Decades have gone since Charles Frederick Worth put fashion on a high pedestal in our lives. He exhibited his work in Paris making the city an important part of the Global Fashion map. Years have gone, and France, Italy, UK and the US dominated the global fashion market till recently. Asia and the Middle East are now catching up with great momentum and are now making their mark as significant opportunities in terms of investment and trends.
The Asian Fashion Market
Studies and vigorous analysis has been conducted trying to understand this dynamic and fast growing market. The biggest players in the Asian Fashion scene were the Japanese and Koreans. This change has been witnessed in the past five years when the Asian market made its mark in the global fashion scene. Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia have been found to have capabilities to take a lot of market share away from the west; China has always been the dark sheep from not only being the production lead, but being one of the greatest contributors to global fashion.
It is understood that Asian fashion market has also embraced the upcoming trends of online fashion. Dozens of good websites support and sell clothes online making more people around the world get awareness about the Asian fashion.
Japan, was a major fashion hub right from the very beginning. According to statistics, the Japanese fashion industry was worth US 1001 billion dollars in the year 2000. Hong Kong is another name slowly making its mark by organising highly acclaimed fashion shows and has one of the fastest growing retail industry as well.
Coming back to the new Chinese reign on the global market, it has been analysed that the Chinese fashion industry is set to become one of the world’s second largest fashion market by the year 2020. This means that it would account for nearly 30 percent of the global fashion market’s growth within the period of next five years. Throwing light on the online fashion scenario of China, reports predict the number of online shoppers to rise to 329 billion in 2015 from 145 million in 2010.
With the unscaled growth in awareness about fashion in the Asian market, many high fashion brands and retail brands are moving towards this growing continent for customers. Most designers from the west are now opening their flagships and collaborating with already existing high end buying houses in Asia to retail their lines. High fashion giants like Louis Vuitton , Dior , Hermes have already opened many independent stores and some American retail brands like Forever 21 have also entered the Asian market.
The Middle Eastern Fashion Market
Contrary to popular belief, the Middle Eastern market is one of the International fashion industry’s most vibrant markets. According to a study conducted by Bain and Company, global sales have increased upto 30% . Personal luxury goods shopping have been increasing without being deterred by the global economic crisis. Also, the a 41.7% sale increase was witnessed in the middle east by the world’s top 250 retailers in 2012.
The need for luxury and flamboyance of the wealthy, fashion loving states of the Arabian Gulf is visible in the mega-sized lavish shopping malls they construct. One can find nearly every popular and luxurious brand from the west retailing in these shopping giants.
Along with physical retailing, the Middle Eastern market seems to have also delved into the e-commerce segment with flair. Studies conducted by Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), London, predicted that the total E commerce sales in the Gulf will increase from 3.3 billion dollars in 2010 to 15 billion dollars in 2015.
The basic difference in the Asian Market and the Middle Eastern market is popularity of certain type of clothing keeping their cultures in mind. Political influences in the Middle East disallow women to bare hands and expose certain parts of their body which poses a restriction in terms of choosing the right ensemble.
However, this doesn’t stop the Middle East customer to experiment. According to studies, women are more aware and are experimenting with designers from the west and choosing more dresses and gowns keeping their culture in mind.
On the Contrary, Asian network in fashion is slightly more liberal and easier for brands to experiment with in terms of choice of product and labels.