What Happened: Irish designer Simone Rocha’s long-awaited collaboration with H&M simultaneously crashed the Chinese version of the fast-fashion retailer’s website, WeChat mini-program, and app. The collection, featuring womenswear, menswear, and childrenswear, was released at midnight on March 11, when, for two hours, frustrated fans were unable to purchase A-line coats, tulle dresses, or ribbon & pearl-embellished accessories.
Before the release, a livestream on Tmall’s Hey Live platform promoted the campaign in China, as augmented reality pop-up books containing QR codes were being mailed all around the world to enable influencers to enter a Simone Rocha x H&M portal.
The Jing Take: H&M’s high-profile design collaborations always do well, and many sell out, which adds to their appeal. This time, it hit the sweet spot by tapping Rocha’s whimsical, feminine designs and fairytale aesthetic, which are so beloved by Gen-Z consumers.
A vast number of fashion KOLs who align with this girly brand promoted the collection in the run-up to the release, from actress Song Zuer (@宋祖儿lareina, 15 million fans) to @SunnieLovesFashion (four million devotees). Minibazaar devoted a digital cover page to actress Mao Xiaotong (@毛晓彤, 19 million followers) who wore a piece, while @Real阿兰 (six million fans) also graced the pages of the digital magazine wearing choice pieces.
This strategy worked beyond belief, crashing the site (for which H&M apologized) and generating over 8.67M views and 11,000 discussions on Weibo. But for some dismayed and fiercely loyal fans, it worked a little too well, and the thought of not being able to buy an item sent them into freefall. Some even threatened to sue H&M. Disgruntled fan @好爱宅的kitty君 asked: “Is it just for KOLs and celebrities? We don’t deserve it?” Unfortunately, it seems not everyone can be a Disney Princess.
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.