In cities, clothes maketh the man

By Yu Tianyu (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-01-06 07:53
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In cities, clothes maketh the man

BEIJING - Cosmetics are not the only luxury goods attracting increasing numbers of Chinese men.

More than 76 percent of urban males bought clothes in 2010, with 24 percent regarding clothes as "important purchases", according to Chinese market researchers CTR.

A report by global consultants Frost & Sullivan also predicts menswear sales will hit 539.9 billion yuan ($81.7 million) by 2013, with an annual growth of 15.8 percent.

Gu Yuanjie, 31, spends more than half of his 10,000-yuan monthly salary on clothes. "I prefer sports apparel and upper-casual ranges, which make me look younger and full of vigor but I wear up-market suits that cost tens of thousands of yuan during my working time," said the marketing manager for an international automobile firm in Shanghai.

Li Ning Co Ltd, one of the country's leading sports goods manufacturers, launched its Urban Sports line last June. The range, which is aimed at young professionals, includes styles that can be worn at work and during exercise.

Tian Xun, an editor at Esquire China magazine, explained quality, materials and design are at the top of Chinese men's check list when buying new clothes.

China's luxury apparel market is also predominately male-driven, with big-names like Ermenegildo Zegna, Gieves and Hawkes, Dunhill and Hugo Boss all enjoying tremendous success, according to a report by the Li and Fung Research Center in Hong Kong.

Italian brand Ermenegildo Zegna expected 2010 sales to grow by 30 percent in China, which is one of its biggest markets and represents roughly 25 percent of global sales.

Luee Sun, a London-based fashion buyer for Chinese department stores, said many urban Chinese men often buy an individual item from big brands to match with cheaper clothes.

A spokesman for Inditex Group, the Spanish retailer that owns the popular mid-market Zara brand, also said the Chinese market is essential.

Companies producing luxury fashion accessories are also seeing high demand across China.

David Bruce Warfel, global marketing director for Zippo, the lighter manufacturers, said: "Fashion enables people to create their own individual style in China, and a key characteristic of Zippo is the wide variety of designs that suit all styles."

Warfel added that Zippo is now planning to expand its product range in China.

China Daily