London Fashion Week designer Paul Smith is on the verge of a major expansion into China after signing a partnership agreement with Hong Kong brand and distribution firm ImagineX. According to reports from Bloomberg, the fashion brand will set up a 5,000 sq ft store in Shanghai, alongside other European fashion houses including Christian Dior, Gucci and Burberry, and will add a further 24 shops in China over the next five years.
This will be the designer’s second time attempting to crack China, five years ago the company retreated after suffering large losses, but this time they are hoping to ride the growing fashion market in China, which is expected to triple over the next eight years, and use the growing popularity of British brands in the region.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Balbina Wong, CEO of the ImanineX Group, Paul Smith’s Chinese distributor said: "This is the right time to join the race. Chinese consumers are becoming more sophisticated and brand- conscious. China’s overall GDP may slow, but the middle-class is growing.”
ImagineX is a brand management and distribution company that represents about 20 international brands and operates 450 points of sale in more than 50 cities in Asia, according to its website. Paul Smith has a number of other stores in the region including in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and recently opened his first standalone store in Australia, the Shanghai opening is expected in December.
Image: Paul Smith