E-Mart looks to grow in-house apparel label

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E-Mart looks to grow in-house apparel label

Daiz, the in-house clothing label of Korean discount chain E-Mart, is hoping to shed its image as a cheap, low-quality brand by partnering with luxury designers for its upcoming fall/winter collection.

The move is part of efforts by Chung Yong-jin, chairman of parent company Shinsegae Group, to upgrade the quality of E-Mart’s in-house brands while maintaining affordable prices. The company recently opened a dedicated research and development lab for its in-house line of packaged food products, Peacock, in June.

The discount chain is now focusing on its clothing label Daiz, which has struggled to gain appeal among consumers. The company hopes to change the brand’s image from low-quality and cheap to trendy and affordable by launching a new fall/winter lineup in collaboration with Lardini. The Italian luxury menswear designer is best known for working with high-end European fashion houses such as Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino. After two years of negotiations, E-Mart has inked a deal with Lardini to produce a line of premium men’s business suits.

In womenswear, E-Mart is working with renowned local designer Hong Sung-wan on a line of casual and business apparel.

Daiz’s rebranding strategy also includes licensing popular animated characters. The label will soon launch themed nightwear and undergarments featuring Batman, Mickey Mouse and Moomin. The characters will also appear on bags and shoes.

“Daiz started as a house brand of E-Mart, but it has grown into one of the top fast-fashion labels,” Oh Se-woo, E-Mart senior vice president on brand, said in a press release. “We are going to concentrate on developing Daiz into an official fashion brand with the help of E-Mart’s concrete distribution channel as well as frequent collaborations with foreign high-end brands and well-known designers.”

The company will open dedicated Daiz shops in its branches to solely display the brand’s products, which now include sportswear, shoes and household products. In the past, Daiz mostly focused on clothing and was one of many other brands sold in the discount chain’s apparel section.

E-Mart started Daiz in 2009 in response to the domination of multinational fast-fashion brands such as H&M and Zara in the local market.

The company has pointed to Japanese brand Uniqlo as its biggest rival. Although Daiz has yet to catch up to Uniqlo, it has outperformed homegrown labels such as Samsung C&T’s 8 Seconds and E-Land’s SPAO, according to an industry report by the Financial Supervisory Service last year.

BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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