Asian fashionistas go gaga over home labels
FASHION brands from South Korea, China and Japan are becoming serious rivals of their Western peers as Asian consumers become increasingly confident in their own style and take pride in buying home-grown labels.
Asian consumers are the world's biggest spenders on high-end fashion.
Most are under 35, Internet-savvy and increasingly on the hunt for small, cool and original brands.
High quality is no longer the preserve of Western luxury brands, fashion experts say, and Asian brands are attracting attention as they experiment with new textiles and materials, facilitated by their local manufacturing base.
This growing threat from the East is likely to add misery to big luxury brands such as Prada, Kering's Bottega Veneta and Tod's, already suffering from plunging sales, partly due to excessive price increases, over-exposure in certain markets such as China and mega-brand fatigue.
Chinese fashion brands, such as Ms Min and Comme moi, are the fastest-growing contemporary design labels sold at department store Lane Crawford, which has outlets throughout China and Hong Kong, said its chairman Andrew Keith.
Lane Crawford also sells Korean menswear brands such as Woo Young Mi and expects to start offering Korean womenswear soon.
Lane Crawford has seen its pool of Chinese labels grow over the past four years to more than 30, from just four.
Also high on Asians' shopping list are Japanese brands, such as Sacai and Tsumori Chisato, many of them older and better established than South Korean or Chinese labels.
Lady Gaga regularly wears Japan's Roggykei, created in 2006 by two graduates from Osaka College of Design.
Popular Korean brand SJYP, run by duo Steve Jung and Yoni Pai, sells in Europe and the United States, including at Selfridges in London and Opening Ceremony in New York and Los Angeles.