News story

GREAT retail campaign: All Rhodes lead to Malaysia

Fashion Meets Food: Iconic designer Zandra Rhodes and celebrity chef Gary Rhodes add glitz to the GREAT Retail Campaign in Malaysia

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Zandra Rhodes and Gary Rhodes in Malaysia
The presence of iconic designer Zandra Rhodes and celebrity chef Gary Rhodes added star power to the GREAT Retail Campaign in Malaysia

With the presence of iconic British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes and celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, the week of 11 – 17 November was the highlight of the British High Commission Kuala Lumpur’s GREAT British fashion and retail campaign, a joint UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Prosperity Team project aimed at driving up sales of UK branded goods and encouraging new UK retailers into the dynamic Malaysian retail sector, which the government here estimates will be worth £36billion by 2020.

Increased UK Retail Sales

The first objective was to increase sales in participating UK retailers by 10%. Twenty-eight UK retail brands joined the campaign, using the GREAT Retail Toolkit to produce in-store branding in over 100 stores across Malaysia. An in-store competition, with sponsored prizes including an all expense paid shopping trip to the UK and a year’s supply of Clarks shoes, ran for eight weeks and generated tens of thousands of entries with a qualifying minimum spend of RM250.

KL Fashion Weekend, an annual event organised by the government agency Tourism Malaysia, featured fashion shows by 14 UK retail brands, and launched Burton and French Connection Kids in Malaysia. A UKTI exhibition booth promoted new and up and coming British designers and retail sponsors. The events were well attended by the key players in Malaysia’s booming fashion and retail world.

Zandra Rhodes fashion show at KL Fashion Weekend
As part of the GREAT Retail Campaign, the designs by Zandra Rhodes were showcased at the KL Fashion Weekend at KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

UKTI Director in Kuala Lumpur Tony Collingridge says:

The collaboration with Tourism Malaysia is a perfect fit for us. We hosted an inward retail mission represented by companies who are interested to bring their brands to Malaysia. The mission provided a valuable opportunity for them to learn more about setting up business here and also to see for themselves the robust retail market in Malaysia.

There was a lot of excitement when we announced the opening of British stores like Burton, Hamleys and Superdry in Malaysia this year. We have plans for a bigger campaign in September next year so fans of British brands definitely have something to look forward to.

Attracting new British Retailers to Malaysia

The second objective was to encourage more UK business into the Malaysian market. UK missioners representing 24 UK retail brands and designers attended a three-day inward mission co-organised by UKTI and Tourism Malaysia. Initial feedback has been very positive, with one company extending its stay by a week because of the number of business leads generated by the mission. Four UK retailers including have already stated their intention to attend UKTI’s Retail Trade Mission to Malaysia next year.

GREAT Ambassador Support

Our two GREAT Ambassadors worked tirelessly during their 10 day stay in Malaysia. Zandra Rhodes launched her exhibition ‘A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles’,which has previously been shown in Boston, San Diego and Mexico City, at the Textile Museum, Kuala Lumpur. Her designs were also showcased at a fashion show attended by the elite of Malaysian society, as the finale to the week’s events.

Zandra Rhodes Textile Exhibition at the Textile Museum, Kuala Lumpur
Zandra Rhodes launched her exhibition "A Lifelong Love Affair with Textiles" at the Textile Museum in Kuala Lumpur

Gary Rhodes, with the support of YTL’s Majestic Hotel, personally prepared canapés for the hundreds of guests that attended the GREAT KL Fashion Weekend VIP Party held at the Residence. He also created a special Rhodes three-course menu specially for The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes created a special menu for The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur
British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes created a special menu for The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur

While British fashion was being paraded on the runway, the Malaysian motorways saw the presence of another British icon: the GREAT bus, a new London double decker bus manufactured by Wrightbus. The bus made its way around Kuala Lumpur and garnered a lot of interest from the public. Four GREAT and KL Fashion Weekend branded MINIs were also present on the streets of central KL during the campaign.

Malaysia will be one of ten GREAT Week markets next year. The Malaysian UKTI and Prosperity teams are looking forward to working with the UKTI London Retail, Food & Drink and Creative Industries sector teams to further build upon this year’s success and secure a mega mission of 50 UK companies to visit Malaysia in September 2014.

Published 23 December 2013