Many people are unfamiliar with the idea of the Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and most importantly South Korea). The reason these nations are referred to as tigers is simply because they have had an unprecedented amount of industrial growth in the past couple of decades. Now you may be thinking, what does industrial growth have to do with fashion and brands? In one word, everything. With the mass industrialization, there has been an influx of upper and middle class individuals, all of which were willing to dole out their new found money. These new money millionaires were looking for ways to show off their wealth and fashion.
Designer brands such as Ralph Lauren and Givenchy are opening shops all around Shanghai and Hong Kong and many other brands are branching out to locations such as Seoul, South Korea. These big fashion brands are bringing in a ton of profit, but they face really strong competition from local brands. In nations similar to the Asian Tigers, the local brands are producing high quality items at a fraction of the price other designer brands are selling. And the consumers and celebrities are noticing.
When Ryan Gosling was asked about the designer suits he wore in the movie “Only God Forgives”, Ryan stated that he got them tailor made with quality wools for a lot less.
In addition to high end brands trying to take a share of the tiger market, many street wear brands have been taking claim to the Asian market. Recently, rapper Pusha T ushered in the new House of Vans store in Seoul. Following the steps of the recent launch in China, House of Vans made sure to launch the store with a bang by bringing in the likes of local bands and super stars such as G-Dragon. The store managed to create a five hour wait prior to opening.
What does this mean for the future of the Tiger Nations? It could mean many things. Along with industrialization, the Tigers are already feeling the effects of globalization. But the ideas emerging from these nations are quite unique to those cultures themselves; rather than being a product of western influences.