ago. Part of major retail group Metersbonwe, the brand, which originally launched in 2001, recently launched its first concept store in Shanghai’s Xintiandi Style.

Following CH’IN’s first lifestyle concept shop opening in Shanghai, where else will the brand expand to?

We’ll have around 16 shops by the end of this year in a few key cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Chengdu, etc. and will expand aggressively in 2018 nationwide.

The store also carries a selection of food, interiors goods and skincare products, how does this cater to the changing expectations of Chinese shoppers?

Usually when the per capita GDP of a country reaches a certain level, its people tend to welcome a slower pace of life instead of only chasing fast fashion. And this is happening in China now.

A growing number of consumers are looking for shops where they can stay longer to select quality products under the same lifestyle, and the products are not limited to garments, but rather touch upon every aspect of people’s daily life. Even ordinary objects like plates or teapots can be nicely designed at the same time as being functional, and they will appeal to consumers who identify with our brand ideology. Also within the lifestyle part, we emphasise a lot on tea and rice, which is representative of the Chinese way of living.

Lifestyle shops are increasingly emerging in the market today, answering different needs, and we want to speak to people who embrace a slower, healthier and more natural way of life.

The womens and mens apparel is split into three collections Move, Think and Black Label, who or what part of a consumer’s lifestyle do each of the lines cater to?

The three lines are designed to match different occasions. Move is for casual occasions like shopping, an outing or travelling. Think is what we call the NEW office look – smart but much more relaxed than formalwear. Black is our premium label where we bring in more traditional Chinese know-how but interpreted in a contemporary way.

How important do you feel traditional design elements that draw on heritage and a celebration of a slow considered life will be for the future Chinese consumer?

A slower life will be important for the future Chinese consumers because of the mega trend, as mentioned above.

As for traditional design elements, which are presented in a subtle and modern way in our brand, we think Chinese consumers will more and more appreciate things that embody the heritage as a lot of them are proud of their own cultural roots. Also from the commercial perspective, after so many years buying western fast-fashion, people are looking for something new and refreshing, and the Chinese angle will give us the differentiation.

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