Diesel Taps Chinese E-Sports, Harrods x Labelhood, And Maison Margiela’s CNY Gift Wrap: China Collabs Of The Week

As the Lunar New Year festivities begin, one hot collab trend is emerging among global luxury fashion brands: partnering with Chinese illustrators. Valentino is working with Melting Sadness to promote the Rosso Toile Iconographe capsule collection, and accessible luxury brand Maje is collaborating with Paris-based artist Jiayi Li, incorporating her glassy, pastel graphics to promote its Year of the Rabbit collection.

Aside from this week’s flow of artist x brand crossovers, today’s Collabs & Drops issue looks at Diesel’s hit clothing collection with a League of Legends esports team. We also dive into Harrods first pop-up with Labelhood, and Maison Margiela Fragrances’ Lunar New Year gift boxes and envelopes by analog photography collective Birdhead 鸟头. 

Below, you can check out the full breakdown of this week’s top brand collaborations in China. Subscribe here to receive this issue, and weekly news straight to your inbox.

DIESEL X WBG 

diesel x wbg

Diesel has tapped the Weibo League of Legends e-sports team, capitalizing on the gaming-streetwear crossover. Photo: Diesel

Date: January 13

Trend: Fashion Brand x Chinese E-Sports Club

Verdict: Launching a capsule with League of Legends esports club WBG is a sure route to connect with Gen Z gamers. According to data from the International Journal of Esports, China has the world’s largest number of esports players and is the largest esports market in the world. It’s a no-brainer for Diesel. Plus, the popularity of WBG is making this collection a hit across Chinese socials: On Weibo, the hashtag #DIESEL X WBG联名胶囊系列# has been read 249,000 times on the day of writing this alone. In recent years, the brand has ramped up its efforts to resonate with consumers in the mainland, from collaborating with Shanghai-based designer brand Pronounce to opening new stores with 56 now located in the region.

HARRODS X LABELHOOD 

harrods x labelhood

Date: January 20

Trend: Global Retailer x Local Retailer

Verdict: Known for stocking local designers such as Feng Chen Wang, Xander Zhou, and Private Policy, store and designer incubator Labelhood is a contemporary pioneer in China’s retail game. It’s therefore the ideal partner for British luxury store Harrods to champion Chinese design talent. Combining forces with a local retailer allows Harrods to connect with its high-spending Chinese diaspora while also positioning itself as fashion-forward to young consumers especially — edging into competitive territory with the likes of Selfridges or Browns. Though it was founded in 2009, Labelhood only opened its first store outside of Shanghai in December 2021, and this collaboration marks further growth for the company.

MAISON MARGIELA FRAGRANCES X BIRDHEAD 鸟头 

MAISON MARGIELA FRAGRANCES X BIRDHEAD 鸟头 

Maison Margiela Fragrances has collaborated with local collective Birdhead 鸟头, which specializes in analog photography. Photo: Maison Margiela

Date: January 16

Trend: Global Brand x Local Artists

Verdict: Maison Margiela Fragrances has found authenticity in Lunar New Year celebrations by working with local talent: the Chinese photographic collective Birdhead 鸟头. The collective has designed red envelopes and gift boxes — a clever way to get people to gift Maison Margiela Fragrances for the Year of the Rabbit. From the pop-up shop at Yanlord Cangjie Project in Suzhou back in December 2022, to its first ever mini cinema being located in Shanghai, Maison Margiela is consistently showing focus on the China market. 

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Fashion, Market Analysis