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Internationalisation strategy of iconic Malaysian high fashion brands

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to explore the success factors behind four globally recognised Malaysian high fashion brands. The three main sub-objectives are: to map the process of high fashion internationalisation onto the general retail internationalisation literature; to engage fashion within the more general marketing and branding literature; to open up a qualitative line of inquiry in internationalisation research, from an Asian business perspective. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research design is qualitative, using a case study approach. The paper reports part of a wider study that entailed 32 depth interviews with leading practitioners in four countries, in addition to secondary and informal data sources. Findings ‐ The chosen case studies achieved their international success through a high degree of cultural assimilation obtained within locations of intense industrial concentration. Knowledge of education, location, language, networks and management systems were important to sustain world class standards of creative design, branding, quality management and marketing communication. For many Asian fashion brands, recognition in key European and American markets enhances the domestic prestige of the brand. Research limitations/implications ‐ The research generates contextualised insights that are not statistically generalisable. Practical implications ‐ The study offers first hand insights into high fashion branding and retail internationalisation from four of the most celebrated Asian designers. Originality/value ‐ The study responds to a need, highlighted in the literature, for more research into the internationalisation strategies of high fashion retail brands.
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Keywords: Asian business; Branding; Brands; Fashion; High fashion; Malaysia; Retail internationalisation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 30, 2013

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