- Vogue Business in China just launched its 2020 New Fashion Capital Index Report, which measures the power and capital of 12 representative municipalities, provincial capitals, or major cities in China.
- Well-known first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen have been fully tapped over the past decade, but lower-tier cities still await further investigation for their market outlooks and potential.
- Regional governments are aligning with the country’s political guidance for economic development by committing to cultivate local fashion industries. This government stimulus, along with outbound travel restrictions, has driven domestic demand since the pandemic began.
As a way to explore emerging power within the current and future fashion & luxury landscape in China, Vogue Business in China launched its 2020 New Fashion Capital Index Report at Chengdu on November 21. The index measures 12 representative municipalities, provincial capitals, or major cities in China. The list includes Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi’an, Shen Yang, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Changsha, Xiamen, Tianjin, Qingdao, and Dalian.
The Condé Nast-owned magazine, in collaboration with strategic consulting firm Ernst & Young Parthenon (EY-Parthenon), built an evaluation system for the index, which includes dimensions, weight, and criteria. In addition to its quantitative investigation, the report also incorporated qualitative analysis through questionnaire surveys and in-depth interviews with industry insiders. Below, Jing Daily has highlighted three key takeaways from the report that will help brands map out the country’s ever-growing domestic spending power along with the cultural dynamics of the report’s featured cities.
Non-first-tier cities are shaping the future of China’s fashion industry
China is now one of the most promising regional markets for fashion players in the post-COVID era. Although it has already lured many international brands into its spectacle, the rules of China’s market have drastically shifted this year. Since the well-known first-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen have been fully tapped over the past decade, lower-tier cities still await further investigation for their market outlooks and potential.
Just as importantly, regional governments are aligning with the country’s political guidance for economic development by committing to cultivate local fashion industries. This government stimulus, along with outbound travel restrictions, has driven domestic demand since the pandemic began. But, beneficial policies on the textile, manufacturing, and fashion design sectors will also help drive China’s cultural productivity.
Chengdu, fueled by local youth culture, is leading the game
Chengdu topped the index with a total score of 9.3 and ranked first in “fashion consumption power,” “fashion business potential,” and “fashion cultural power.” As such, it is clear that this well-balanced city has an edge in many facets of its makeup.
Though the per capita GDP of Chengdu was not the most outstanding one among the featured cities, such as Hangzhou, its annual growth rate ranked first with 7.2 percent. Meanwhile, consumers from Chengdu demonstrated an exceptionally strong awareness of fashion and online purchasing preferences.
However, cultural capital — such as diversity, inclusivity, and the city’s advanced fashion standing — distinguished it from other areas. Its youth “cool” culture, in particular, which is rooted in fields like food, streetwear, and hanfu (traditional Chinese clothing), has been nurturing the younger generations. Because of these reasons, Chengdu has performed well with youth-oriented marketing.
Hangzhou is home to promising creative capital and business potential
Hangzhou ranked second with a total score of 9.1, triumphing over Chengdu to become the top city in terms of creative human capital and business potential. The financial power of Hangzhou residents, as well as the disposable income of its urban residents, bested all other featured cities.
But the backbone of the city’s fashion scene is the creative talent working in the industry, from designers and brand founders to KOLs and MCNs. Thanks to the city’s well-developed influencer economy, product design, manufacturing, and consumer endpoints are seamlessly connected through social and e-commerce platforms.
Meanwhile, Hangzhou’s science and technology capacities have become more alluring than ever amid the digitization of the fashion industry, from the production of innovative materials to the implementation of hi-tech features like augmented and virtual reality. Hangzhou also led all other cities in financial power and its number of listed companies, which should allow sustainable development over the long term.