The Chinese retailer Bosideng, which has 8,000 stores at home, opened its first European outpost last summer in an architectural curiosity in London’s West End. The move, which so far isn’t profitable, was more of an effort at forging an international image than anything else. Gao Dekang, the company’s founder, even moved into the top floor of the flatiron-shaped building.
Despite the lack of profits, the label has been well-received so far, and is continuing its campaign for increased awareness in the West. Plans are on the way for a Fifth Avenue store in New York. With niche luxury brands continuing to do well across the globe, Bosideng, despite its lack of international name recognition, could do well for itself in that area. Their particular expansion might also be quite prescient, as a rethinking of the “Made in China” label, for Chinese brands, becomes not just desirable but necessary.
The number of homegrown Chinese luxury brands, some of which are near-couture status, is growing, but the international perception of the Made in China label, while evolving, isn’t quite keeping up. While at home, there’s a sense that design schools need to encourage deeper creativity and innovation in their students, Bosideng’s move represents the other end of the effort — simply entering upscale shopping locales in the U.S. and Europe. And when Bosideng opened in the UK, they re-branded as “Bosideng London,” launching a corresponding English-version Web site touting the brand’s heritage and philosophy.
As a largely unknown brand, Bosideng debuted in an appealing, notice-me manner that was ultimately high-end. We’d put our money on the retailer to become one of the first upscale Chinese brands, if not the first, to become mainstream (and profitable!) in the global luxury industry.