Apr 20, 2018 | By WGSN Insider
Aug 23, 2017
By Sandy Chu
Here, Vito Plantamura, founder of V/Collective, reveals what you need to know about modern China and how his international approach has helped the company stand out from the crowd to attract major Chinese clients (think Peacebird, ZucZug, JNBY, V Grass and Urban Revivo) in the market.
Hi Vito, what trends would you say are happening in the market right now?
Some could argue that this is not a trend but it should be noted the continual growth of e-commerce in China. This growth does not seem like it will be slowing down, especially with the Sino tech sectors also expanding. China is currently leading the world in terms of digital innovation, take for instance companies like Tencent and Alibaba – Western companies are following their lead. The world is faced towards China and looking to see how all this new technology will shape and influence the market.
Another ongoing trend that doesn’t look to be slowing down are collaborations between brands. But, recently, there have been more crossover collaborations with brands that are not related to fashion engaging in the garment industry. Sino fashion line Peacebird’s collaboration with beverage titan Pepsi is a prime example.
These days customers are more informed and demanding so companies must have a quality product with proper marketing and image if they want to succeed. This is the hard reality that brands are facing now.
International brands have been localising their marketing activities and they continue to do so. They realise the importance of being connected with their local customers.
A major market that is booming in China is kidswear. The official overturning of China’s one child policy in 2016 has launched one of the biggest emerging industries. There has been a trend of established Chinese brands spawning kid-wear subdivisions to address this need. JNBY is a great example, with over 700 stores in China and expanding to the US, they have formed jnby by JNBY for the growing demographic. The infant line has been exceptionally successful, at the prestigious Pitti Bimbo show, they were the only Chinese group allowed to exhibit this year.
And where do you see the country headed?
China of today is a trend oriented culture and the market moves quick, styles go in and out, bringing in new fashions and new players every 3-6 months. So, how has it changed, is that it has always been changing. The old adage “the only thing that is constant is change” is fitting in China. The Chinese consumer is always looking for the next new thing and the market feeds this by providing fresh trends and obsessively evolving.
The market is ready for a prominent Chinese designer to emerge. There are many young talented designers, even though it is more competitive, it is the right environment. China’s market has a broader idea of fashion and is more mature, the consumers are open to new ideas and ready to accept them.
I also see tremendous opportunity in the accessories’ market. There is a deficient amount of designers and brands in this division. Additionally, accessories are easier goods to move online compared to apparel, so there is much potential for growth in this sector, not just design-wise, but economically as well.
Why do Chinese companies want to partner with you?
Chinese companies want to partner with us because we have a range of talented artists in our agency. So for any brand that wants to collaborate, we will have an artist that will fit the client’s vision. We currently represent more than 70 talents in China, including independent fashion designers, illustrators, graphic, product and lifestyle designers.
Companies also partner with us because our approach is different, we specifically look for brands with an artist in mind. Instead of companies choosing us we actually seek out companies that would suit our artists’ style and outlook. We really consider our artists and try to cultivate a long term plan for their work. We want them to have longevity and relevance far into the future. We develop marketing campaigns and strategies that honour their vision and, in turn, clients want to work with us because we are not just matching any designer to any company. We go in creating specific, tailor made projects so that both parties mutually benefit, we only pursue synergistic collaborations.
In the back of house, we have a solid network with offices in Shanghai and in Guangzhou and a multinational team. V/Collective is a relatively young company, and it’s reflected in the staff. My team is youthful, but with their youth, they bring a spirit, passion and energy to their job. Although my crew is young, they are professional and informed with a depth of experience gleaned from the wide array of projects they have worked on.
V/Collective has had additional support through our long term partnership with May Concepts PR agency in London and with Juni in Finland. The multinational network and resources they have shared have been an invaluable asset, and have contributed to the success of our company.
Find out more about V/Collective here.
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