New York Fashion Week’s schedule has officially ended and London’s has just begun, which means the Fashion Week circuit is well and truly in full swing. Here, Jing Daily shifts its attention to highlights from the Big Apple outing as Fall/Winter 2022 saw plenty of designers return to the physical schedule.
This comes as more international editors and influencers are expected to sit front row at the major shows. However, that does not mean that we didn’t see disruptions (Tom Ford, Thom Brown, and others either postponed or skipped out). Many labels continued to opt for less traditional ways of presenting too — whether it was imagery, digital films, or something else equally bespoke, such as Maisie Schloss’ virtual models.
Even though Fashion Week capitals are opening up to various degrees, there’s still a noticeable lack of Chinese industry professionals and celebrities in attendance due to the country’s strict zero-COVID policy. Therefore, the onus is still on brands to cater to and engage these absent buyers, consumers, and KOLs. Meanwhile, it can also be said that some local names (perhaps now with more faith in their home market), on the whole, placed less emphasis on the schedule and their activations, promoting their Spring Summer collections instead.
When it comes to the big global names, the schedule’s stalwart Michael Kors was boosted by its Chinese ambassadors, actresses Gao Yuanyuan and Bai Lu, as well as the singer Wang Feifei, who all amplified the show by posting invitations and inviting followers to watch live. The house followed in the footsteps of Louis Vuitton, which livestreamed its Spring Summer 22 Menswear show on Douyin rival, Kuaishou. The total views on China’s livestreaming platforms totaled 13.5 million and the “All American” line saw its Kuaishou profile gain over 10,000 followers from the event.
Contemporary Coach made a strong appearance too, and netizens praised the “retro vibe” of the collections calling it “next level.” And finally, from nostalgic to futuristic, New York also took on the metaverse — with mixed results. Jonathan Simkhai, Maisie Wilen, and Imitation of Christ all explored the concept, while Eckhaus Latta and Altuzarra delved into the metaverse-adjacent category of luxury NFTs. Overall, it was a glitzy event which seemed to say we have stepped on, and out.
This season, Jing Daily will analyze* its highlights from the luxury brands and local designers showing at all four fashion capitals using the following parameters:
Brand history: considers existing brand history in China, including overall presence, social reach, number of stores, earning trends, and brand missteps.
Market potential: analyzes local consumer preference for the brand through design (how the brand’s collection will speak to the Chinese audience based on current trends and preferences) and digital impact (netizen mentions and perceptions on leading social media platforms including Weibo, WeChat, and Xiaohongshu).
KOL & celebrity visibility: consider the star power associated with the brand through strategic KOL and celebrity partnerships.
Special brand efforts: consider special programs or efforts on a brand’s part to speak to the Chinese audience. Company or brand contributions toward the ongoing virus crisis are also considered.
*Including data supplied by Vfluencer. Vfluencer is a competitive intelligence platform for China’s digital commerce landscape, helping brands optimize sales and marketing.
Brand history: The brand entered Greater China in 2011 and opened its first flagship store in Asia at the Kerry Center in Shanghai in 2014. It currently has over 100 stores in mainland China and online boutiques on platforms including Tmall, JD.com, and a WeChat Mini Program. It also has nearly 700,000 followers on Weibo.
Market potential: The F/W22 runway show has been reported by leading fashion media and KOLs such as IF Fashion, Sina Fashion and @Fashion_Bangz. Most of the online discussions focused on its strong lineup of catwalk models and the runway venue — Terminal 5, a New York City music venue in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan — as well as the Grammy winner Miguel’s performance.
KOL & celebrity visibility: The brand collaborated with Bai Lu (brand ambassador for jewelry and watches in China, Wang Feifei (brand ambassador for Greater China) and Gao Yuanyuan (brand global ambassador) to build pre-show hype. As of publication, #MKCFW2022# has garnered 2 million views on Weibo. Meanwhile, supermodels such as Natasha Poly, Irina Shayk, and Bella and Gigi Hadid, who are beloved by Chinese fashion enthusiasts, also contributed to the collection’s social traffic in China.
Special brand efforts: Livestreaming was the key communication vehicle for this season for Michael Kors, which garnered over 13 million views across all platforms. Moreover, a few days ahead of the show, the brand released a series of video teasers spotlighting cocktails tutorials to engage Chinese netizens.
Brand history: With 265 boutiques and outlet stores in China, Coach has been a leading player in the country’s affordable luxury sector. However, its dominance in the local market has recently been challenged by emerging designer brands and other players competing in the same or lower price positioning.
Market potential: The American leather goods brand enjoys a high awareness in the domestic market, often being seen as one of the go-to brands for affordable handbags. This season’s collection draws from archival Coach pieces and gives them a modern twist. The retro-chic vibe and bright colors have been well received by local netizens, with both Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar giving the collection a great deal of exposure online.
KOL & celebrity visibility: Amid the ongoing pandemic and China’s travel restrictions, there were no domestic KOLs or celebrities present at the show in New York. However, the label’s front row garnered netizen attention from Megan Thee Stallion’s video spotting Euphoria breakout star Angus Cloud having a bite to eat.
Special brand efforts: Due to time zone differences, Coach did not livestream the show. Instead, the brand posted the 10-minute show on Weibo, which to date, has enjoyed more than 710,000 views.
Brand history: Having launched her namesake designer brand in 2004, Tory Burch now has more than 300 stores worldwide, with 75 stores in Tier-1 and Tier-2 Chinese cities.
Market potential: Tory Burch is doubling down on its online exposure in China. Over 20 fashion bloggers and media brands, with a combined following of 146 million, posted about the brand’s latest collection. Although the traffic hasn’t been directed to the label’s official account, the posts were flooded with positive comments, suggesting that China could be a bright spot for Tory Burch in 2022.
KOL & celebrity visibility: Alongside its show, another Tory Burch’s collection has been grabbing the attention of local netizens — its Spring collection campaign, which featured super models Liu Wen and He Cong, received strong attention and praise from local consumers.
Special brand efforts: Although the video of the fashion show on its official website received few views (4K on Weibo), the effort paid off thanks to fashion KOLs and media outlets posting about the show. Yet, if Tory Burch wants to keep up its momentum in China, leveraging celebrities could be an option to redirect the traffic to its own channels.
Brand history: Jason Wu, a New York-based global design talent, has recently become more active in China, launching its first flagship store in Shanghai last year. Wu’s personal Weibo account has also amassed a total of 65,000 followers.
Market potential: Jason Wu’s Fall 2022 collection has received significant attention from both media outlets and fashion KOLs. Sina Fashion, @Elephant Kingdom, @FashionQueen, each of them commanding nearly 10 million followers each on Weibo, have all shared posts from the show. Moreover, the presence of voluminous and colorful dresses have appealed to local netizens who praised the collection using adjectives such as “elegant,” “graceful,” and “exquisite.”
KOL & celebrity visibility: The label has been working to attract local netizen attention through frequent celebrity seedings. For example, prior to the fashion show, the brand decked out renowned singer Zhang Bichen for a concert on CCTV. So far, the post has been one of Jason Wu’s top performing posts.
Special brand efforts: Two days before the collection presentation, Jason Wu also dropped a series of reminders online, inviting followers to watch the runway livestreaming on NYFW.com. However, the lack of a local livestream platform for NYFW limited Wu’s exposure to a domestic audience.
Brand history: Carolina Herrera has not launched on any e-commerce platforms in China but owns official social media accounts on Weibo and WeChat.
Market potential: The brand is known by Chinese audiences, thanks to the red shoulder-padded pleated dress worn by Meng Wanzhou when she returned to China and Eileen Gu’s dress at the Met Gala last year. Though the brand has dressed Chinese female stars, including Song Qian, Li Yuchun, and Jin Chen, it has not established long-term collaborations with any local celebrities.
KOL & celebrity visibility: This collection has been reported on by local media outlets such as Vogue China, ELLE China, and WWD China. However, no Chinese celebrities were engaged in communications.
Special brand efforts: In addition to posting runway looks and videos, the brand invited local fashion KOLs like Gong Jing to watch the livestream and share her reviews on Weibo.
Brand history: Gabriela Hearst launched its Weibo account in August 2020, garnering 11,000 followers thus far. It also opened its WeChat account in September 2021. However, the brand has no physical stores or online shops in China. Last December, the brand opened a pop-up store at Beijing SKP, its first official presence in China.
Market potential: This season’s spotlight on gender discourses that have long occupied LGBTQ communities barely resonated with Chinese netizens.
KOL & celebrity visibility: The brand did not collaborate with any celebrities and KOLs for the show. However, the show was posted by fashion media such as Tencent Fashion, Sina Fashion, and KOL @Fashion_Mok.
Special brand efforts: The brand only posted a virtual show invitation on Weibo and has not posted any runway looks as of February 17.
Brand history: Founded by creative duo Siying Qu and Haoran Li, Private Policy is a New York-based genderless and inclusive label. The brand is also popular in China, where it counts 24,000 followers on Weibo, and is currently stocked at 12 major Chinese department and multi-brand stores, including Labelhood, LMDS, and ENG.
Market potential: Thanks to its previous appearance in the domestic variety show Fourtry, the brand has quickly gained domestic recognition. However, for this collection the duo has chosen not to promote it on Chinese platforms, and only fashion blogger @Pipijuice and Sina Fashion posted about the runway looks. Given its small social reach, engagement has been very low.
KOL & celebrity visibility: Despite the decision to not promote their latest collection on local social media platforms, Private Policy is working to reach young Chinese consumers through dressing renowned stars like Wang Junkai and also the virtual influencer, AYAYI.
Special brand efforts: Last year, Private Policy partnered with local fashion retailer Urban Revivo to co-create a collection. Needless to say, the collaboration has helped the young designer brand to reach a broader audience in China. The avant-garde designs were well received by local consumers, who, however, demanded that the collection be released in more sizes.
Brand history: Established in New York in 2014, PH5 is a contemporary women’s knitwear brand founded by Wei Lin and designed by the Parsons-trained, award-winning designer, Zoe Champion. The edgy, yet feminine designs have quickly gained the attention of local stores, namely SKP, Lafayette, Lane Crawford, and others.
Market potential: PH5’s F/W 2022 collection was presented at a bizarre setting. While the show’s name was “Stay on Earth,” the event took the audience to another planet, where umbrellas were jellyfishes, models were wearing nail shaped glass helmets, and aliens and dinosaurs showed up as well. The unusual presentation positively surprised netizens and was posted about by fashion KOL @Neil王静昌 and media outlet Tencent Fashion.
KOL & celebrity visibility: The Chinese label’s founder clearly knows how to garner the attention of local shoppers. Posts about celebrities and influencers are populating her Weibo account, and PH5 regularly makes appearances in domestic magazines.
Special brand efforts: The brand is currently concentrating its efforts on promoting its Spring collection, which is now available to purchase through its stockists. This might reflect a “see now, buy now” approach towards local consumers, who are used to getting what they order super-fast. The same tactic is also used by the Chinese designer brand Private Policy.
Brand history: Founded in 2015, American fashion brand CLAUDIA LI has developed a distinctive brand identity in silhouettes, prints, and textures by combining a quirky and playful design aesthetic with an emphasis on detail. The founder of the brand, Claudia Li, was born in Hunan province, grew up in Singapore and New Zealand, graduated from the Parsons School of Design, and worked for Lady Gaga’s creative team, Haus of GaGa, as well as designer brands like Brandon Maxwell and JW Anderson. In 2017, Claudia Li made the Forbes “30 Under 30” list in the art and style category. The brand established an official Weibo in 2013, but the number of followers is less than 3,000 due to a lack of systemic operations. So far, the brand has no official channels in China, nor has it launched on any e-commerce platforms.
Market potential: The designer brand put little effort into communicating with Chinese audiences; instead, it introduced its Instagram account on Weibo. Although the label is seven years old, its brand awareness in China is still very low.
KOL & celebrity visibility: In 2020, the brand’s products were featured by celebrities like Wan Qian, THE-9, and He Sui, as well as fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. However, there was little media exposure after that. There is only one media account, @YIJIN, sharing the brand’s runway looks on Weibo.
Special brand efforts: The brand’s official WeChat and Weibo accounts have not been updated for six months and have not shared anything about the show.
Brand history: The New York-based brand has official social accounts on Weibo and Xiaohongshu, with combined followers of 1,319. They have not developed DTC channels in China but are stocked by local partners like Labelhood and Dongliang.
Market potential: Since its two official accounts in China were just established, fans and traffic are very limited.
KOL & celebrity visibility: There was no KOL, celebrity, or media sharing of its show this season.
Special brand efforts: The brand has not updated anything about its show as of February 18.
Reported by Lisa Nan, Wenzhuo Wu, and Gemma A. Williams