Fashion

Icicle on how to market an attractive 'New Made in China'


Paris – Isabelle
Capron is a graduate of HEC and she has worked in the fashion industry as
marketing director at Lanvin and then general manager at Fauchon. Capron
was recruited in 2013 by Shouzeng Ye and Shawna Tao, founders of the
Chinese fashion brand Icicle, to help them develop the brand’s
international identity and run the Parisian design centre. Last September,
Icicle opened its first luxury flagship store in Paris and is preparing to
open a second store later this year.

What are the personal and professional challenges of working for
Icicle?

Capron: “China is still identified as the world’s first major textile
factory and hub of fast fashion. Between fast fashion and statutory luxury,
Icicle is exploring a new path for fashion.”

”The brands philosophy ‘Made in Earth’ was inherited from the Taoist
culture striving for harmony between man and nature and aims to create
contemporary fashion that is both beautiful and ethical. It’s very
stimulating because the founders are pioneers of this ‘slow fashion’ and
paradoxically ahead of the West.”

“The challenge is therefore to highlight an attractive ‘New Made in
China’, which rhymes with quality, refinement and eco-friendliness.”

“On a more personal note, for the past seven years I have been
witnessing a lot of changes that have taken place in and around China,
whose transformation has made it the leading country of the 21st century. I
feel at the forefront of digital and societal changes as much as I am
learning new business methods inherited from Chinese culture: speed and
long time, circular thinking, search for harmony, combinations of
opposites…”

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Icicle on how to market an attractive 'New Made in China'

On what values is Icicle, a responsible Chinese brand, based?

“Icicle was founded in Shanghai in 1997 in a China in the midst of
economic awakening and rising urbanization. The intent of the founding
couple was to merge the clothing needs of a more urban and affluent
population with the rapid development of the middle class, and, because
they were aware of the pollution in their country, to create a fashion that
was imbued with values and respect for the environment. They are truly
pioneers of natural and sustainable fashion.”

“Only natural materials are used for the collections: cashmere, wool,
silk, cotton and linen. Raw colors or dyed with vegetable pigments (onion,
walnut bark, isatis flower, Pu-erh tea …), packaging in sugar cane pulp
and natural materials in the shops.”

“Icicle controls its production and brings a particular requirement to
the selection of its suppliers: textile manufacturers with irreproachable
ethics, development of new Eco+ technologies… and makes sure that its
factories preserve natural resources (water and energy), limit their impact
on the environment while maintaining a high level of quality throughout the
value chain.”

How is the brand perceived by French consumers?

“In the eyes of the French, Icicle embodies a very fashionable
movement, that of ‘New China’, a very innovative wave of fashion brands
that draw on 5,000 years of textile history and export not only
international fashion, but also their oriental values. It’s a form of
natural luxury in how it does things and its style, a new, more reasonable
and reasoned luxury.”

“If the brand has been visionary with sustainable development, it
perfectly matches its time: the harmony between man and nature, which is
the DNA of the brand, appeals to a mainly French clientele since the
opening of our first international address at 35 avenue George V. This is a
great compliment because the French are very demanding in terms of quality
and style.”

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After a few months of opening Icicle’s first flagship, what first
assessment can you make?

“We can say that after barely five months of ‘soft opening’, Icicle has
gained the loyalty of a predominantly French clientele and has also
successfully conquered a male, demanding and quality clientele.’

“The official opening is scheduled for the end of February, during
fashion-week, and we will be able to draw up the first results in September
2020.”

Icicle recently announced the opening of a second unit in Paris in the
year 2020..

“Yes, we are planning to open a second address at the end of 2020 in
the Faubourg Saint-Honoré district, we cannot give more details at the
moment but we will share them when we can.”



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