If you open your closet and take a look at your fashion collection in it, how many pieces of garments of yours are designed by local fashion brands in Macao? In recent years, the fashion industry in Macao has been emerging. Quite a number of fashion brands have been trying to attract more consumers and increase their market exposure by integrating functionality into their fashion designs, making their fashion items more comfortable to wear and providing new features. In this issue, we have invited three local fashion brands from the pyjamas, shoes and swimwear sector to share their entrepreneurial journey and business philosophy with us.
Four years ago, Potinja Choi went to Italy for a study tour. At an exchange event attended by students from all parts of the world, Choi learned that almost everyone’s hometown has a representative fashion brand. Coming from Macao, Choi suddenly found it hard to engage in the conversation. This experience somehow inspired Choi to start the women swimsuit and underwear brand GODDESS ARMOUR that tries to build an image of Goddess and let more people get to know Macao more.
Refining the details to provide a luxurious experience
GODDESS ARMOUR was kickstarted in 2018. Although technically speaking Choi had never been to the fashion industry, she is very familiar with fashion design as she has always loved fashion and made clothes for herself from time to time. “I like sexy elements. I also love the underwear brand Victoria’s Secret,” Choi said. “I collect swimsuits and underwear made of different fabrics and with different designs. So I then started GODDESS ARMOUR. Macao doesn’t have a lot of original brands, let alone swimsuit and underwear brands.”
As the brand name suggests, GODDESS ARMOUR aims to construct an elegant and sexy image of a Goddess through swimsuits, underwear, perfume, bathrobes, etc. “We are hoping that our brand can bring luxury to customers. So we had spent lots of efforts in design and colour combination, making use of elements such as silk-like fabrics, gold embroidery, and pearl,” Choi said. “We want our products to be more than just swimsuits or underwear. We want them to be fashion items that can match other outfits.”
Using alternative materials to protect the environment
GODDESS ARMOUR will roll out the Obsessed series this summer which adopted environmentally friendly alternative materials. Besides adding crystal elements to the design, GODDESS ARMOUR had also spent quite an effort in selecting materials. The brand didn’t use polyester, which is commonly used for making swimsuits, but chose cashmere instead. “We as a brand believe in a green business philosophy. We want to protect the environment and decrease pollution. That’s why we decided to feature using sustainable materials in our newest swimsuit line instead of polyester that contains plastic. Cashmere swimsuits are quite rare. I believe this will attract a lot of attention and reflect the series’ theme ‘Obsessed’ as well,” Choi said.
In comparison with other kinds of clothes, Choi points out that swimsuits and underwear are designed to fit different body types well, especially underwear, which requires the designers to have more precise control over the curves and sizes. “Besides design aesthetics, we also pay great attention to how comfortable it is to wear our products,” she explained. “For example, we didn’t use metal wire in our swimsuits and underwear so that they won’t apply too much pressure to our customers’ body.”
Overseas expansion through social media platforms
Since establishment, GODDESS ARMOUR has participated in several fashion shows and exhibitions both in Macao and overseas. The brand’s products are currently consigned at a local hotel and also sold through online platforms. According to Choi, the sales performance in Macao hasn’t met the expectation yet. “Perhaps it is caused by our culture in some way. Asian women don’t go swimming or do sunbath very often,” Choi explained. “And our designs are quite western.” Considering factors such as consumption power and swimsuit preference, GODDESS ARMOUR is actively seeking to expand to overseas markets. In March, GODDESS ARMOUR entered the market in Dubai through authorising a local fashion agent to sell its products, which is expected to increase the brand’s exposure in the local market.
Besides, GODDESS ARMOUR is also planning to enter countries in America and Europe, such as Russia and Portugal. The brand is hoping to have some crossover promotions with social media influencers and supermodels to attract consumers. “During these two years since we opened GODDESS ARMOUR, we have been spending a lot of energy on the design and production. We also invested a lot of efforts in participating exhibitions,” Choi said. “This year could be a little bit different. More investments will be made in marketing and promotion, especially social media promotion.”
Bringing glory to Macao
GODDESS ARMOUR is now sponsoring swimsuits for beauty pageants from Macao that are participating in beauty contests in both Macao and overseas, including the swimsuits for contestants of last year’s Miss Macao. GODDESS ARMOUR has by date sponsored around 20 beauty pageants from Macao. “We mainly want to help them bring glory to Macao, which can allow more people to know Macao and its designs better,” Choi said.
“The brand had encountered lots of challenges. We used to think that if we could make it to a fashion show then people would be crazy for our products and come buy everything we have in stock. But it didn’t turn out to be like that,” Choi explained. Nevertheless, she is still feeling positive for the brand’s prospect. “We have faith in our designs. I don’t think we need to change anything or give up. The problem is that there isn’t enough exposure yet. But we did meet quite some fans who love our designs,” she concluded.
GODDESS ARMOUR | www.goddessarmourpotinja.com