Charles & Keith
In 1996, in a modest 500 sq ft shoe store in Singapore’s Amara Shopping Centre, brothers Charles and Keith Wong started what was destined to become one of Asia’s most successful brand stories, and the stuff of business student case studies ever since. Unlike other shoe vendors in the city, the Wongs realised that vertical integration was the key to success, and instead of buying other people’s designs to sell, they began to design their own. Within 2 years they had 4 further stores across Singapore and, having developed their own factories as well as distribution and logistics services, their business boomed, expanding across S.E Asia. In 2011, L Capital Asia – the private equity arm of luxury leviathan LVMH came calling – and the result is more than 300 outlets (and still growing) across Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
Beijing’s first Charles & Keith store is a timely opening for the brand with the fast and ever-evolving retail scene of China’s capital, which serves as the perfect environment for this sophisticated but affordable brand of women’s and men’s shoes, as well as belts, bags and accessories. Heading up the trends for the A/W 2013 women’s collection are autumnal-hued lace-up booties and lush, dressy suede stilettos with gilded accents, while for men the great outdoors is channelled with an English countryside, heritage-themed collection showing vintage-inspired chelsea boots, riding boots and earth-toned satchels. It’s a shoe-in.