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Behind American Vintages, betting on the lucrative Chinese fashion market

Behind American Vintages, betting on the lucrative Chinese fashion market
Behind American Vintages, betting on the lucrative Chinese fashion market

 


Present in Asia for more than a decade with Hong Kong as its sole market, the French fashion brand American Vintage now has greater ambitions. The brand recently opened its first store in mainland China in Shanghai, and this is just the beginning of its goal to further capture high-spending Chinese consumers in the region. Founded in 2005 in Marseille, American Vintage is inspired by the United States and is known for its t-shirts, knitwear, jeans and fleeces. After almost two decades, the b

The brand has established a strong presence with a network of approximately 213 stores, including branches, corners and points of sale, in Europe, the Middle East, North America and Asia.

[It has been] a long journey, a dream come true, a great source of pride, Michael Azoulay, founder and CEO of American Vintages, told Inside Retail Asia in an interview. With his eye on the prize With a strong presence outside of Asia and a network of five physical stores in Hong Kong, Azoulay felt it made sense to continue the brand's expansion into mainland China. China is a country that is growing very quickly and in record numbers in the fashion industry. As a businessman and leader, expanding into China was a goal because the company believes a lot in this market, Azoulay explained. This is a market that we could not see ourselves entering alone and we needed to find the right teams on site to do so. We waited but today we were ready, more mature and we found the right partner. Azoulay is confident that opening a store in Shanghai will strengthen the brand's relationship with its Chinese consumer base, already well established in its stores in Asia Pacific and other regions around the world. He believes this move will bring the brand philosophy closer to its customers. In the brand's business plan, Shanghai was one of the first cities to position the brand in terms of image and initial development. When we started thinking about mainland China, we received several opportunities and Shanghai was one of the most interesting. Azoulay acknowledged the challenges of expanding into new markets. The biggest hurdle, he says, is effectively communicating the brand's philosophy and DNA while respecting local culture and market dynamics. American Vintage is generally known for its emphasis on timeless, versatile pieces that combine comfort and style. We focus our work on shapes, fabrics and colors. We have an international identity, he said. We have always exported, we are present in seasonal resorts, in countries all over the world. We think and create a product that can speak to everyone and allow people to express themselves. People develop their style through the products they own. It is not the product that makes the person in our country [France], and that is why we are transgenerational and cosmopolitan. From the start, whether in Southern or Northern Europe, we realized that we had no problem growing, the product worked everywhere. We try to share our values ​​and our products to offer a complete, urban, fashionable wardrobe that is easy to wear and lasts over time. The biggest challenge was finding local partners to help the brand achieve its global expansion goals, he said. An experience-driven store concept As Azoulay explains, American Vintage designs its stores as places for interaction rather than just points of sale, and the same goes for its Shanghai store. Nestled within luxury department store Rel in West Nanjing Roads, the 82m² Shanghai store incorporates a variety of lifestyle spaces, allowing customers to read books and enjoy coffee between fittings. This free time is a way to take the time to interact with our customers. Get to know them, inform them about our product, introduce them to [American Vintage] lifestyle: through smell, music, reading, entertainment with competitions. A discussion that takes place around coffee and in cozy spaces, he said. The spaces are now organized around break areas which encourage discussions in an intuitive and enthusiastic manner. As for the service, it goes well beyond fashion advice. The store also has a jeans bar and a white t-shirt bar. The store's interiors highlight the brand's signature neutral colors of white, ecru, gray and navy, while also offering a range of colorful pieces that align with current trends and seasons. The evolution of our physical spaces is continually present and allows us to offer activities to new loyal customers or people passing through our home, said Azoulay. In the future, American Vintage plans to introduce digital innovations in its stores to improve the customer experience. The CEO revealed that the company will continue its international expansion with more store openings in the region. We make sure to remain ourselves and bring what we experience every day to the brand's headquarters, to your home, he concluded. Anil Prabha contributed reporting.

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