Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2012

Abstract

Since China overtook Japan as the world's number two economy, all eyes have turned east. If history is any predictor, China will lead world fashion in the foreseeable future. The authors discuss China's fashion history as determined by its past economic policies. Three aspects of China's fashion future are explored: production, consumption, and innovation. Rising labor costs are causing coastal production to move inland or to lower-wage countries. The growing middle class is experiencing increased purchasing power, which both Chinese and international brands seek to attract. China has a variety of retail formats, ranging from knock-off markets to supersized malls to trendy outdoor shopping villages. China is aiming to capture a larger share of apparel profits through innovation. Currently Chinese consumers in the luxury sector prefer well-known global brands such as Louis Vuitton, but the authors predict a native Chinese designer will emerge on the international scene in the future.

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