Suzhou has 2500 years of history. Known as the Venice of China, it is important in Chinese culture because it provided the highest quality hand made products to the Chinese Emperor. Today, the company FirstFlag protects this know-how and perpetuates this heritage. The 2016-2017 cohort of MSc Luxury & Fashion Management
students worked on a practical case with this company and its strategy.
FirstFlag has just opened its first boutique in Shanghai and the Chinese government has already invested 10 million euros to help this family business to grow. The students welcomed the brand’s director, Mr. Yi, and gave him their opinion of the clothes he manufactures - hand made in local silk, cotton and cashmere – and of a first perfume to be launched imminently.
To thank them for their involvement, Mr. Yi invited them to visit the showroom and manufacturing workshops and to the press conference organised by the main Chinese TV station with members of the government. Arriving on the factory premises was a great surprise for the students who discovered a small workshop in a historic temple. The foremen and seamstresses who knew all about the location opened their eyes to a new definition of luxury and the enormous potential of this region.
This practical case shook up their preconceived ideas about luxury and even more about what China is capable of producing. Collaboration between the students and First Flag was successful - the government has since decided to add 10 million more euros to the first 10 in aid of the export project.
The students and MSc director Ivan Coste-Manière, were also invited to continue this adventure, becoming “multicultural consultants” for the Chinese brand.
Thanks to Amélie Deman, Jennifer Do and Jeremy Moles for writing this article with the participation of Quentin Wozniak and Alexandre Duchemin (all MSc Luxury & Fashion Management 2016-17 students).