What Happened: The new Adidas x Gucci luxury umbrella is causing quite a storm in China. The item, which has gone live but is still unavailable for purchase, features a lavish birchwood handle and is emblazoned with Adidas’ trefoil print and Gucci’s signature trim. Even though netizens must join a waiting list to get their hands on it, two issues have already become hot topics. Firstly, the high price point — it retails for over $1,600 (11,000 RMB). And perhaps more surprisingly, its permeability: its production description states it is “non-waterproof.” The associated hashtag #not waterproof collab umbrella sold at 11000 yuan# has 130 million views so far and counting.
The Jing Take: There’s plenty to unpack here. On one level, it shows how stringently local consumers scrutinize merchandise; it also illustrates how quickly any issues they disagree with gain traction. However, it’s not only the wrath of online sleuths or “Holmeses” 福尔摩斯 that brands need to be wary of: the country’s market supervisors are watching closely too. Last week, Lululemon was fined by the Beijing Xicheng District Market Supervision Bureau for selling poorly-made products. This follows fines on Bally, H&M, Chanel, and others for various transgressions such as mislabelling.
Gucci reacted quickly. Its official China site altered the product name from 雨伞 meaning “rain umbrella” to 伞 which stands for umbrella only (and can be understood to mean a parasol). This illustrates a strong local team who are listening carefully to its prized Chinese consumer base — and then acting on it.
Although netizens were questioning the cost, ultimately the online discussion has only widened the exposure for the duo’s pairing. In fact, there will be plenty of HNWI who will be keen to showboat it in a rainstorm — and its high price tag. An umbrella that isn’t waterproof? Fashion is built on such beautiful impracticalities.
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.