ALTER is a concept boutique store located in Shanghai. The superstore includes ALTER Showroom, ALTER Cube café, and the Rolling Acid design label. Arguably the most prominent and influential fashion boutique in China today, ALTER was also nominated for FARFETCH’s 2014 Superstore Awards as one of the top six boutiques in the world. In the same year, the Louis Vuitton Shanghai City Guide featured ALTER as being a landmark of Shanghai high fashion.
位于上海的ALTER买手概念店，与ALTER Showroom、ALTER Cube Café和自主品牌Rolling Acid同属ALTER时尚机构。它大概是中国最具有竞争力的买手店，事实上它甚至是本土其他买手店的重要参考目标。2014年，FARFETCH提名它为全球6家最顶尖的超级买手集合店之一。同年，它被《路易·威登之上海GUIDE》收录并获得极高评价，成为必去的上海地标性时尚目的地。
Products in the ALTER concept store are often displayed using touch screens and ambient lighting. In addition, the store features bamboo cube installations, varying in size from three centimeters to three meters wide, as an ode to ALTER founder Long Xiao’s childhood love of wooden blocks. Long Xiao, aka Sonja, is a fashion buyer who studied luxury brand management in Italy and had previously worked at Prada and Versace.
Before opening ALTER in 2010, Long Xiao had already established her position in the luxury fashion world. However, she wanted to create something that would challenge the status quo in the world of fashion. Witnessing the emergence of China’s luxury market, Long Xiao saw an opportunity to serve China’s increasingly fashion-conscious consumer. The idea for ALTER surfaced upon recognition of the market gap between the more established high fashion luxury brands and mass consumer brands.
Long Xiao and her buyer team are passionate about showcasing creative design brands that are unfamiliar to the mass market. In choosing brands with potential, she believes that personal intuition is just as important as market research or brand analysis. “We’re leaders, not followers. We always want to surprise. That’s what makes us different from other boutiques.” From introducing brands such as J.W. Anderson, MSGM, and Simon Rocha, to seeing them recognized by global luxury giant LVMH or other fashion leaders, ALTER has witnessed the emergence of many previously unknown brands. Long Xiao says, “Each season we’ll change our brand inventory. This season, popular labels include Seoul’s YOHANIX and PushBUTTON, Ukraine’s ANNA K, London’s S=YZ, Norway’s Norwegian Rain, Holland’s ILJA VISSER, and France’s RISTO, among others. They are all worth paying attention to.”
龙霄带领她的买手团队，探寻尚不被大众所熟知，却又充满巨大潜力和创意的设计师品牌。除了前期对品牌进行专业的调研和数据分析外，龙霄认为依靠与生具来的直觉也非常重要。“我们在引领，而不是在追随。我们总是给人惊喜，我想这就是我们与其他买手店的最大区别。”从引进J.W Anderson、MSGM、Simone Rocha，到这些品牌渐获全球最大奢侈品集团LVMH的肯定，或各位时尚偶像的追捧，ALTER见证一波又一波的设计师成长，也成为了新锐设计师的摇篮。龙霄说: “我们每季品牌都有改变，
Long Xiao shares her ideas about the current state of Chinese fashion, design, and consumption: “Chinese fashion designers still have a long road ahead with lots of potential problems. But those designers who come with an international mindset will often surprise us with something quite beautiful. I feel that many new Chinese designers will rise to prominence if they persevere. The Chinese consumer has really come a long way from just blindly following the big brands. Now, they will consider other important factors such as self-expression, wearability, and value for money. People are becoming less and less loyal to brands, which is a good thing, because they’ll actually be able to recognize and cherish good design.”
Work and travel have given Long Xiao a propensity for curiosity, sensitivity, and inspired thought. For her, the best part of the day is getting together with friends to pass time at the cafe. Her definition of true luxury is being able to have free time and fellowship, a notion that then led to the establishment of the ALTER Cube Café. Long Xiao says, “I wanted to share some of these sentiments with our customers, especially with those who recognize quality. I hope that people who visit ALTER will be able to slow down, enjoy time with friends, and relax with art, food, music and fashion.”
在世界各地的旅行和工作，给了龙霄带来对新事物的好奇心和敏锐度，以及源源不断的灵感。繁忙的日常最让她放松的事情，是和朋友们一起在咖啡厅消磨时光。她眼中真正的奢侈，就是时间的陪伴和好友的感情。这就是ALTER Cube Cafe的由来。她说：“我想把这些情怀带给我的客户们，尤其是注重生活品质和情调的客户。我希望来ALTER的人可以慢下节奏，享受一次与好友的聚会，一次慢节奏的艺术、美食、音乐、时尚的心灵放松。”
ALTER won Best New Store at WSGN’s 2012 Global Fashion Awards and has been a favorite of the fashion media ever since. Long Xiao tells us that she plans to continue the development of ALTER Showroom, hoping that it will be a permanent platform to bring even more global brands into China. In addition, she hopes to share ALTER’s design label with the rest of the world.