Early Professional Life – Fast Fashion

Table of contents

Who am I?

My name is Chan Joi Yan Joanna. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Although I come from a Chinese background, my parents educated my brother and I in a westernized way. We rarely follow Chinese traditions like other traditional Chinese families. My parents have very different viewpoints because both of them grew up and were educated in foreign countries.

From a young age, I learnt classical musical instruments such as the flute, piano, french horn, ballet and different forms of western painting. My parents treated my brother and I in very different ways. My elder brother was very introverted and was encouraged to be an archetypal sportsman while my parents encouraged me to follow a more of an artistic path. My secondary school, Heep Yunn School served as a hospital for Japanese soldiers during the second world war (skylinesofourcity.com, n.d.). The school is committed to carry out preservation

of its Chinese historical construction and cultures. The school uniform is also a traditional Chinese blue qipao. At first, I resisted the traditional Chinese school cultures and the blue qipao uniform. However, over time I developed my own interest and discovered the beauty of Chinese culture which I was never taught growing up. I shared my new love for the Chinese culture and tried to bridge the gap between my westernized family back to where they originated from.

Early Professional Life

From an early age, I was taught and encouraged to be an artistic person, developing my own sense of taste. My love for fashion began when I was 10 years old. Growing up as part of Generation Z, I witnessed H&M launch its first store in Hong Kong in 2007. As a loyal customers who shopped impulsively for vast amounts of fashionable clothes at affordable prices, I started to pay more attention to the latest fashion trends. I took interest in fashion illustrations, designing and developing my own unique clothing styles. In February 2009, I bought my first issue of Vogue Magazine. This was my first glimpse into the high fashion industry, which has influenced me in seeing a marketing gap in Hong Kong, selling apparels in a different way, while managing a brand.

In 2017, I registered at Raffles International College Hong Kong while applying for part-time roles in numerous fashion brands. Although it was hard to find the right balance between being a student and employee, I still managed to maintain my career working for brands such as Topshop, Tiffany & Co., Coach and Valentino. I extended my social network in the fashion industry. Furthermore, I was able to develop and refine an in-depth knowledge concerning how to manage a brand beyond the somewhat superficiality of glamorous campaigns. Indeed, I discovered that the business models are very different between fast fashion and high-end luxury brands.

During the period of time working as a sales associate in Topshop, it was crucial to help the visual merchandisers to update the dummies everyday to showcase outfits related to the latest fashion trends. In addition, little customer service needed to be provided since customers shop independently in a fast fashion store due to the low prices, and therefore low consideration. However, when it came to high-end luxury brands, such as jewellery brand Tiffany & Co. and Italian luxury fashion brand Valentino, I worked as a sales assistant to help maintain the visual merchandise standards which would not be updated very frequently, provide professional customer services and to create an ideal shopping environment for loyal customers. These actions are in contrast to the roles and responsibilities of workers in fast fashion. In high fashion, not only is stimulating the buying intention of customers imperative, but also generating great business from specific circumstances of product details to internal structures.

Following the above working experiences, I was honoured to secure an internship at one of the best international clothing companies in the world, the PVH Corp. I worked with the product development team for the brand Tommy Jeans. This internship allowed me to gain practical experience on negotiating with manufacturers and product design procedures in real-life setting. Overall, the vast pool of knowledge developed from all these working experiences has significantly helped my academic study in fashion marketing and deepened my interest immeasurably. Therefore, I would like to apply what I have learnt to develop my designer brand SHI professionally which aims to be the bridge linking Hong Kong people who are fully immersed in foreign cultures, to reconnect with where they originated from.

Core Values

Growing up in Hong Kong, has allowed me to see that there are a lot of Hong Kong citizens who have already forgotten who they really are. With the fact that Hong Kong was originally a village in the southern part of China, throughout the years and the constant encroachment of foreign cultures, Hong Kong is no longer a place containing true Chinese culture. The city has lost its own identity as it has been diluted by many foreign cultures.

The vital factors for the survival of a city should include both international communication and, most importantly, preserve what they originally have. Apparently, Hong Kong has gradually forgotten its true identity by focusing too much on raising its international prestige, as do their citizens. Coming from a westernized Chinese family, I believe I am able to influence these Hong Kong citizens to recognize their sense of belongings of being a traditional Chinese. The message of SHI is to remind the crowds of the golden era of past Hong Kong that they should want to long for this era, the old ways and culture should be persevered. By applying elements, fabrics and details of past Hong Kong aesthetics on to modern designs, I would like to speak up for Hong Kong by using fashion as a tool. Therefore, with my love and passion, SHI is the representative of myself, appealing the citizens to this situation.

My Vision and Mission

My vision is to create a designer brand of women’s wear apparel that reflects the past of Hong Kong, bringing light to a faded collection of memories and identifying a society. The aim is to influence people to reflect on their origins. In order to maintain the idea of sustainability, SHI will endeavour to support environmental protection in its choices of raw material, manufacturing processes and sales procedures. My mission is “to become a fashion designer who can raise people’s awareness of their beliefs, self identities and environmental protection through my designs, advocating the idea of being a unique woman.”

My Personality and Brand’s Personality

As a designer, my inspiration came from the current situation in Hong Kong. Being an adventurous person who is not afraid to express my own opinions and vision, despite it being distinct from the masses; I like to explore new values without hesitation. It is my true feelings of many Hong Kong citizens have lost their identity, therefore, that is my resolute ambition to show them their true identities. Being a person who passionately loves animals and the environment, I would strongly avoid the situation of prioritising convenience over ecological well-being.

“The brand SHI, ’S’ for ‘She’; ‘H’ for ‘History’ and ‘I’ for ‘Identity’”

SHI is the first Hong Kong fashion brand which truly prioritizes environmental protection and expression of opinion. With the unique aesthetics of the brand, it is merging old with new. Therefore, it is not hard to recognize vintage details as well as avant-garde design. Without hesitating in expressing my own opinions, the brand is creating unexpected designs along with market-friendly aspects. The inspiration and aesthetics come from a strong sense of masculinity merged with femininity. Naming quality and functionality, every product can be tested over a duration of time. It will continue to embrace the future while identifying who Hong Kong citizens truly are, exploring new ideas to reflect societal issues along with inspiring people. My Target Market and Customers

The goal of my fashion brand SHI is to help customers evoke pictures, flashbacks and recognise true self-identity by recalling the elements they missed from the past Hong Kong. The women’s wear brand carries out a collection of romantic, vintage, yet modern silhouettes which are full of Chinese aesthetics, that can be stood out for talking-point outfits, calling up the golden era of Hong Kong. Target customers have their memories built during the British Hong Kong era, their age is around 25 to 40 years old. Research shows that explicit memories are begun to form from two- year-olds, which means a period or place can be recalled directly (Scheinbaum, 2017). Since the era was ended in the year 1997, they own three to eighteen years of explicit memories. SHI target customers are Asians who were born in China, Hong Kong or from the other parts of Asia. Raising awareness from target customers who understand the disappointment of the fact that Hong Kong has lost its identity, is always the desire of SHI. They have already had previous knowledge of Hong Kong’s history, are inspired or simply felt interested in the aesthetics of the brand. Chinese customers have strong financial power comparing to customers from other parts of the world in shopping for luxury products. They are more open-minded in accepting new fashion labels. They are from first tier Chinese cities including Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai.

Primary customer of SHI is the business women, who are in their thirties. They have a strong financial power because they have been working for a long period of time. A unique sense of style which is feminine, contemporary, chic, modern and vintage-tinged is developed. With monthly income around £2,000 or more, they would love to spend quite a large sum of money of around £500 or above, on a singular piece of fashion item that they perceived as worthy. They are into a calm and minimalistic colour tone of outfits, such as greys, blacks and browns. They love details on an outfit and commercial designs in avant-garde style. Furthermore, their job categories could be freelancers in the fashion and art industry, office ladies or entrepreneurs, hoteliers, fashion buyers, artists, designers, models or photographers.

It is crucial for business women to show up in meetings and events since they have been working seven years or more. Despite the fact that they have a limited time to spend on planning complicated outfits, wearing the feature piece on top of simple outfit is an option for them to look striking as talking points to impress others. For their daily shopping behaviours, second-hand stores and shops selling vintage luxury goods are their favourite shopping spots. They understand the charm of vintage antiqueness, appreciate the ideas of sustainability in fashion They, therefore,would love to show their supports by mix and  match their outfits with used fashion items. With their interest in exploring special fashion items and tight schedules, they usually do online shopping. Online and social media platforms, such as Instagram, WeChat, Vestiaire Collective and Farfetch, are popular among them. Shopping in luxurious large shopping malls is their second choice. Secondary customer of SHI is the Chinese ‘Tai Tai’. In their daily life, it is unnecessary to work.

Their main interest is to look beautiful and stylish. Marrying to affluent powerful husbands or inheritances allow them to get a huge amount of income. Their hobbies are showing up in cocktail parties, traveling around the world and hanging out with other socialites and wealthily-married wives. On a daily basis, they love showing off their unique fashion sense, social status and wealth on social media. With the plentiful of wealth and time, they shop whenever and wherever they want, mainly on luxury fashion e-commerces, including mytheresa.com, Matchesfashion and Net-a-Porter, and high-end shopping malls.

http://mytheresa.com/

Regarding the psychographics of both primary and secondary customers show interest on discovering self-identities, they also supports the idea of environmental protection and would love to show practical actions. However, their aim on gaining appreciation and recognition from peers is the main reason of spending such a large sum of money on clothes. They see the importance of standing out from the crowds, looking imposingly different at the same time. They do not care about the high price of goods they perceived as worthy. Therefore, outstanding quality, innovative design of goods, high reputation of brand are their focal points. The way of how the silhouette itself reveals their beauty is also important. Despite the fact that customers are naturally more inclined to purchase during promotions or discounts, the desire of SHI customers to purchase would not be affected so much by discounts. It is totally relied on how much they like the product itself.

Final Conclusion and Reflection

SHI is the first women’s wear designer label founded based on my own sense of style, opinions and personality. It is a representative of myself, a tool to express my disappointment and an alert to raise public awareness for the sake of Hong Kong’s future. Not only am I creating apparel, but I am also building an influential brand to make a positive impact on both the fashion industry and society as a whole. The most important aspect of my brand is the message behind the products. I hope an affinity can be built between the brand and every customer who loves SHI’s products, to create togetherness and build a stronger Hong Kong community. With the passage of time, I believe that the brand can make great improvements on both product design and marketing strategy, broadening the customer base.

Reference

  1. Skylinesofourcity.com. (n.d.). 協恩中學主樓 Heep Yunn School, Main Building | Skylines of Our City 我城側影. [online] Available at: http://skylinesofourcity.com/heep-yunn-school-mainbuilding/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020].
  2. Scheinbaum, C. (2017). Your Preschooler Actually Will Remember Their First Vacation, Just Not How You Think. [online] Fatherly. Available at: https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/ when-do-memories-start-what-do-kids-remember/ [Accessed 31 Oct. 2019].

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