APPG Textiles and Fashion Roundtable on Fashion Trade With China
Tuesday 20th March 2018; 4.30 – 5.30pm Room M, Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament
1/11 Chair’s Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Lisa Cameron MP welcomed everyone, outlined the reasons why the APPG for Textiles and Fashion has been created and asked Tamara Cincik to add to this introduction.
2/11 Secretariat’s Welcome and Introduction Tamara Cincik, secretariat for the APPG from Fashion Roundtable, explained the shared interests across the APPG and Fashion Roundtable to advocate for the fashion industry with better understanding by policy makers.
3/11 Jack Porteous, Assistant Director of Retail and the Creative Industries, China-Britain Business Council: http://www.cbbc.org. spoke on shifting opportunity beyond just the Tier 1 cities, which have been traditionally targeted by foreign brands. Shanghai Fashion Week is becoming the 5th International Fashion Week. Ecommerce Jack said, holds great opportunities, but is not without its challenges. Education is an opportunity for creative exchange: with Chinese designers educated in the UK who understand both markets. CBBC is working to support this through both education in the UK and with in market support in China, partnering with DIT, BFC, UKFT. Jack asked for clarity on cross-border harmonisation of standards as well as clarity on ecomms regulation development. Jack advised all brands looking to work in China, to check the CBBC website for information and advice, which he is also happy to support with.
4/11 David Lloyd, Managing Director, UK, Ireland & Nordics Alibaba Group, spoke of Alibaba’s 10 year old position as the largest ecommerce company in the world, with 40% of the China market. They host over 140,000 brands, 60,000 international, with 700 brought from the UK in the last 2 years alone. Chinese consumers now are not only wanting to buy big brands, such as Burberry, but the growing demographic of young affluent female consumers, want to buy niche brands.
The use of Alipay: Albaba’s payment platform which is well used in China, being used in the UK allows for brands to retain a connection with Chinese tourism consumers.
5/11 Graham Clemence, Senior Director, Global IP Enforcement Alibaba Group, spoke on how Alibaba have ramped up the IP team to over 2000 within the governance team, to work across the 1.5bn listings on their platforms.
6/11 Huishan Zhang, http://www.huishanzhang.com/about/ spoke of his work as an advocate well crafted Chinese designer level fashion and his Chinese-UK life, from studying at CSM, and starting his career, when he was handpicked to work at Dior in leather goods and in Haute Couture. Huishan saw his label as a point of change: away from mass market towards a luxury vision of Made In China. What began with him and his aunt, has grown into a UK studio and Chinese atelier where he has over 40 staff creating sustainable fashion in China, supportive of the local community and employees and the recent opening of his flagship store in Mount Street, Mayfair.
7/11 Alice McInerney, Global Business Development, http://www.jd.com explained that JD.com has the largest revenue within China online and offline. Alice worked for 8 years in China, working closely with DIT. At JD.com 90% of deliveries happen the next or same day and are hosted at their 6 warehouses. In the last 3 years, they have seen a fashion growth as the fastest growing platform. Mulberry launching this week and they have partnered with Farfetch. Currently they are sponsoring the Vogue Fashion Fund and taking new designers out for Shanghai Fashion Week. Alice reiterated that it is essential that brands are China-ready: meaning that they understand the complexities of the market and the potential challenges to doing business in China, which she said has a totally different eco-system to the UK, which with ecommerce as well, adds another layer to the complexities, which is where the work of CBBC, DIT and the BFC can support with guiding brands. JD.com also have a CCTV Project Runway style show filming in Shanghai and are managing various schemes to support young designers and graduates in China.
8/11 Paul Tyce, UK Country Head, VIP.com said ‘there is a real appetite for Brand Britain in China.’ Vip.com is 10 years old and one of the largest apparel companies, with a team which has deep UK knowledge, expert in promoting brands for ecommerce, which Paul said has been built on authenticity and trust. Working as a purely B to C business, they re able to guarantee product and have a large repeat business base. Their work with the BFC has allowed them to promote the BFC’s initiative, New Gen onto the catwalk and offer a two-way education, which Paul views as relationship building for Chinese/UK fashion business.
9/11 Martyn Roberts, Managing and Creative Director of Graduate Fashion Week and Fashion Scout, spoke of how the biased towards seeing Chinese fashion purely through the lens of manufacturing has now gone. The huge growth in the Chinese middle classes has seen the high rankings of discerning families who want the best education for their children. There are he warned, certain feeder colleges which have exclusivities for certain key colleges, which Martyn warned could disadvantage certain colleges, for example Nottingham Trent, where in reality the knitwear course for example, is exemplary but not on the radar in the way that say CSM is for Chinese applicants. Martyn is keen to see how we work from a more collaborative viewpoint, with student exchanges across a now increasingly level playing field. When asked by Dr Cameron MP how we might do this, Martyn replied: ‘By losing the arrogance and working on cross-trade, looking at integrating students and a two-way visa.’ Graduate Fashion Week works with 8 Chinese schools participating.
10/11 AOB, A roundtable discussion on cultural and business exchange opportunities. Catherine West MP asked on workers’ rights and wage regulations, which Jack Porteous replied to by sharing the information regarding the Chinese flagship policy of Made in China 2025, from unique to mass-market support and integrated policy. Karen Binns, fashion consultant for Chinese teams to learn our skills set in luxury brands, while the UK could enhance their tailoring skills sets. Huishan agreed and said there is an opportunity for luxury training for the Chinese manufacturing market, but that design is also about business skills, all of which he has had to learn to grow his brand. Sally Britton from Mishcon De Reya, raised the need to trademark a UK brand as their first registration trademark within China and the need for links with Chinese based law firms, as trolls register UK designer names and the cost to buy those back is huge. Graham at Albaba, said they have a checklist of questions around this and IP on their website. Marko Matysik from Vogue China, asked for more coherence on sustainable fashion policy from China as a global fashion consumer.
11/11 Date of next meeting, Wednesday 5/16/2018, 2 – 3pm, Committee Room 8, Houses of Parliament.