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23 Oct

Best Fashion Boutiques in China

A burgeoning multibrand fashion retail scene has not only made shopping in China a more entertaining affair but has carved out an area for local creatives who’ve made it a form of private expression.

Seven shops in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shenzhen have made their marks on the local retail scene, while the masterminds behind them each present a singular viewpoint.

1. Common Place, Beijing

Common Place

Founded by Chinese artists Ji Zhang and Cheng Huang, Common Place was launched in 2016 after the duo graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Utilizing a former factory constructing owned by Zhang’s father, Common Place includes a menswear store, an art gallery and is partially utilized as Zhang’s personal art studio. Positioned outside the urban core of Beijing, the shop has created a reputation for itself throughout the city’s artist community.

Common Place

“A few of my collector friends and friends from college shop here,” Zhang says. “Brands we sell don’t need that much exposure. I prefer to sell fashion the way in which galleries sell artworks. I just care about having the suitable people seeing the pieces.”

Lately, Common Place has regularly grown to incorporate womenswear because “it made more sense business-wise.” The shop has been an early champion of local heroes corresponding to Windowsen and Rui.

Unless Zhang desires to stop working with a brand, items never go on sale at Common Place, and there’s ample real estate in the just about 54,000-square-foot store to double as an archival cupboard space for designers corresponding to Walter Van Beirendonck, Boris Bidjan Saberi and Marc Le Bihan, because the shop continues to take risks.

“We at all times preferred the lesser-known brands that appear to be nobody will ever buy,” Zhang says. “But when the style is sweet, we just keep working with them.” Having his dad as a generous landlord means Zhang and his partner “can afford to take a more zen approach to retail.”

2. Anchoret, Beijing


Launched in 2012 as a small courtyard shop in Beijing’s hutong, or residential alleyways, Anchoret relocated to Taikoo Li Sanlitun in 2017, taking on a quiet corner of the favored retail complex.

“We would like to create an area cut off from the hustle and bustle of city life,” says Nicky Chau, one half of the husband-and-wife duo behind Anchoret. “Identical to the name of the shop, which suggests a recluse,” Chau’s husband Onkit Wong chimes in.

Originally from Hong Kong, Chau and Wong are drawn to Beijing for its “weirdness.”


“Beijing is rather a lot like Berlin — it looks beaten up, however it’s the town where most artists come to live and create,” Chau says. Local creatives, corresponding to architects, filmmakers, musicians and even celebrities, are Anchoret’s target market, preferring brands corresponding to Ziggy Chen, John Alexander Skelton, Peter Do, Hed Mayner and Paul Harnden Shoemakers. “Our customers search for a way of depth and rarity,” says Chau.

Anchoret will soon open a second shop five minutes’ walk away from its Taikoo Li store. “It’s so near our shopping center store because there’s not much street shop culture in Beijing,” Chau explains. The brand new store will showcase a more unisex brand mix and aim to offer a more intimate setting for its shoppers. “It won’t feel such as you’re in the midst of Sanlitun the minute you walk into our store,” Chau guarantees.

3. Machine-A, Shanghai


The legendary British fashion retailer‘s first China store landed in Shanghai greater than a month ago. Positioned in an up-and-coming retail complex in downtown Shanghai, the shop seems like home to those acquainted with the Machine-A format, which reflects its founder Stavros Karelis’ daring buying and merchandising attitude.

For the launch of the shop, Machine-A featured Recent York-based Chinese designer Bad Binch Tongtong‘s design in its window display, whose bouncy hula hoop skirts had been making waves on social media. A Raf Simons shop-in-shop designed by Glenn Sestig, an in depth collaborator of the Prada co-creative director, also takes up a distinguished section of the shop.


“Some brands may look different as compared to after they’re shown in other shops, perhaps slightly more conceptual,” says Giovanni Pungetti, managing director of Asia at Tomorrow Group, who’s leading the Machine-A neighborhood operation from Shanghai. “We attempt to create our fashion language indirectly, to create a community that goes beyond the social demographic profile.

“Engagement is the word Stavros is at all times using,” Pungetti adds. “Engagement by way of cultural attitudes and behavior. We predict in English, but we speak Chinese.”

4. LMDS, Shanghai


LMDS, short for Le Monde de SHC, launched 4 years ago as a small designer boutique in a quiet a part of downtown Shanghai.

Stocked with fashion, lifestyle items, books and magazines, the shop became a curated space that reflected the founder Eric Young‘s personal taste and lifestyle obsessions. The shop was somewhat of a duplicate of his home, reflecting East meets West aesthetics.

By staying faithful to his world view, Young, a veteran GQ editor and boutique PR agency executive, has built a complicated “fashion playground” for the fashionable affluents in the town. The shop has since expanded to 3 floors of the constructing and a café.

“LMDS welcomes all types of fashion lovers. Because our shop is at an unconventional retail location, guests must seek us out, but that’s a very good filter to have,” Young says. “Lots of our customers are fashion industry insiders or VIC customers at luxury brands. They are available hopes of finding designer pieces which can be different, tasteful and of fine quality.”


LMDS will carry on expanding its scope of brands and format to keep up relevancy within the increasingly competitive Shanghai multibrand boutique market. Recent brands this season include 16Arlington and Seekings. A Dries Van Noten trunk show can also be within the works. “I at all times concentrate to the general feel of a recent brand. The concept, design, product and stability are all critical aspects. I still feel like a freshman within the retail space, having to face many challenges at times, but it will not deter us from bringing something recent to our customers every season. “

5. Hug, Chengdu


Identical to its name, walking into Hug seems like a soft embrace, a quiet expression of feminine energy. Positioned in a shopping center in downtown Chengdu, Hug is a light-filled ground floor shop that highlights concrete materials, curved points and warm colours, portraying a contemporary yet natural aesthetic. “The world is stuffed with ‘hype’ and superficial small talk. The existence of Hug is to present sincere, healthful and pure design to the world,” says Vicky Yu, who founded Hug six years ago in Chengdu.

Hug has since expanded to 2 stores in Chengdu, the second of which is situated throughout the same shopping center. One shop has recently been renovated right into a Jil Sander pop-up store, a second for the OTB-owned brand in China, after one hosted by LMDS this spring.


Hug also expanded outside of Chengdu to a store in Aranya and a pop-up shop in Shenzhen. It’s also in command of Uma Wang‘s first Chengdu store, which opened last March.

This season, Hug expanded its feminine viewpoint to incorporate more playful brands, corresponding to Jacquemus, Kiko Kostadinov‘s womenswear line, Sunnei and Toga. The recently renovated flagship store also features an unexpected fun factor: a small manicure shop is tucked in a small corner of the second floor. The juxtaposition of high fashion and nail art is quintessentially Chengdu: a city known for its relaxed and laid-back lifestyle.

6. B1ock, Hangzhou


Launched by the Hangzhou-based fashion company JNBY Group, B1ock takes up a 10-story constructing throughout the company’s 17-building headquarters complex OoEli, designed by Renzo Piano.

Positioned as the primary buyer department store focused on “contemporary art and lifestyle aesthetics in China,” B1ock tapped artist Theaster Gates to create artworks that add a touch of “unexpected space art” to the 64,000-square-foot store.

So as to add a way of surprise and discovery, merchandising at B1ock is updated every 15 days, while floor layouts are modified monthly.

A floor dedicated to Japanese home furnishing and lifestyle brand D&Department, an art gallery, a B1ock Lab that lets customers play with 3D printers and cutting machines, and a terrace café take up floors six to nine.

“We would like to offer the younger generation of creatives a real retail experience. Even in the event that they go away not buying a thing, they’ll still leave feeling content,” says B1ock cofounder Alessio Liu.

To cater to the taste of the local audience, the shop features popular designer brands corresponding to Maison Margiela, Marni, Thom Browne, Marc Le Bihan, Guidi, Rick Owens and Walter Van Beirendonck. A number of Chinese designers are also prominently featured in the shop, but businesswise, they’re sold on a concession basis.

Hidden within the basement of the constructing, which Gates named “Home Pleasure,” are curiosities small and large corresponding to Japanese “washi” papers and JNBY deadstock fabrics. Liu says these things have change into popular amongst local creatives and art students studying at the celebrated China Academy of Art in downtown Hangzhou.

Walter Van Beirendonck pop-up at B1ock.

7. Banmen, Shenzhen


Launched by Shenzhen streetwear brand Roaringwild‘s founder Yang Cao in 2019, Banmen is one in every of the rare menswear-focused designer shops in China’s tech hub.

The shop goals to explore Cao’s interest in urban fashion outside the streetwear brand that he created 12 years ago. “We intentionally pick less fashion-forward brands and types with an urban bent,” Cao explains. “The Shenzhen menswear market continues to be small. It probably makes up only 10 percent of the town’s multibrand retail market, so overall awareness continues to be low. But we’re not in a rush to grow.”

For Cao, taking time to grow means trying to find brands that fit the Banmen viewpoint at a mass market-friendly price point. “We would like to seek out brands that our male audience base can easily understand. That’s more vital than finding recent brands,” observes Cao. The brand mix includes Attempt, Corner Stone, Feng Chen Wang, And Wander and A-Cold-Wall.

Cao admits that the Canadian menswear retailer Haven has inspired Banmen to take a more editorial approach to its curation strategy. “Apart from providing an area that holds clothes, we desired to create more visual content to replenish our customer’s headspace,” Cao says.

To assist the local audience higher understand the Banmen story, Cao creates stylized look books with Roaringwild’s in-house production team featuring Banmen brands each season.

Banmen editorial content

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