Excitement about a new collaboration between luggage brand Rimowa and clothing brand Supreme offers yet more evidence of the cachet streetwear now has among China’s young luxury shoppers.
Marking the 120th anniversary of Rimowa, the LVMH-owned luxury brand unveiled a special edition of the Topas Multiwheel suitcases in collaboration with streetwear label Supreme on April 12. The deal was announced just three days ago, though the information was leaked and has been circulating online for a while. On launch, the collection will be available in four cities – New York, Los Angeles, London, and Paris, as well as Rimowa’s official site. The price range is $1,600-1,800.
Though the suitcases aren’t being sold in Chinese stores, there is plenty of buzz about the collaboration online. Mainstream fashion and streetwear media such as Yoho! have posted articles on the crossover explaining how Chinese consumers can successfully “grab” (抢) the items by taking advantage of the time difference.
An analysis of the seven-day and 90-day heat chart of the word “Rimowa”, enabled by WeChat Index, indicates that mentions of the brand on WeChat have skyrocketed since April 9, the day when the brand officially announced the collection.
Dealmoon, an e-commerce site aimed at Chinese consumers in the United States, also promoted the collaboration on Wednesday, generating a great number of user comments. Most expressed interest in purchasing the suitcases, with some joking that they would “forever be concerned about the safety of the suitcase” if they owned one.
Others asked for tips on how they can beat the crowd when ordering online, anticipating the items would be sold out in seconds. Many shoppers plan to line up in front of the store on April 12, but they will need to enter a lottery to win the opportunity to make a purchase in-store.
Cloris Lei, a 21-year-old Chinese student studying in New York, succeeded in “grabbing” the suitcase online. “It’s all about luck and the speed,” she told Jing Daily. But she has no plan in keeping it forever, as the hype demand among Chinese consumers for the suitcase has pushed up the price dramatically.
“I plan to resell it at least for 20,000 RMB ($3,178, which double the original price) maybe on Taobao or eBay,” said Lei.
Chinese luxury consumers skew younger than those in other markets, and their numbers and purchasing power make them a real driving force behind luxury and streetwear crossovers. The latest study by Goldman Sachs shows that the number of Chinese millennials reached 415 million in 2017, accounting for nearly one-third of China’s total population. Bain & Company predicted that this group of people will be the main driver of the global luxury goods market in coming years.
It’s a fickle market however, and a difficult line for heritage luxury brands to walk. A collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme in 2017 was not free from criticism in China.