What Happened: The iconic American brand Michael Kors has teamed up with Italy’s sportswear label Ellesse to create a 24-piece collection. The retro-chic collaboration capsule playfully fuses Micheal Kors’ signature white and blue monogram with Ellesse’s fiery tennis and ski orange logo.
As well as other major global cities, the launch includes a series of pop-ups and additional attractions in China — namely in Wuhan (until 21 May) and Shenzhen which opens on 27 May and runs until 5 June. The Chinese sites offer additional attractions including Instagrammable spots like a logoed bus and a photo booth, and offer mysterious presents for customers spending over $440 (3,000 RMB). Shoppers who receive 20 likes by sharing pictures of the event on their socials will receive additional treats at the pop-up sites. Michael Kors has received a total of 7.5 million social reach on Weibo, Xiaohongshu, and Douyin according to influencer marketing platform Lefty.io.
The Jing Take: In the age of hype, sports collaboration creates the “cool factor” for luxury names. And, although there is an ongoing lockdown in some Chinese cities, there’s also a fitness craze as locals are exercising at home watching Liu Genghong’s livestreams. Hence, there is no better moment to promote an athleisure capsule to remain visible.
Here, the American house’s marketing and communication efforts have been considerable. The capsule has been spotted on brand ambassadors — singer Wang Feifei and actress Bai Lu — as well as locals’ beloved K-pop star, Jessica Jung, and the leading actors from the Thai group, F4 Boys Over Flowers, who have an extremely wide Chinese fanbase. Indeed, the Italian fitness brand, renowned for its fashionable ski suits, may even present a great option for Michael Kors to create a second collaboration to ride the local winter sports frenzy pushed by the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games.
Yet, with COVID-19 cases spiking in multiple cities around the country, namely Shanghai and Beijing, the American label must carefully promote its offline installations and pay close attention to local regulation updates to avoid any potential backlash. Having said that, it’s still a great time for Michael Kors, and others, to showcase solidarity with locked down residents. Whether it’s through donations or other initiatives, being present during this difficult time will only strengthen the bond between brands and locals.
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.