Goldlion goes for sexy and young with its makeover

Goldlion Singapore chief executive officer Benjamin Lee (above) at the brand's concept store at Capitol Piazza.
Goldlion Singapore chief executive officer Benjamin Lee (above) at the brand's concept store at Capitol Piazza.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
The ad campaign for its women's bags (above).
The ad campaign for its women's bags (above).PHOTO: GOLDLION

Menswear brand Goldlion rebrands and launches women's bags, but its CEO says it is not turning its back on its regular clients

Menswear brand Goldlion wants to shed its image as a department store staple catering to men of a certain vintage.

"The typical feedback that I get is either 'my father wears Goldlion' or 'my uncle wears it'," says chief executive officer of Goldlion Singapore Benjamin Lee, 50, who joined the company in May this year.

To appeal to a younger and different crowd, the 47-year-old brand has launched several initiatives, including going into the women's handbag business.

Its first collection, designed in-house and which costs from $169 to $249, is carried at its new concept store, Goldlion Collection, which opened at Capitol Piazza last month.

On the move to sell handbags, Mr Lee says, "We wanted to have something for the women who accompany their husbands or boyfriends to shop."

The concept store offers a made-to-measure dress shirt service for men. They can customise details such as the shirt's collar, cuffs, placket and pocket, and select from more than 60 types of fabric. The long-sleeve dress shirts cost between $169 and $198.

Goldlion's men's debut casual wear collection is also carried at the store. It includes sweaters (from $249) and jackets ($499 to $899) that are available in colours such as navy blue and red as well as a graphic dragonfly print.

"We recognise that customers want more casual wear in the office now. So we released this new collection to be relevant to this generation of customers," says Mr Lee of the brand's move from staid to trendy workwear.

Staid is certainly not the direction Goldlion is heading in, going by its advertisement for its women's handbag range. It features a model holding a pink handbag strategically placed between her legs.

"The idea is to get people's attention, to get eyeballs on the brand again. The advertisements in the newspaper, for example, nobody would have expected Goldlion to be executed in that way. To me that was the first step," says Mr Lee, referring to the advertisement published in The Straits Times last month.

Its advertisement promoting the men's casualwear range is more run-of-the-mill, featuring young male models wearing the new colourful sweaters and jackets mixed with Goldlion's regular menswear.

To keep up with the times, Goldlion recently joined the world of social media, starting its own Facebook page, Instagram and Pinterest accounts and launching a website for Goldlion Singapore.

Mr Lee, who has been spearheading the company's new directive since he joined, was previously general manager for Aldo Shoes & Accessories in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. He has also worked for sportswear brand Nike, denim company Levi Strauss & Co. and lingerie brand Triumph.

Mr Lee says that Goldlion, which was established in Hong Kong in 1968 and is sold in China, Brunei, Malaysia and Switzerland, will open more concept stores in Singapore and Malaysia if the one at Capitol Piazza is a success.

But in spite of all these changes, Mr Lee says that the brand is not turning its back on its regular clientele. Its department store outlets will continue to carry the brand's regular office menswear and accessories.

He acknowledges the following that the brand has for its more classic designs; a following which he says has been the company's bread and butter. "That core customer group shops in department stores and they are still very relevant and we will be with the department stores as long as that is a relevant shopping channel," he says.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'Wooing the young'. Print Edition | Subscribe