Michael Kors Triples Down on China

From adding a new e-commerce channel to naming a dual-brand ambassadorship to pushing forward a 360 degree Qixi (七夕) marketing campaign, the American fashion brand Michael Kors is making major moves in China right now, as its parent company, Capri Holdings, is looking to grow the Kors Asian business to one billion USD in the next few years.

During the Capri Holdings’ 2019 Investor Day in New York City, on June 4, 2019, Chairman and CEO John Idol emphasized the strategic importance of the Asian market for Michael Kors. Given this, the brand aims to increase its business there from 12 percent to 20 percent to combat its shortcomings back in the United States. As the world’s second-largest economy, China is a critical region for the brand, with a growing appetite for high-quality fashion and luxury products from its growing middle- and upper-middle-class consumers.

Michael Kors

Michael Kors aims to increase its business in Asia from 12 percent to 20 percent in coming years. Photo: Micheal Kors’ Investor Day presentation

In recent years, Michael Kors has already invested plenty of resources in marketing and branding in China. The brand’s public awareness and relevance were enhanced, however, when it started to collaborate with the country’s top-tier celebrity Yang Mi around 2016. As the actress became the face of Versace of late (the high-end label under Capri Holdings), Michael Kors has started to tap into the power of two next-generation stars. In early July, the brand named Leo Wu, its first Greater China ambassador, and Lareina Song as its newest China brand ambassador. Both celebrities are quite popular among the country’s Gen-Z population, which should help Michael Kors break into this segment.

Wu and Song will soon appear in the brand’s 2019 Qixi campaign to celebrate the Chinese traditional Valentine’s Day, which falls on August 7 this year. The campaign was shot by world-renowned Chinese photographer Kai Z Feng to convey the signature speed, energy and optimism of Michael Kors, while highlighting the brand’s Qixi graffiti print. This year’s Qixi capsule, launched worldwide on July 19, included products across several categories, with the special Qixi graffiti print found on handbags, sneakers, slides, outerwear, ready-to-wear, watches, and jewelry.

“It is important to us at Michael Kors to anticipate the desires and share the celebrations of our customers around the globe. Qixi is a special time for our Chinese consumers, so we are excited to offer our second Qixi capsule inspired by the romance of the holiday. The expanded capsule will be available worldwide — as it was last year. The intention being to meet our customers wherever they shop,” a spokesperson of Michael Kors told Jing Daily.


Leo Wu and Loraine Song starred in Michael Kor’s 2019 Qixi campaign. Photo: courtesy of Michael Kors

The brand also designed a customized game powered by a WeChat Mini Program to guide users to discover the special offerings for this Qixi festival. Winners of the game will even have a chance to meet Leo Wu and Lareina Song in person at the brand’s offline Qixi event in Chengdu.

Additionally, Michael Kors added Alibaba’s B2C marketplace Tmall and the luxury portal Luxury Pavilion as the newest e-commerce sales channel for its Chinese shoppers on July 18. Michael Kors was also among the earliest luxury players in China to see the potential of e-commerce in China. And now, after running its own direct brand e-commerce store for years, the Tmall launch is a big move for the brand — hopefully, one that will reach as many of the platform’s 700 million consumers as possible, and confirm that their new initiatives are on target.