The Best Collaborations of 2020

With Chinese consumption habits maturing, luxury brands must work harder to understand exactly what China’s consumers are looking for when it comes to brand collaborations. This year, while many global and domestic players struggled to maintain a foothold in a crowded marketplace, some put more effort into innovative and localized partnerships to effectively engage with new generations of Chinese consumers. In such a market, these collaborations show just how much luxury cherishes originality and innovation.

And in 2020, the more unusual the collaboration, the better. As such, brands kept upping the ante with unlikely crossovers and partnerships. This year, the Korean brand Gentle Monster advanced its tech prowess by dropping the second iteration of its smart glasses in collaboration with local tech leader Huawei. The Coach x Jean-Michel Basquiat collection enabled Coach to vary its price point, and the limited-edition items sold at up to four times the price of an average bag.

At first glance, the combination of food and beauty products might seem like an unlikely way to create buzzworthy merchandise, but Oreo and Perfect Diary were a surprising hit together. Another dynamic trend saw big global brands tapping young, emerging designers on the Mainland, which is a world away from hiring international names to sell products in China.

From unusual food tie-ins to inspiration from the art world, both global and local brands have shown the ability to drive interest through unexpected and unconventional overlaps. Now, let’s jump into Jing Daily’s selection of the Top Collaborations of 2020. For more of our 2020 year reviews and highlights, read here.

Young Chinese designers are the future of luxury collabs

2020 was the year when big global brands tapped young Chinese designers. From Angel Chen with Canada Goose and Feng Chen Wang alongside Converse to 8on8 plus Asics and Diesel tapping Pronounce, this trend is here to stay and still shows massive growth potential. Excitingly, what silences the critics about this recent craze is the fact that the products were available globally, putting heed to the misconception that they are solely using these young brands to reach millennial and Gen-Z audiences in China.

Artists are still a big draw for brands 

In September, Coach introduced the Coach x Jean-Michel Basquiat collection alongside a global campaign starring some of its ambassadors, including actress Yang Zi and Chinese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin. The collection, which debuted on the runway last February as part of Coach’s Fall 2020 collection, symbolizes Coach’s approach to connecting with a new generation of customers. It worked thanks to top influencer Mr. Bags promoting the new line on social media and regional pop-up exhibitions at luxury malls. Did we mention that the collection costs around three to four times more than an average Coach bag?

Fashion innovators bet big on tech 

Now, as consumers have gotten increasingly saturated with fashion and beauty crossovers, brands would be smart to branch out into overlooked spaces. Apple is being rumored to launch Apple Glass in 2021, but the wearable tech category still has much more potential to grow. After collaborating for the first generation of the brand’s smart glasses last September, the second series — created with the Korean eyewear innovator, Gentle Monster — hit the market in September with ten styles of optical frames and four styles of sunglasses. With this product, users could listen to music, take calls, or ask their smart assistant to look up information with a tap or swipe on the temples of the glasses.

Unlikely food and cosmetics collabs 

Food and beauty are trendy content pillars on social media these days, and a fun crossover product tryout post could easily drive internet buzz for young influencers. Oreo, the world-famous black and white cookie company, collaborated with the Chinese beauty brand Perfect Diary to produce two cushion compacts that sported the classic cookie print. Each set came with two limited, seasonal Oreo flavors — namely Matcha Sakura and White Peach Oolong — and sold out on its first day up on JD.com.

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