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The fashion industry in China changes fast, so it can be difficult to keep up with trends. Here are tips for expats who want to take the guesswork out of shopping by working with a personal image consultant while living abroad.
In Chinese culture, there is a common belief that a leader's image reflects on China as a whole, says Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP, executive director of SP Image Consulting International, a global image-consulting firm. "The new generation of professionals has a sense of duty to be their best and to improve China's image," she says.
— Michelle T. Sterling, founder and principal of Global Image Group
Typically, consultants have a pre-interview with the client, covering topics such as the client's image goals, budget and style. After that, consultants schedule a time to evaluate the individual's existing wardrobe before beginning the shopping outing, says Michelle T. Sterling, founder and principal of Global Image Group, an image consultancy with offices worldwide.
The key, Sterling says, is to tailor the service to a client's specific needs. "I've had clients from women who want to project authority to a plastic surgeon who wanted outfits for every situation: rainy days, sunny days, drinks at a lounge versus weekend meetings, Persian weddings versus American weddings and everything in between," Sterling says. "He had 20 different tabs in his look book."
In general, the personal image consultants in China tend to range between $50 and $200 per hour, Sterling says.
When working with an image consultant in a foreign country, individuals can use a trusted online foreign exchange service to cover consultation fees and the price of clothing. It's fast to calculate the latest dollar to yuan exchange rate and convenient to initiate bank-to-bank international payments via one's laptop, tablet or smartphone.
While each consultation differs depending on the client, there are a few characteristics an ideal image consultant should have:
Whether the goal is to overhaul their wardrobes or simply to avoid shopping centers, expats living in China can blend their personal styles with the local Chinese culture by working with global image consultants.
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