IMG Deal Will Bring US Designers To A Huge Chinese Audience

What Happened: This season, NYFW partner and global event juggernaut IMG will stream September’s Spring 21 shows across China. If China’s fashion elite can’t attend New York Fashion Week, then the show, it seems, will do its best to ensure designers don’t miss out on visibility in the country. Thanks to digital collaborations with Alibaba’s video-streaming site Youku (China’s equivalent of YouTube) and the e-commerce platforms Taobao and Tmall, American designers’ collections will be broadcast to a potential audience of nearly 900 million viewers.

This streaming collaboration is just the NYFW stakeholders’ latest attempt to engage a Chinese audience through its evolving business partnership. In previous seasons, Tmall has held physical shows and activations in New York that showcased designers like Li-Ning, Angel Chen, and Cheng Peng. Now, brands such as Rebecca Minkoff, Jonathan Simkhai, and Cyntia Rowley will gain unprecedented visibility among China’s fashion-watchers through IMG and Tmall.

The Jing Take: According to Jennifer Taylor, vice president, global consulting and business development, at IMG’s fashion events and properties group, this was a timely answer to fashion’s changing landscape. “Given what we are all going through at the moment,” she said, “we wondered what would be the most valuable partnership to bring to the event and the designers it supports.” The answer was to ensure digital magnification to China’s consumers, which is a strong indicator of China’s post-pandemic standing in global luxury consumption as the fashion industry continues to turn eastward.

Meanwhile, IMG has been collaborating with Alibaba for several years and is active in the China market, but it has yet to exert a presence on China’s social media platforms. The American designers also have a range of footprints in China, ranging from stores on Tmall and other e-tailers to nothing at all. The deal is bound to be a unique moment of discovery and awareness for American designers, but it’s also likely to boost IMG’s profile in China. Its next step will be to build on this new social currency.

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.