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Affluent Chinese vie to become best-dressed


10:39, February 16, 2013

The week-long Spring Festival holiday is the peak retail season in China. As people herald in the Year of the Snake, China’s high-end consumers are looking for new and unique ways to show off their success. In the next part of our special series on Chinese consumption, BizAsia’s Haidi Lun takes a look at the booming demand for made-to-measure and couture fashion in China.

Something old, something new. Something borrowed, something blue. This age-old tradition is known to brides around the world. But for Chinese brides in the Year of the Snake, they’re simply looking for something to call their own. Their mothers and grandmothers may have married in more austere times, and even more recently, it was more common to rent a generic wedding dress than to buy one. But China’s bridal market - both ready to wear and couture - has blossomed along with the country’s booming economy.

This bride-to-be at one of Beijing’s most exclusive bridal salons explains why a made-to-measure gown is important to her.

Han Xu, Bride-to-be, Beijing, said, "I want something that’s specially fitted for me, that I can keep as a memento of our wedding. I’m willing to adjust my budget for the right dress, I don’t have a specific price in mind. I will be buying at least four dresses for the day."

Around 10 million weddings are held every year in China, five times more than in the U.S. The business of getting hitched in China is estimated to be worth around 57 billion U.S. dollars a year, and growing. With more and more Chinese consumers adopting Western trends and customs, the potential for the wedding market in China remains vast - and largely untapped.

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