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Italian designer on tapping mainland market

2014-July-14       Source: Szdaily.com

An Italian fashion designer, Livia Meldolesi, has just opened an e-boutique in Shenzhen as her first step to explore the Chinese market.

A visitor poses for a snapshot at the display hall of Eachway-brand clothes at Dalang Fashion Creative Center. The closing ceremony of the 14th China (Shenzhen) International Fashion Brand Fair was held at the center Saturday. The center, which is still under construction, has attracted more than 20 well-known companies.

An Italian fashion designer, Livia Meldolesi, has just opened an e-boutique in Shenzhen as her first step to explore the Chinese market.

Meldolesi has been in the fashion industry for more than 20 years and is well-known for her swimwear. She brought her own swimwear brand, Livia Meldolesi, to China last year.

"Shenzhen is a coastal city [that] is open to new concepts, which is needed by a [foreign] swimwear brand. In addition, the city's adjacency to Hong Kong and Macao is one of the reasons I [made] the city our Asian headquarters," Livia Meldolesi told Shenzhen Daily before Saturday's catwalk show for foreign designers at the 14th China (Shenzhen) International Fashion Brand Fair at Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Center in Futian District.

The fair attracted more than 30 foreign brands from 12 countries and concluded on Saturday.

Livia Meldolesi's luxury swimwear collection, Dolce Vita, opened the catwalk show.

Meldolesi said her brand is aimed at promoting a "beach culture" and an attitude of enjoying life in China.

While seeing the market potential in China, Meldolesi said there are challenges for a niche brand to be launched in the country.

"The main challenges reside in finding good colleagues in marketing [and] sales, but also good professionals [specializing] in photography, video or catwalks. The good ones are hard to find and are, as a result, as expensive as in Europe. It's very much a surprise," said Meldolesi, who has been staying in China for seven years.

"Entering the luxury market requires a lot of money. In China, we are also faced with a mentality barrier as not only shoppers but also large department stores are slaves to big brands. But this is bound to change as customers become more sophisticated and more adventurous in expressing their individuality and personality," she said.

Meldolesi said her brand is looking for a Chinese partner to open physical shops in China. Her brand has only one shop in Hong Kong.

Meldolesi also gave suggestions on the development of China's fashion brands.

"Fashion brands should respect designs by young designers, who are creative, instead of only forcing changes to [their designs] to cater to the market. A fashion brand should lead the market, not follow it," she said.

She added that many Chinese brands fail to present avant-garde concepts.

Shenzhen's clothing industry has been seeking changes from manufacturers to brand developers.

This weekend's report by SZTV said about 50 to 60 percent of clothing items sold in department stores and shopping malls in China's first-tier cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, are made in Shenzhen.

"An enterprise can only achieve sustainable development by owning its own brands," said Yin Bo, vice president of Shenzhen-based Yinger Fashion Group.

Yinger owns six brands and runs more than 1,000 shops across the country.

Editor: 张斯

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