Over the course of 2022, we’ve been treated to a plethora of Chinese collaborations on a global scale. Fuijian province-born, Royal College of Art graduate Feng Chen Wang continued to prove her broad versatility, designing an e-scooter with Piaggio, clothing with Ugg for the first time, and a Fall 2022 range with Canada Goose.
Other noteworthy independent labels from the mainland such as Windowsen, Shushu/Tong, and Susan Fang all continued to work with global brands this year — from Zara, to Asics and Mac Cosmetics.
With China on track to make up 40 percent of all luxury consumption by 2030, an increasing number of Western companies are tapping into local talent in order to connect with the market, and translate their existing DNA into Chinese culture. Not only via independent designer collaboration, but also through retailers located in China.
Exemplifying that retail-brand formula, 2022 saw ENG Concept work with Venice Beach label ERL on an installation in Shanghai, Labelhood host a Nan Knits pop-up, and other top crossovers like CanalStreet坚尼街 x Justine Clenquet and Nike x Soulgoods.
With brand collaboration proving its worth of consumer expansion and marketing exposure, there have been so many highlights over the past 12 months. That being said, here are the Jing Collabs & Drops favorites.
1. MOST UNEXPECTED: XIAOMI X DANIEL ARSHAM
DATE: December 5
WHY: The striking tie-up — limited to 2,000 pieces only — is collection-worthy: The New York-based artist turned the ubiquitous object into a timeless artwork. “Daniel is a critically acclaimed artist and has clearly stepped outside the traditional art bounds with this collab. In the future, when the phone’s tech becomes outdated, it can be seen as a piece of art. Something you use every day in an art form. Pretty unique,” says Andrew Spalter, founder and CEO of the China-focused agency East Goes Global. In total, the partnership garnered $786,000 MIV (5.6 million) as per Launchmetrics findings.
2. BEST BEAUTY: MAC X WINDOWSEN
DATE: September 10
WHY: The Alien Baby eyeshadow palette by Mac and Windowsen proved how global brands can connect with the market via local talent. Seeing as Mac has previously released cosmetics with Chinese designer Angel Chen (2019) and Guo Pei (2015), this one was a solid next step in their local strategy. But also, it looked amazing too and was well received. Launched in 2018, Windowsen is the brainchild of designer Sensen Lii, who graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. It has a loyal following in China and the rest of the world as a disruptive Gen Z label and has become known as an artistically avant-garde couturier, sharing a similar boundary-pushing ethos as Mac.
3. BEST SNEAKERS: ASICS X SHUSHU/TONG
DATE: December 23
WHY: To top off an active year of brand collaboration, Asics has invited Shanghai-based womenswear brand Shushu/Tong onto its roster. From the oversized bows to the fabulous campaign shoot, this tie-up proves just how much a pair of GEL-MJ sneakers can be the perfect blank slate for an independent designer. On the day of writing this alone, the hashtag #SHUSHUTONGxASICS# has over 3,000 views on Weibo. Across global socials, prior to the release, there are already 2,000 people talking about it with 3,000 organic posts mentioning the brands. Shushu/Tong is sure to benefit from more mainstream exposure, while Asics will be able to deepen its connection to Chinese consumers.COLLAB KING:
COLLAB KING: MELTING SADNESS
COLLABS IN 2022: Adidas Originals, G-Shock, Champion
VERDICT: Helping brands connect to China and revitalizing them with new creativity, Melting Sadness has come up trumps in 2022. Back in March, founder Zhang Quan told Jing Daily, “Our consumers are a young, energetic group of people who have stories and like to listen to stories. They are really interested in the Karoro family. They love each character, find their own traits in every character, and recreate these characters in various forms.” It’s those likeable figures that have been a wonderful vehicle of expression for external names such as G-Shock, Champion and Adidas to relate to Gen Z. For example, G-Shock is welcoming in the Year of the Rabbit by featuring the bunny Karoro character on some watch silhouettes.
The Adidas collaborations have gained Melting Sadness recognition on the global stage, with mentions spiking at every release over the past 12 months. For example, the Chinese New Year limited edition collaboration was discussed a lot in January, with an estimated reach of 578,000 in total for the year.