Has China’s “Too Skinny” Trend Gone Too Far?

What Happened: The BBC highlights the latest social media trend in China: women trying on kids’ clothes at Uniqlo. Xiaohongshu and Weibo have been flooded with eye-catching selfies of women wearing petite kids’ clothes to show off how slender they are.

Photo: Xiaohongshu

On Weibo, the hashtag “adults trying on Uniqlo children’s clothes” has received over 680 million views, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, SupChina reports that this is not the first “skinny enough” challenge to take China by storm. Earlier on, there was the collarbone coin challenge and the #A4waist challenge.

The Jing Take: For years, celebrities and role models in China promoted an unattainable beauty standard: white, skinny, and young. But this unrealistic view of femininity is slowly changing thanks to the rise of new consumer trends and the influence of social media.

Nevertheless, online challenges like this most recent one prove that social media still has a distressed relationship with body inclusivity. The penchant for size-zero KOLs and idols sends women an implicit message, so it is hardly surprising when younger women glorify skinny.

Yet, it is worth noting that luxury brands no longer automatically jump on the “skinny is beautiful” wagon.

Since 2017, LVMH and Kering have chosen to ban size-0 models from catwalks and photoshoots. And Donatella Versace reaffirmed the brand’s commitment to body positivity and inclusivity by selecting three plus-size models to walk in her recent Versace fashion show.

Luxury brands that are skeptical about these recent social media fads and can’t understand the local canons of beauty must keep in mind that, even in the West, progress toward inclusivity has been slow.

The body positivity movement is still a niche trend in China, but a change is moving forward.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


Consumer Insights, News