China Embraces Resort Collections as Demand Grows

LONDON — China’s growing appetite for newness in fashion is fueling the growth of the resort market, and homegrown talents are catching up with their international counterparts quickly.

In timing with the explosion of resort collections in the West, Shanghai showrooms and trade shows that traditionally only operate during Shanghai Fashion Week are hosting additional summer editions for this relatively new but fast-growing category.

Dadashow is one of the early ones to see potential in the Chinese resort market. It has hosted resort showrooms for a few years, representing mostly international brands. But since last year, an increasing number of Chinese designers are entering this sector.

“The stores simply need more choices, as consumers across the country are increasingly looking for clothing with one-of-a-kind designs,” said Bedi Ye, founder of Dadashow, which represents around 30 brands this edition.

“Many traditional fashion retailers in China are in the process of transitioning to a store concept model. There are also many buyers specializing in private traffic sales who want to work with designer brands….In addition, since there are thousands of brands during Shanghai Fashion Week, there is also a need for an additional ordering season in between the two so that buyers can get some of the items they did not have time to order during the fashion weeks,” he added.

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Buyers at Ontimeshow resort edition in Shanghai. Courtesy

Ontimeshow, the largest trade show during Shanghai Fashion Week, hosted its first summer edition at the end of June. More than 2,350 buyers visited the curated showcase of 32 brands and placed 240 orders. Half of the brands were selling resort collections.

Yeli Gu, founder of Ontimeshow, said the pre-collections present “an unmissable opportunity” for retailers and designers in China.

“In today’s fast-paced internet age, where people expect new things on a daily basis, pre-collections create more exposure and commercial revenue for the brands. Our designers who presented resort collections got way more orders than those who didn’t,” she said.

From a retailer perspective, Gu added that this quarterly buying model helps relieve retailers’ capital pressure and shorten the investment cycle.

“Even when the total buying budget remains the same, it helps them balance the product structure and adjust the offering more flexibly and quickly,” she said.

8on8’s resort collection “Stretching Club” showroom in Shanghai. Courtesy

Ming Ma is among a handful of emerging designers who are launching their first resort collections this summer. His resort line puts a focus on special occasions, such as dresses to wear for Christmas and New Year’s gatherings, and pieces in festive colors for the Chinese New Year. The collection also comes with a lower price point targeting a wider demographic.

Men’s wear label 8on8’s first resort collection, on the other hand, is aiming to expand into athleisure. Made with high-tech yarn and inspired by vintage fitness culture, the collection also caters to the female audience, and features a capsule in collaboration with Asics.

Designer Samuel Guì Yang even moved his schedule entirely to the pre-resort time frame. The LVMH Prize-shortlisted Yang is known for his modern interpretation of Chinese elements.

The designer explained that as an emerging label, this arrangement allows the brand to spend more time on collaborations and special projects, as well as marketing events and shows during fashion week, as the collection would have been finished by June.

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