China’s streetwear market taps US trends

US skate culture has played an important role in the development of China’s streetwear market, according to a leading manufacturer.

Man Leung, owner of Eleven After Eleven, told Sportswear International how the brands that are finding success in the local market “have equity in the States and that is very powerful to the Chinese consumer”.

As the head of a business that makes and distributes some of those brands, he’s not an impartial observer, but he can read the trends and the streetwear market has been performing well for the past few years.

“Social media educates the youth shopper in China so they are very in tune to emerging trends and cultures,” he explained. “We truly believe the market will continue to strengthen as a result.”

Leung likened the current trajectory of the market to that first seen years ago in the US, where “kids find brands and tap into the community they create. There is a sense of discovery and ownership and that resonates the most.”

And that’s an ongoing process as local teenagers explore newer brands and styles, “so the region has a long way to go – we’re a little behind yet”.

Eventually, he anticipates the streetwear/skate fashion market moving beyond niche groups and into the mass market, a process that is already under way.

Geographically, the coastal cities have always been the focus for streetwear/skate fashion, he observed, “[but] we’re really noticing second tier cities catching up, such as Chengdu, which is right behind Shanghai when it comes to streetwear popularity.”

Despite the current trade stand-off between the US and China, new research shows that the great majority of global marketing leaders continue to see China as very important or critical to their future growth.

A Trade Desk survey found that two thirds of 300 surveyed expected China to account for more than a quarter of their revenue within five years.

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