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Old Labels Find New Life in Asia

Last week Promgirl News ran an article detailing the steady and better then expected growth of British luxury label Burberry and cited an ever increasing demand for their traditional brand of luxury in new Asian markets. Today Catwalk Queen noted that Mulberry, one of Burberry’s oldest and most similar competitors, has been selected by Bloomburg News as the world’s newest top luxury retailer after experiencing a staggering 527% increase in its stock value over the last calendar year. The source of this miraculous growth: the Asian markets.

Driving by an emerging middle class in the world’s two most populace nations, China and India, the Asian markets have long been seen as the next frontier for many types of businesses, and luxury retailers are no different. However what has proven most surprising is that while food and beverage conglomerates try to adapt their products to Asian tastes, and automotive and tech manufacturers try to decipher exactly what it is their newest consumers want out of their product; the fashion industry, especially the European brands, have been welcomed with open arms. Burberry coats and Mulberry bags which are seen as very traditional and sometime a little worn out by European and American shoppers, are the hot new must have items for the fashionistas of Shanghai and Mumbai.

With new demand for a tried and true product it is no surprise that brands like Burberry and Prada have spent millions to establish retail operations throughout the Indian sub-continent and mainland China. Also after the tragic events that befell Japan earlier this year the most typically fashion forward nation in Asia has been temporarily sidelined, leaving a void that European brands are all too happy to fill. In an examination of similar trends the Financial Times pointed to the fact that other definitely European brands have enjoyed a so called “second life” in Asia, highlighting the example of Royal Enfield Motorcycles a British bike manufacturer who enjoyed great popularity in India long after it’s last UK factory was shuttered.

Regardless of whether you see this newest style trend in Asia as a boon or bane to the world of fashion it does raise some interesting questions. With so much to be gained producing “old-hat” fashion will European designers loose sight of their own future? Is this just a passing fad or a serious trend that will continue for years to come? And perhaps most importantly: Many of these brands fell out of favor with western shoppers for a reason, and therefore it stands to reason that the same will happen in the east, and once it does, what then?

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