The main appeal of brand collaboration is the opportunity for participating partners to combine their reach, as exemplified by the projects recently released in China.
From Hermès connecting with highbrow culture via architect Li Han, to A.Society extending its fan-base via a capsule with Hong Kong-born singer-songwriter Gareth Tong, the latest brand news in China highlights the liftoff that combining contrasting identities can provide.
Also this week, we look at a non-hyped collector’s piece by Edison Chen and Objective Collectibles.
Hermès x Mr. Li Han
Date: May 26 to June 11
Product: “Scenes of Objects” summer window display and an art exhibition titled “Living Models” by Li Han is being held on the fourth floor of the Hermès Maison in Shanghai
Social context: Hermès has 937,000 fans on Weibo, but the collaboration has not gained much online traction – there are barely any posts about it.
Verdict: Presenting an exhibition by a local talent such as Li Han that references the history of Chinese architecture demonstrates a willingness to authentically support culture.
The role of China in French luxury brand Hermès’ success is no secret, with the brand having seen sales rise 23 percent year on year to €3.3bln ($3.5bln) in the first three months of 2023, driven by Asia and Europe — the mainland being central to that growth.
As the window display features items from Hermès’ collections, it positions the pieces within a deeper Chinese context, increasing the brand’s connection to domestic consumers.
As brands face rising competition for mainland shoppers’ attention, experiential retail has grown in importance — it gives consumers more reasons than just shopping to enter a store.
A.Society x Gareth.T
Date: May 5 to 29, K11 Musea pop-up
Product: Two glasses styles: square-round acetate frame in black, crystal, and turquoise, and a rectangular titanium frame in silver, white and deep green
Social context: Singer-songwriter Gareth Tong has 200,000 followers on Instagram and A.Society has 15,000. The hashtag #A.Society has 22,600 views on Xiaohongshu, but there’s no official hashtag for this collection.
Verdict: From Gentle Monster x Blackpink’s Jennie, to Jean Paul Gaultier x Burna Boy, celebrity-led sunglasses collections are common in the collab-world for a reason: extensive fan bases equal sales.
For this initiative, A.Society is working with a comparatively better known name while at the same time nurturing a long-term relationship. The brand created the artist’s custom eyewear for his first solo concert back in 2022.
The personalized aspect of the latest designs — consumers can customize the colorways with detachable magnetic clip-ons — feeds into Gen Z consumers’ desire for individuality when it comes to fashion choices.
Launched via an exclusive pop-up at K11 Musea, A.Society is positioning itself at the intersection of the arts, supporting local culture while gaining exposure in return.
Edison Chen x Objective Collectibles
Date: June 1
Product: Two EDC Monkey Plush dolls
Social context: The hashtag #ObjectiveCollectibles has been read 661,000 times, but #EDCMonkeyPlush# has received zero engagement, thus far.
Verdict: A collaboration between Clot founder Chen and 360 Toy Group creative director Jakuan Melendez, Objective Collectibles debuted the EDC Monkey Plush doll at fashion-art event DesignerCon.
Having a doll of Edison Chen wearing a bear outfit reflects Objective Collectibles’ playful identity, suggesting it is aimed at a younger generation of collectors. It’s not a hyped-up toy for Clot — it’s yet to sell out, or be listed on resale sites at a price premium. Across social media, engagement has remained really low, suggesting this one didn’t hit streetwear fans’ sweet spot.