Can Swiss Fashion Designers Gain Traction in the China Market?

by eggplant in BFI

Swiss watches have always been at the top of the shopping list for Chinese overseas tourists, but would they be as passionate about niche designer brands from Switzerland? China is reported to be the fifth largest market for Switzerland tourism and its status is rising. However, Swiss brands overall have yet to establish themselves among Chinese customers. “At the moment, it (the presence) is not huge. It could be bigger. The market here is more and more important for them,” said Yannick Aellen, director of Mode Suisse. For example, Julian Zigerli, known for his avant-garde designs, had a short collaboration with Paris department store Galeries Lafayette’s outpost in Beijing three years ago. He says that communication has been difficult for small designer brands in China. While Swiss fashion brands are still a minority in China, they are on the radar of Chinese fashionistas who are avid social media users. Like Zigerli, Reichmuth found the street style in China to be unexpectedly inspiring. “They are very open,” she said. “I was amazed at the extravagant, crazy pieces you can find in the shops here. In Switzerland, people are very understated and simple. You want to fit in. Here people want to stand out with their outfit.”Meanwhile, Chinese designers are also tempted to test the waters overseas. “We want to make a good first impression,” said a Chinese designer, “to see how we can develop in each other’s country.”

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