Defining China’s ‘New Luxury’: Key Takeaways From The Fashion Zoo x Jing Daily Panel

Now that China’s Gen Z has become an emerging engine in the luxury market, local youth culture has started upgrading and transforming the fashion industry to fit its needs. China’s leading business-to-customer fashion exchange platform, Fashion Zoo, is at the forefront of this revolution, choosing to host its annual International Youth Culture and Art Festival under the theme “Future Players” this year.

On October 16, the opening day of Fashion Zoo 2021, the cutting-edge platform collaborated with Jing Daily to host a panel to explore the definition of new luxury in a China context. “As a platform specializing in new youth culture, we believe current young generations are reshaping the definition of ‘luxury,’ given that everyone persists in self-expression and emotional value by showing their attitudes,” said Amy Fan, CEO of Fashion Zoo. This dynamic could be seen in Fashion Zoo 2021 agenda to decode the future players that will shape the fashion landscape.

The panel featured moderator Agnes Wu (senior editor of Jing Daily) as well as speakers Grégoire Caillol (CEO of by FANG), Zorro (director of brand marketing on Big-Fashion Industry of Xiaohongshu),  and Amy Fan (CEO of Fashion Zoo). With perspectives from institutions, marketing experts, and brands, the conversation explored what defines new luxury among today’s Chinese consumers and what is driving the shift from the typical luxury to a new type in China’s local, socio-cultural context. Below, Jing Daily has highlighted three key takeaways from the panel.

Self-reward triggers purchase decisions

Luxury consumption is no longer confined to luxury bags, apparel, or shoes. Today, the concept has been infused with growing cultural and community awareness among Chinese youth. Therefore, emerging lifestyle trends like collectibles, hospitality, and glamping, are blowing up as new social currencies.

This ever-changing consumption mindset has been driven by comprehensive factors, according to the panel’s featured speakers. Zorro addressed the emergence of highly diverse shopping malls like TX Huaihai, rural trips, niche sports like skiing & surfing, and the at-home drinking trend.

Meanwhile, Fan put forward concepts of “emotional demand” and “self-reward consumption.” “Compared to showing off, fulfilling emotional demand is more critical for young generations,” Fan explained. “They pursue personal expression and a sense of identity.” This trend aligns with Bain x Tmall 2020 China Luxury Report, which states that the top factor triggering Gen-Z luxury purchases is “reward for myself,” followed by “pursuit of fashion” and “uplift of confidence.”

Cultural mindsets enrich the new luxury

Young generations have been exposed to diverse cultures, having grown up with rapid digital transformations and new cultural hybridizations. Amy tagged this group as “internet nomads,” with “community and knowledge becoming social currencies on various social platforms.”

Caillol also shared FANG’s approach to integrating Western and Eastern cultures, such as how it gained inspiration from the Chinese cultural art of Zhezhi (paper folding). When asked about brand localization, Caillol said the two aspects are “artistic localization” and “marketing localization.” He also highlighted by FANG’s efforts to incorporate “Chinese cultural symbols and craftsmanship with Western cuttings.”

The new luxury is advocating new values

From a brand perspective, Caillol said sustainability is a crucial value represented by “new luxury” and proposed the environmental benefits of faux fur. Fan also attached great importance to sustainability as a core value for Fashion Zoo and the “new luxury.”

According to New Youth Culture Insights, released by CBNData in collaboration with Fashion Zoo, “sustainable consumption culture” is one of the eight major cultural expressions for young generations. For instance, Gen Z has seen the quickest growth rate of any age group for online consumption of sustainable shoes.

To conclude, Fan broke down the definition of “new luxury” into three key attributes: emotional value, sustainability, and cross-cultural mindsets, adding that these can all be found in Fashion Zoo’s commitment to powering local creative talents. By paving the way for globally-oriented Chinese brands and building cross-cultural communications, Fashion Zoo hopes to imbue international fashion communications with contemporary meaning.

Reported by Eva Liang and Wenzhuo Wu

Categories

Market Analysis