In Q1 of 2023, Gap dropped its first local collaboration with a young Chinese label, Wuhan-born-and-based Attempt, which has just 19,000 fans on Weibo and 10,500 on Xiaohongshu. That’s a far cry from partnering with a multi-million dollar brand led by one of the most famous music artists of all time — rest in peace Yeezy x Gap.
“Gap approached us and wanted to discuss whether there was an opportunity to make something together,” says Hubei Institute of Fine Arts alumnus Liang Dong, who founded Attempt in 2015. “Gap has always stayed in its own lane, which is one of the important characteristics of a brand that I like and respect.”
Launched in February this year, the Gap x Attempt offering finesses elevated basics. The collection sports faded, moody tie-dye shades and subtle hardware touches, from zips to metal loops. The concrete exhibition venues where it was sold reflected Attempt’s industrial vibe, with the American brand providing the Chinese label with the freedom to assert its identity.
“Because every brand has a clear personality, when we jointly create a collab series, this kind of twist on something original can clearly show consumers what Attempt’s personality is, what it brings to the table,” says Liang.
Seeing as Gap sold its China business for $50 million, consumers can expect to see more localized collections like this.
This isn’t the first time a global name has collaborated with the relatively underground label Attempt.
“Collaboration is important to us. But the joint-name is not. I think of collaborations as company-to-company co-creations,” says Liang.
In 2019, Attempt featured in Vans’ four-way Chinese collection, alongside Randomevent, Roaringwild, and Myge. Later the same year, it worked with Japanese ski brand Descente; in 2020, it teamed up with Puma, and then collaborated with Asics in 2022. Ugg is next on the list, with an Attempt collection scheduled to arrive in China soon.
“Every collaboration is an experience and a growth opportunity for us,” Liang tells Jing Daily. “Collaborations enable me to learn about some of our own internal obstacles in the process, and they also open up future possibilities for us too.”
The Wuhan label embodies the type of label that brands can use to connect with a niche fanbase of style-conscious consumers who are into functional techwear.
Attempt’s seasonal collections pair immaculate utilitarian silhouettes with carefully crafted staple pieces — deconstruction being the running theme.
“Collaboration opens a window to more consumers. It sparks conversations with consumers in other ways, or starts new relationships with new people. Consumers become aware of us via these co-branded collections,” Liang adds.