China News Brief
    April 09, 2024

    Lululemon co-launches collection with racing driver Zhou Guanyu; Court criticizes Armani unit’s use of ‘Chinese workshops’; Damages awarded in Lacoste trademark case.
    Zhou Guanyu, right, greets fans ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Albert Park Circuit on March 21, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Getty Images

    Lululemon co-launches collection with Zhou Guanyu#

    Lululemon marked  the 20th anniversary of the F1 Shanghai Grand Prix by teaming up with brand ambassador and racing driver Zhou Guanyu. The brand introduced a limited edition Zhou Guanyu 2024 commemorative collection, featuring designs co-created with Zhou. Additionally, a special exhibition titled From 2004 to 2024 showcasing Zhou’s home debut is being held at Lululemon’s store in Shanghai’s Jing’an Kerry Center until May 13. Zhou currently competes in Formula One for Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber. He is the first, and so far the only, Chinese driver to start a World Championship Formula One race.

    Court criticizes Armani unit’s use of ‘Chinese workshops’#

    An Italian court has imposed  partial judicial administration on a unit of luxury fashion group Armani due to labor law violations by its subcontractors, revealed in a ruling made public last Friday. While Giorgio Armani Operations, solely owned by Giorgio Armani and responsible for the label’s clothing and accessories design and production, is not directly implicated, its supplier, Manifatture Lombarde, was found employing undocumented migrants in Milan to produce Armani bags and accessories. The court appointed a consultant for a year to enhance supplier relations, emphasizing the preventative nature of the measure. Despite an ethical code banning subcontractors, Manifatture Lombarde outsourced production to unsanitary “Chinese workshops,” leading to exploitation of workers, including excessive hours and poor safety conditions. The Armani group affirmed awareness of the court’s decision, stressing ongoing efforts to minimize supply chain abuses and pledging transparency in addressing the issue.

    Damages awarded in Lacoste trademark case#

    Lacoste has emerged  victorious in a trademark infringement lawsuit against Cartelo, a brand operated by South Pole E-commerce. The ruling by the Beijing Higher People’s Court determined that Cartelo’s use of a crocodile logo, similar to Lacoste’s iconic emblem, constituted trademark infringement. This legal victory underscores Lacoste’s efforts to protect its brand identity and reputation in the Chinese market. The court’s decision ordered South Pole E-commerce to cease the infringing activities and pay approximately 14.8 million RMB ($2.28 million) in damages to Lacoste. This case sheds light on the ongoing challenge of distinguishing between Lacoste, Cartelo, and Crocodile, three brands deeply entrenched in the Chinese fashion landscape. Despite the ruling, the blurred lines between these brands persist, reflecting broader issues of trademark protection and brand recognition in China’s competitive market environment.

    Dylan Wang opens store in Shanghai#

    Celebrity Dylan Wang’s personal brand, D.Desirable, opened  a store on Sunday in Shanghai’s Xuhui District. The store’s first day was invitation-only, with it opening to the public yesterday. Fans traveled from afar to queue up, even in rainy weather. This was likely due to D.Desirable’s crowd control measures, allowing only three people in at a time. D.Desirable is divided into two floors: the first floor is a café, while the second floor features clothing.

    Anessa unveils K-pop ambassador#

    Japanese sunscreen brand Anessa yesterday announced  K-pop idol Song Yuqi as its brand ambassador. Anessa, under Shiseido, has joined forces with the member of girl group I-dle, to introduce the sunscreen concept of “day protection, night repair.”

    L’Oréal names new brand rep#

    L’Oréal has announced singer and actress Tang Yan as its new brand ambassador. Tang played the character of Miss Wang in director Wong Kar-wai’s hit TV drama Blossoms Shanghai.

    Saucony launches female-focused collection#

    Saucony has introduced  the For Her series tailored for female consumers, focusing on urban exercise needs. Partnering with brand friend actress Maggie Q, they highlight the modern woman’s lifestyle. The series, from shoe design to clothing, addresses various exercise scenarios.

    Kering secures prime location in Milan#

    Kering has announced  its acquisition of a prestigious building on Via Montenapoleone in Milan for 1.3 billion euros ($1.43 billion) from a subsidiary of Blackstone Property Partners Europe. The historic 18th-century palazzo spans five floors and houses tenants including Saint Laurent, Cova, Prada, and Giuseppe Zanotti. Kering’s strategic real estate investment aligns with its focus on securing prime locations for its luxury brands. Milan’s Via Montenapoleone ranks as one of the world’s most expensive retail streets, with increasing rents surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Kering’s move follows similar acquisitions by luxury brands in Manhattan and reflects the fierce competition for retail spaces in key markets. Prada, in particular, is expanding its presence in Milan, with plans for significant developments hinting at ambitious retail strategies for the future.