Everyone is taking about the rise of multibrand boutiques in China, what with recent high profile openings including Lane Crawford in Shanghai and Galeries Lafayette in Beijing. What we’ve found more exciting however, is the rise of independent fashion boutiques which offer emerging brands a multi-channel platform to access China’s fashion-loving consumer.
Xinlelu.com is one of our recent discoveries. Named after the popular shopping lane in Shanghai’s Xiantiandi district, Xinlelu.com boasts a physical and online boutique, as well as a showroom. It was founded by Kunming-born Jillian Xin who grew up in England before returning to Shanghai in 2010. The former management consultant saw a gap in the online market for chic, edgy and affordable fashion so decided to set up Xinlelu.com in 2012, followed by a showroom and then a physical store this summer.
Arizona Kimono Sweater by Bubble-mood (left) and Wool Boyfriend Coat by Lorena K (right)
Rather than focus on Chinese brands, Xinlelu.com features independent designers from Asia and beyond. Jillian says she wanted to create a store that was about “discovery and artisanal craftsmanship,” so there’s no fast fashion or mass produced items here. The brands are chosen because they embody an original design, craft and/or concept.
Highlights include HK favourite Tangram and Singaporean brand Aijek which features easy-to-wear feminine pieces that have a retro vibe (the bird print top looked like it could have come from London’s Portobello Road). Australian brand Talulah’s draped dresses meanwhile can go from day to night easily. Another favourite is Mes Dames from Sweden which mixes an edgy Nordic look with Parisian femininity.
Lovebirds Necklace by Alex Monroe (left) and Pentip Bustier Dress (right)
In an effort to reignite the local shopping scene, Xinlelu.com also has a shopping guide online listing the best independent boutiques in Beijing and Shanghai as well as a fun blog that keeps readers up to date with creative events in the community.
By Clea Chen