Balenciaga hits meme fashion limits with Alipay T-shirt

    Balenciaga lands another innovative meme-driven design, while following Pop Mart’s Clot Skullpanda 1,000% back in September, Puma is next to snap up the IP.
    Balenciaga's Alipay collaboration has been featured in Xiaohongshu's Balenciaga ugly fashion hashtag by consumers. Image: Balenciaga
      Published   in Fashion

    Further demonstrating how fashion is intersecting with e-commerce and popular culture, this week’s Chinese brand collaborations spotlight luxury ready-to-wear, China’s art toy market, and streetwear.

    Balenciaga’s integration with Alipay is a fusion of fashion and a household name/digital innovator, while Puma’s venture with Popmart showcases the blending of sportswear and collecting culture. Finally, Clot’s partnership with Lu'u Dan exemplifies the rich fusion of Eastern and Western streetwear influences in mainland China.

    Each of these collaborations demonstrates the dynamic ways brands are engaging with diverse audiences and staying relevant in a rapidly evolving market. Read on for our verdict on these and subscribe here to receive this news directly to your inbox every Tuesday.

    Puma x Pop Mart#

    Image: Puma x Pop Mart
    Image: Puma x Pop Mart

    Details: Skullpanda IP clothing and accessories collection

    Social context: On Xiaohongshu, #popmart has 66.2 million reads, #skullpanda 42.1 million, and #puma 211.7 million.


    • From Uniqlo to Clot, Pop Mart feeds its popularity through co-branded clothing capsules, producing merchandise that people will actually wear. Skullpanda is one of the company’s most popular IPs.
    • Pop Mart’s main consumer demographic is aged between 16 and 28, making it a platform for Puma to connect with young Chinese consumers and maintain its relevance as a global streetwear name by tapping local popular culture.
    • Though Puma has a larger following across Chinese social media apps, Pop Mart’s target audience and connection to national pride and culture underscore its value.

    Clot x Lu'u Dan#

    Shorts from the 12-piece Clot x Lựu Dạn collection. Image: Lựu Dạn
    Shorts from the 12-piece Clot x Lựu Dạn collection. Image: Lựu Dạn

    Details: Collection, May 27

    Social context: On Xiaohongshu, #luudan has just 2,810 reads, whereas #clot has 11.1 million.


    • The Clot x Lu'u Dan collection blends old-school streetwear with punk rock elements, using fashion as a medium to tell the autobiographical story of American-Vietnamese designer Hung La. It aims to present a redefinition of contemporary Asian identity through a unique, cross-cultural lens.
    • Standing out with their reinterpretations of streetwear basics, the designs pay homage to Clot’s role in Asian streetwear while introducing a gritty, gangster-inspired aesthetic that comes from Lựu đạn.
    • Photographed in London’s Chinatown, the campaign captures the essence of the Lu'u Dan consumers navigating the vibrant, bustling streets. This setting symbolizes the merging of past, present, and future, emphasizing the role of streetwear in bridging Eastern and Western cultural influences to create a dynamic, evolving Asian identity.

    Balenciaga x Alipay#

    Screenshots of Balenciaga x Alipay on Xiaohongshu. Image: Xiaohongshu
    Screenshots of Balenciaga x Alipay on Xiaohongshu. Image: Xiaohongshu

    Details: Mainland-exclusive T-shirt, May 30

    Social context: On Xiaohongshu, #BalenciagaAlipay (巴黎世家支付宝) has just 70,800 reads, though #Balenciaga has 488.1 million and #Alipay has 3.7 million.


    • Market fusion and novelty: A unique blend of fashion and fintech, aimed at capturing consumer interest through novel and cross-industry synergies.
    • The T-shirt leverages the normcore fashion appeal, attracting widespread attention on Chinese social media, with users referencing Balenciaga's ironic fashion style.
    • Strategically launched online and in select physical stores following its unveiling at a high-profile fashion show in Shanghai, the T-shirt is targeting exclusivity and driving immediate discussions and publicity despite mixed reactions.
    Discover more
    Daily BriefAnalysis, news, and insights delivered to your inbox.