China = Change

Harbin Fashion Week 2012

Harbin, China -- The third largest city in China just got more
fashionable and is gearing up for the long haul to fashionista-ism.
With 10Million potential customers, the development complex, HONGBO,
which was an old factory converted into a huge shopping complex mall,
plus event halls. This is the second Harbin Fashion Week and I was
invited by the Chinese government to come along with the usual
suspects from Beijing! It was my first trip to Harbin--and it was as
cold as you can imagine being so close to Russia.

I stayed longer than the other guests. I really enjoyed the conference
the next day. It was not only the right place to meet all the top
level people, but also very exciting to hear what the plans for this
place was, listen to many experts, and have the privilege to be one of
the only foreigners. The only other foreigner was the Italian
Commissioner from Beijing.

My estimate is that this could be a great entry point for fashion
brands who specialize in winter coats, winter wear, and anything WARM
that has a Russian appeal. I cant tell you how many high heeled
Russian spangle boots and fur vests I saw being worn. There is a heavy
Russian influence in style in Harbin--clearly. Fur, fur,
fur...everyone had a fur coat who was female. I think that the Harbin
Fashion Week could attract a lot of Russian buyers for sure as Harbin
has a long history of Russian-Chinese trade.

The owner of the HONGBO complex is a mastermind in commercial
business, and she spelled out clearly her vision on how they are going
to develop Harbin into the third largest fashion city, how they are
going to attract the brands, how they are going to entice the
potential customers, how they are going to develop young talent. Very
impressive and totally backed by the Chinese government in every

They also launched the HAH organization: a cooperation between HONGBO
Development complex, the women's association, and fashion designers.
The HAH organization will support women designers to develop their
businesses. Really impressive the women in Harbin--I met several super
women who were wealthy, powerful, feminine, and successful.

On my way back to Beijing, I was struck by this woman in the 1st class
who was so beautiful--I actually ran up to her and gave her a
compliment and she returned the compliment. She even gave me a ride
home in her car because she was on the way to close a big deal and had
some extra time. It was so nice to talk to her--of course using my
translator. She invited me to come back to Harbin to see the Ice
Festival in January. I may just go back there since I'll be in great
company of fantastic women!