Commenting on his company’s decision to target Chinese markets, designer Karl Lagerfeld said, The future of the world is more around here than in dusty old Europe.” Chanel wasn’t alone in this- for the last few years, China’s new hunger for designer apparel has pushed the state to the top of the agenda for luxury goods companies. However, South East Asia is snapping at its heels, and the region is expected to be the see the fastest growth in luxury sales in the world this year, and designers are starting to pay attention.
Total growth in South East Asian luxury goods sales this year is thought to be about 20% compared to Greater China’s comparatively paltry 6%- attributable to a serious government crackdown on the corruption which funded many extravagant lifestyles in China.
In fact, so impressive is the South Asian luxury boom, Karl Lagerfeld has opted to hold his next show in Singapore- a country which boasts more millionaire households per capita than anywhere else in the world. Singapore’s new wave of elites is highly educated, global thinking, and hungry for the prestige conferred by European heritage brands.
It was no coincidence that this May more fashion designers attended local catwalk shows than ever before. Speaking about his own brand’s activitie,s Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel’s President of Fashion, commented,”We see a double-digit development here in the region, that’s why we’ve decided to organise this major event, our first event of this level in South East Asia.”
When leather accessories designer Carolina Herrera launched a line of bespoke orchid-embroidered handbags in Singapore, the £2,000 creations almost totally sold out in one day. She noted that Asia was strategically important to her label, statements echoed by Anta Hindmarch, who sees Singapore as a gateway to burgeoning markets such as Malaysia and Indonesia.