Who would have thought we'd make the Top Ten in an international fashion- and business-related list? Not the list of notorious fashion excesses, such as Imelda's shoes, which, really, when you think about it, at least makes her interesting in a not always irrelevant way. At least she understood fashion as language, and fashion as armor. And at least she understood that accessories make the outfit. I'd love to see her on Jon Stewart's show - he'd try to be be all satirical and she'd obligingly camp it up and end up utterly captivating him, even he if walks away from the set shaking his head but smiling at the same time at what a charming but whacked-out mind-f*ck she could be.
Anyway, back to the Top Ten. WWD, otherwise known as the fashion bible (disclosure: I've been writing for them for the past 6 years) has a regular feature called The List - rankings of retails sales, consumer trends, exectuive pay, etc etc. Today's list is Far East Fortunes. I thought at first it would be about the Top Ten Asian retail empires, with the likes of Lane Crawford dominating the list. Instead, it ranks the Top Ten countries in the Asia-Pacific region according to projected 2007 clothing and footwear retail sales. And guess what? The Philippines is ranked 9th with $1.5 billion, beating Singapore! Thailand didn't even make the list!
In Manila's central business district of Makati City is Greenbelt (see left), the flagship mall of Ayala Land, the country's leading property developer. Comprising a 1.3 million-square-foot lifestyle complex, with more than 250 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, the mall opened in 2002 with Greenbelt 1 and 2, followed by Greenbelt 3 in 2003. Greenbelt 4, which houses designer labels such as Prada, Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton, opened in 2004. And in October, WWD reported Monique Lhuillier is looking to go abroad in the next couple of years with stores in the Philippines — where Lhuillier grew up — and other select Asian and European locales.
The rankings were compiled with the help of the London-based market intelligence firm Euromonitor. I'm surprised the SSI group wasn't mentioned, as they would probably be considered the retail giants of the country, and certainly the anchor tenant of the upmarket shopping malls such as Greenbelt. SSI is the group behind, among others, Prada, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Tod's, Zara, and the recently opened Marc Jacobs.
Topping the list is Japan (no surprises there), with a whopping $76.7 billion, followed by India, China, South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
I guess that means Filipinos love to shop - for clothes and shoes, especially. Maybe Imelda, even then, knew how to tap into the secret longings of our consumerist souls...