Dingyun Zhang x Marni, Balabala Be@rbricks, And Clot’s TNF Launch: China Collabs Of The Week

Unsurprising as a collab leader on the local streetwear scene, Clot is dominating news feeds in China this week. Excitement is bubbling as a result of the upcoming The North Face (TNF) collection, which has just been announced on the brands’ social media platforms in the mainland and the rest of the world.

Crossovers between competitors like Clot x TNF have proved to be a reliable route for boosting sales performance. Fendi x Versace and Palace x CP Company are other examples of this strategy at play. This collection is a first for both the streetwear giant and outerwear retailer, as is Be@brick’s latest collaboration with kidswear favorite Balabala and 3125C; readers might recognize the latter for having worked on the Alaia Chen x Steiff launch earlier this year. 

We also look at the eye-catching Marni Fall 2023 collection, which was co-created by one of China’s most exciting emerging talents of the moment, Dingyun Zhang. The Beijing-native worked with Kanye West’s Yeezy back in 2016, graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2020, then took off via a Moncler collaboration for the Genius collection in spring 2022.

Read more on Zhang and our other China collabs of the week below. Subscribe here to receive the Collabs & Drops newsletter straight to your inbox.

Be@rbrick x Balabala x 3125C 

Since 2002, Balabala has risen to fame as one of the most popular childrenswear brands in mainland China. Photo: Balabala

Since 2002, Balabala has risen to fame as one of the most popular childrenswear brands in mainland China. Photo: Balabala

Date: February 4

Verdict: A leading Chinese childrenswear brand in China, Balabala has previously collaborated with the likes of Chen Peng, Christine Phung, Chen Fenwan, and cultural IPs such as the Dunhuang and Suzhou Museums. Taking a localized approach, the tie-up connects with consumers by using national pride. 

This particular collection is set to be released across 20 Balabala stores, as well as Tmall, WeChat Mini Program and Douyin. The clothing capsule will likely be available in greater quantities, whereas the 1,000 percent doll being launched on February 4 and the 400 and 100 percent Be@rbricks launched on February 10 will be sold in limited amounts. 

Clot x The North Face

the north face x clot

No actual designs have yet been revealed, just this logo. Photo: The North Face x Clot

Date: February 24

Verdict: It’s yet to even drop and the hashtag has already garnered 3,660 views on Weibo on the date of writing this. On The North Face’s Weibo account, the post has gained 100 percent positive feedback, with fans of Edison Chen expressing a lot of excitement for the release. 

The pastel tones of the merged logos suggest that it’s going to be a playfully colorful collection. We’re expecting the classics, from Nuptse jackets, to double logo tracksuits. The news has yet to gain traction on Instagram though, with the official hashtag having just 14 organic posts thus far.

Dingyun Zhang x Marni 

Some of the vibrant looks from the Marni Fall 2023 collection, co-designed by independent Chinese designer Dingyun Zhang. Photo: Dingyun Zhang Instagram

Some of the vibrant looks from the Marni Fall 2023 collection, co-designed by independent Chinese designer Dingyun Zhang. Photo: Marni

Date: Fall 2023

Verdict: Showcased in Tokyo, Japan, the Fall 2023 collection was created in collaboration with Chinese independent designer Dingyun Zhang. There were ballooned silhouettes, fun polka dots, and an optimistic color palette of reds, yellows and blues. 

It’s the second blockbuster move by Zhang, who previously collaborated with Moncler on the Genius project for Spring 2022. Marni opened its first China flagship store in 2022, while parent company OTB also opened stores for Maison Margiela, Amiri, and Jil Sander on West Nanjing Road in Shanghai last year. Whether it’s to better connect to its Chinese consumer base or leverage innovative creativity, this collection sure does all of the above.

Check out the Collabs & Drops archive here.

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Fashion, Market Analysis