A-Cold-Wall unveils world’s first stand-alone store in Beijing – WWD

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LONDON – A-Cold-Wall, the fashion brand founded by Samuel Ross, unveiled its first standalone store in Beijing’s affluent shopping district Taikoo Li Sanlitun on Friday as it seeks to become a direct-to-consumer brand in the region.

Ross opened the store in partnership with brand management specialist Power Rich and with Tomorrow, which acquired a minority stake in A-Cold-Wall in 2018.

Located on the first floor in the southern part of the shopping district, the store has been designed in-house with a modernist and industrial British touch. It has flexible spaces for product presentations and the organization of events involving the local community.

Ross said opening the brand’s first store at Sanlitun in Beijing was a decision “based on sensitivity”.

“I’m here to introduce the brand to the seventh year through a much more refined lens, which really speaks to the track and the luxury side of A-Cold-Wall. But it’s not just about being next door. of historic brands. I think it’s more about the eclecticism of the audience that we want to reach,” Ross said.

The space is mostly electric blue — shade covers the facades and the steel-tube decorations inside. Ross said he chose the tone specifically for the region, and it will be used in A-Cold-Wall stores in Shanghai and Shenzhen which will open in August and October respectively.

The 31-year-old designer said the blue he chose was a great way to communicate brand-related industry processes and distinguish his non-fashion creative work from A-Cold-Wall initiatives. His non-fashion work, which includes industrial, interior, furniture and sound design, falls under the Samuel Ross & Associates banner, which uses the color orange.

Ross is no stranger to China. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, he traveled to Shanghai several times for sneaker launches with Nike and to attend the streetwear and fashion show Innersect, hosted by Kaufmann Zhang.

In an interview, the London-based designer observed that the brand’s local community in China is much more forward-thinking compared to the rest of the world.

“The type of pieces that appeal to the local community are much more nuanced. [I usually don’t] need to explain the articulation and more forward-thinking elements of A-Cold-Wall. They have a keen understanding [of the offerings] in terms of wovens and knits.

“We’re pretty confident in expanding that and looking at regional exclusives, that kind of riff of a well-understood sensibility in China,” he said.

Ross said that, for now, the store’s goal is to communicate the brand’s “directional disposition.”

“Naturally, the store will come with the opportunity to [sell] more goods at the entry point. But I’m more concerned with the exit point and more with the avant-garde, the trail and the artistic and philosophical arm of what the brand can offer there. Maybe [I’m saying this] all with my artistic head, but it kind of informs all the business decisions that we all agree to go forward,” he added.

A-Cold-Wall’s first stand-alone store in Beijing.

OUFEI

According to Ross, China already accounts for a significant percentage of the brand’s annual revenue, which tripled from 2019 to 2022, and “we’re really keen to continue to grow that market.” He declined to reveal actual earnings.

He acknowledged that the expansion into China is not a solo gig. It is an integrated project with all “trusted Chinese experts” involved.

Ross worked with Stella Song of communications agency Socialight and Scotie Li of Power Rich, who is also the former fashion line general manager at Li-Ning, to push regionally exclusive styles, activations and pops. -ups, and ultimately aims to reduce wholesale accounts to become a direct-to-consumer brand in China.

By the end of fiscal 2023, Ross said “there could be an opportunity to see more stores open in key cities across China.”

Thereafter, a steady small number of stores will open in Asia-Pacific and major cities like Seoul and Tokyo between 2024 and 2026.

“The reason we’re focusing on Asia-Pacific is because those territories were so instrumental in how I established A-Cold-Wall,” Ross said. “Think of 2015 to 2017. Those were formative years for the brand. I traveled to China, Japan and South Korea at least five times a year.

“There were a few of us doing that: Jerry Lorenzo, Virgil Abloh and Heron Preston. We all felt, understood and saw the connectedness with that audience there. So there was this organic growth model with these markets. I’m just starting to integrate stores to catch up with relationships,” he added.

A-Cold-Wall first stand-alone store in Beijing.

A-Cold-Wall’s first stand-alone store in Beijing.

OUFEI

Even though entering China is still very difficult for foreigners due to the closures, Ross is exploring ways to get a work visa so she can see her first store in person.

“Once you get there, you will see space in such a different way,” he added.

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