On 9 January, Japanese sportswear label Descente opened its doors at the Xintiandi shopping district in Shanghai. Alongside the physical opening, the brand also launched a time-limited virtual space.
The retail space named “DESCENTE SHANGHAI”, is based on the city-specific concept of the “ice and snow creative field in shikumen”. The shikumen (lit. 石库门), sometimes translated as “lane houses”, is a typical style of Shanghai residence in lilong alleys that fuses Western and Chinese architectural elements. The interior design is in collaboration with the art centre UCCA. As part of the DESCENTE BLANC series of concept stores that have several locations in Japan, the upper floor of the shop is furnished in a minimal industrial style, creating a blank space for the modular display of garments. It is also home to a “D-Mover’s Care Center” providing cleaning and maintenance services.
At the same time, a time-limited pop-up space named “ICE CUBE” also launched outside the concept store. Open until 21 January, the area has carved out immersive experiences from an icy world and contains physical installations and digital projections, complete with displays of Descente products. Brand ambassador and actor William Chan attended the opening of both locations.
Descente was founded in Osaka, Japan in 1935 as Ishimoto Shoten before registering the “Descente” name in 1961, which means ‘downhill skiing’ in French. The current three-arrow Spirit Mark logo was then adopted in 1968. The brand boasts an impressive ski heritage, high-tech materials and expert craftsmanship.
The brand entered China in 2016 and Anta owns the majority shares of Descente China. The brand revenue is projected to reach over 5 billion RMB (704.48 million USD) in China in 2023, after growing from 20 million RMB (2.82 million USD) to 3.04 million RMB (428.28 million USD) between 2016 and 2022. In October 2023, a DESCENT BLANC concept store opened in Beijing. With outdoor activities including skiing quickly gaining popularity, Descente is set to continue its growth and expansion in the country.