In between collab headlines, such as Mugler x H&M announcing their May 11 launch date and Supreme joining Undercover for a hypebeast-worthy outerwear collection, Chinese brands have been busy this week with new releases.
Japanese global powerhouse Asics continues to prove the impact of its localized sportswear strategy, connecting with the mainland’s streetwear lovers via a line with Chinese subculture brand Trouble Smile.
In other news, emerging petwear meets new-age fashion design with Chau Rising x Midu Midu — the pet economy continues to thrive.
Turning to tech, Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi has created Harry Potter smartphone merchandise, evidently following the success of its Astroboy collaboration last year.
For our verdict on these, check out the below. If you want to read more on Chinese brand collaboration, subscribe to the Collabs and Drops newsletter here to receive these weekly updates straight to your inbox.
Asics x Trouble Smile
Date: April 7
Verdict: Jumping on the local streetwear x global sportswear collaboration trend, Asics has tapped three-year-old local brand Trouble Smile. Since it launched, #TroubleSmile# has generated 11.4 million reads on Weibo and been featured in 15,000 conversations on the platform, compared to #Asics#, which has sparked 48,000 conversations, and 96 million reads.
A rising number of sports giants such as Asics, Adidas, Reebok, and Fila have localized their collaboration strategies to connect with Gen Z streetwear fans across the globe. Collaboration is a gateway to subcultures and connecting with these smaller names can provide loyal exposure.
Chau Rising x Midu Midu
Date: Spring 2023
Verdict: China’s pet economy loves brand collaboration. This tie-up of two local names shows there is demand for designer dog outfits in the mainland. The independent designer brand isn’t yet established in China, or the rest of the world. Its London Fashion Week debut was for Fall 2023. For context, this collaboration’s hashtag, #chaurising小灵感#, earned 17,000 reads and just 23 organic discussions on Weibo.
With 907 fans on Weibo and 1,958 on Xiaohongshu, Midu Midu is also an emerging brand. Usually offering tongue-in-cheek designs, from burger outfits for cats to Burger King costumes for dogs, Midu Midu has been able to expand its own product offering through this collaboration, catering to those who love to glam up their pets.
Redmi x Harry Potter
Date: March 28
Verdict: JK Rowling’s world-famous wizard series is loved by China’s Gen Z, making the Harry Potter IP lucrative collab material for brands — now, even for smartphones. Consumers’ familiarity with the franchise makes it a reliable option for the mainstream public. Redmi phones are a fraction of Apple’s prices, too.
Therefore, this pop culture collab looks set to work wonders for engaging the wider public. This release isn’t the first tie-up for Redmi, which in 2022 collaborated with the Astroboy IP that’s also beloved in China. The impact of reaching young people through the incorporation of nostalgic IP into products doesn’t apply only to fashion.