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Machine-A to open in Shanghai with Raf Simons

The retailer is opening its first international store — complete with Raf Simons shop-in-shop — in Shanghai.



London-based retailer Machine-A will open its first permanent store outside of the UK in Shanghai this September, as the multi-brand market in the key cities continues to heat up.


The store will sit in the heart of the Jing’an District, a young creative neighbourhood, and showcase a mix of emerging names and established brands. The permanent store follows a Machine-A pop-up in Shanghai in October 2020.


It will also host a Raf Simons shop-in-shop — the Belgian brand’s first direct-to-consumer location in China. Machine-A and Raf Simons are known for their close relationship. Last year, Machine-A featured Raf Simons archive pieces in its “Machine-B” vintage project.


Founder and buying director Stavros Karelis says the Shanghai store is a “natural step” for Machine-A, which is a popular destination for Chinese tourists in London and has supported several generations of Chinese designers. The retailer recently relaunched its Wechat Official account, and has a presence on Chinese social shopping platform Red, also known as Xiaohongshu (or Little Red Book).


“China is one of the most important markets,” says Karelis. “I know that the concept store is not unique anymore, especially in Shanghai, where multi-brand stores are booming. But, based on our experience in London, I think we can still offer something that is going to be different from what exists there.”


Multi-brand boutiques, or buyer stores, play a big role in China’s luxury market and are key to reaching influential shoppers. With competition heating up, retailers that focus on niche brands or local talent have an advantage.


Founded in 2009, Machine-A is best known for its experimental and genderless retail strategy and support of young talent including Peter Do, Yueqi Qi and Nensi Dojaka. Brand accelerator Tomorrow acquired a majority stake in the company in November 2020.


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