In the first part of a Special Briefing on Fashion Media Game Changers, AMS FTV speaks to Angelica Cheung about how she built Vogue China in the shape of a large and fast-modernising country.
BEIJING, China — When Angelica Cheung first became editor-in-chief of Vogue China in 2005, more than 100 issues ago, the Chinese luxury market was just beginning to flex its muscle. A taste for luxury and fashion was starting to gather steam and real awareness of major international luxury brands was still largely limited to those Chinese who had studied or worked abroad.
But soon, the market caught fire, growing at astonishing double-digit percentage rates for several years. At launch, Vogue China stepped into a media landscape already crowded with fashion magazines. But since then, it has taken a leadership role in educating and informing consumers and expanding demand for luxury goods through close collaborations with international brands clamouring for the attention of an ascendant Chinese luxury consumer.
“China is big. We need to do a magazine that would reflect this big market, its significance in the world, and win the kind of respect that it deserves.”
Today, growth in the Chinese luxury market has slowed significantly, impacted by decelerating economic growth, a government anti-corruption drive and shoppers choosing to buy their luxury goods abroad. Sales growth of luxury goods in China dropped from 7 percent in 2012 to 2 percent in 2013, according to Bain & Company, but the Chinese remain the largest consumers of luxury goods worldwide, making up 29 percent of the global market and representing about $80 billion in annual sales.
This is all a far cry from the China of 50 years ago, when the Cultural revolution had taken hold and a young Angelica Cheung observed the rise of conformity and group think. But today, as Chinese consumers have developed a taste for luxury goods, they are also increasingly seeking to express their individuality.
AmsFTV sat down with Ms Cheung to look through her lens at the dramatic shifts that have radically reshaped China’s socio-economic reality and how she carved out a unique voice and important role for Vogue China in the development of the Chinese luxury market.