Since Corrine Ng, a Singaporean-based editor, launched www.shopthemag.com in April 2011 the comparisons to luxury fashion website Net-A-Porter have not faltered.
It’s easy to see why. Shop The Mag makes luxury fashion from a selection of designers accessible to online shoppers. So what’s the difference? Marie Incles for Sassy Hong Kong caught up with Corrine to find out more.
How do you feel about comparisons to Net-A-Porter?
We are thrilled to be compared to Net-A-Porter! It’s a huge compliment but we are different as we only feature premier fashion from Asia. I am so embarrassed to be compared to them, as we are so tiny. We are young, in awe and flattered.
The site is the first luxury fashion to sell luxury fashion from Asia. How are shoppers in Asia taking to the concept?
Asian shoppers are becoming a lot more receptive to shopping online but only for designers that they already know such as Chanel or D&G. The idea of buying luxury fashion on the internet in Asia is still an alien concept. They will often ask if they can come to a store to try it on because they are paying upwards of US$500 for one item. Online retail is a lot more sophisticated in the west.
Does that mean you are you targeting Asian shoppers or Western shoppers?
We target the urban and confident woman. Women who look sharp, chic and dressed up. We’ve found that half of our shoppers are from Asia and half from the West.
What is attracting Western women to the site?
I think they are tired of wearing the same brands from the US and Europe. They are looking for something different; something they can feel special wearing. The Asian influences in the design are a huge attraction too.
Samor from India
So how do the ethnical and Asia influences translate to contemporary and urban style?
The Indian influences on the clothes have been really popular with Western shoppers. For example, the fabrics can be extremely ethnic and vibrant but are used to make a maxi dress that a woman from New York or Sydney would be comfortable wearing. It’s unique. We also have a brand from Vietnam on the site called Song. The clothes are by a Vietnamese artisan and the Vietnamese influence is very obvious.
How do you decide which designers you will feature?
We are very specific about what ‘Asian’ means. The operation has to come out of Asia. If you are French and operating in Asia then that is ok.
Tete-a-Tete Rings from Thailand
What influenced you to start Shop The Mag?
I come from a fashion background and have always worked in editorial. I am Group Editor at Mediacorp Singapore but I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time.
Is it difficult working full time and working on the site?
My husband is my business partner and this has been our midnight project for a year. We have worked into the small hours after our day jobs. It has been hard at times.
Does your husband love fashion as much as you do?
My husband is a banker by day but I think he is enjoying the project. He’s the number cruncher and has to rein me in when I get carried away by the fashions.
Aperçu from Singapore
How can Shop the Mag help women in Hong Kong looking for new styles?
We’ve had a lot of orders from Hong Kong. Geographically it is very close and so shipping with be just 1 or 2 days. I think women in Hong Kong are always looking for something fresh and new. Now they don’t have to trail to India to find it!
Marie Incles is a freelance writer based in Hong Kong. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.