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    Uniqlo’s K-pop Treasure collab set to be a hit in China

    Streetwear is trending in this week’s brand collaboration spotlights, from Chinese skateboarding favorite Pin Sktbs joining New Era to K-pop band Treasure taking on the high street.
    Boy band Treasure is set to release a Uniqlo collection in May 2024. Photo: Uniqlo
      Published   in Collaborations

    The brand making headlines amid this week’s outpouring of Chinese streetwear collaborations is Supreme. The New York City skate powerhouse has announced that its Shanghai store will open this Saturday, featuring an exclusive jade T-shirt and hoodie collection.

    Also in skate news this week, mainland favorite Pin Sktbs has collided with New Era on a collection. Two months on from the sneaker silhouette’s official debut, Li-Ning’s Yu Shuai Ultra has been made over by Billionaire Boys Club for a limited-edition release.

    Lastly, this week, we analyze Uniqlo’s latest merchandise-led collection with K-pop band Treasure — it’s set to be a hit among Chinese netizens. Read on for our verdict on these and subscribe here to receive brand collaboration news like this to your inbox every Tuesday.

    Pin Sktbs x New Era#

    Pin Sktbs joins New Era for a collection that has an air of Ivy League. Photo: Pin Sktbs x New Era Weibo
    Pin Sktbs joins New Era for a collection that has an air of Ivy League. Photo: Pin Sktbs x New Era Weibo

    Details: Collection, March 23

    Social context: New Era China has 644,000 fans on Weibo, while #Pin Sktbs has 676,000 reads at the time of writing, and the New Era hashtag (#New Era不设限)

    has 15.281 million reads. Pin Sktbs has 19,600 followers on Instagram.

    Verdict:

    • Chinese streetwear brand Pin Sktbs’ name is an abbreviation of “Pin skateboards.” The Shanghainese brand mostly sells on Taobao, and operates over 10 stores across China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. It’s therefore a natural vehicle for New Era to connect with the market.
    • Previous local Pin Sktbs collabs have included Umbro, Badmarket, and Li-Ning; all of which have been inspired by skateboarding culture – as Pin Sktbs is a skate brand, it is a name that global brands are teaming up with to connect with the subculture.
    • New Era has a broader reach than Pin Skbtbs, but it does not have the level of community surrounding the skate brand – this collaboration also strengthens its streetwear aesthetic, expanding its image beyond being solely a sportswear brand.

    Uniqlo x Treasure#

    The Uniqlo x Treasure collection stars the band's most popular song lyrics. Photo: Uniqlo
    The Uniqlo x Treasure collection stars the band's most popular song lyrics. Photo: Uniqlo

    Details: T-shirt collection, May 2024

    Social context: On Weibo, #UT has 120 million reads, and #Treasure has 1.56 billion reads. Over on Xiaohongshu, #Treasure has 188.8 million views, and #Uniqlo has 176.1 million.

    Verdict:

    • Merchandise is a growing phenomenon, especially for K-pop, making this a clever move from Uniqlo’s UT subsidiary.
    • There are six T-shirts dedicated to six of Treasure’s songs (Boy, I Love You, Jikjin, Darari, Hello, and Bona bona), featuring designs from the CD covers and the band’s signature graphics.
    • Despite Uniqlo boasting a large fanbase having entered the mainland back in 2002, Treasure’s following, which the band has grown since 2019, is even bigger — this is, therefore, a great route to connect with China, and the rest of Asia.

    Li-Ning x Billionaire Boys Club#

    Billionaire Boys Club takes on Li-Ning's new favorite sneaker. Photo: Li-Ning
    Billionaire Boys Club takes on Li-Ning's new favorite sneaker. Photo: Li-Ning

    Details: Li-Ning Yu Shuai Ultra “Billionaire Boys Club” Limited Edition sneakers, raffle winners announced March 16

    Social context: #Yushaiultra (#驭帅Ultra) has 8.79 million reads on Weibo, where Billionaire Boys Club has 21,000 fans and Li-Ning has 444,000.

    Verdict:

    • The Li-Ning Yushai Ultra Mid is a new sneaker by the sportswear giant that was launched in January 2024 – this is the first collaborative model.
    • Part of the two brands’ Lunar New Year collection launched on January 15, the sneakers are being launched via a hype-driven distribution model, utilizing a lottery.
    • Considering it only launched back in January, the social media noise surrounding the Yushai Ultra silhouette proves it has successfully generated some hype – a great choice for the Billionaire Boys Club collection.

    • Uniqlo’s subsidiary division UT is launching a collaboration with K-pop band Treasure in May, and netizens are already talking about it. On Weibo, #Treasure has 1.56 billion reads and #UT has 120 million.
    • The 2024 Li-Ning Yushai Ultra Mid, which has an official hashtag boasting 8.79 million reads on Weibo, has been reimagined as part of the Billionaire Boys Club collection.
    • One of the mainland’s favorite skate brands, Pin Sktbs has joined forces with New Era, following on from collaborations with the likes of Umbro, Badmarket, and Li-Ning.
    • Chinese streetwear brands continue to be a vehicle for global players to connect with pockets of subcultures in mainland China, due to them having access to these communities. But is there an element of brand dilution that they need to consider when reeling out so many co-branded collections?
    • New Era’s tie-up with Pin Sktbs is another example of how the mainland’s skate culture is thriving, with many global brands such as Supreme expanding in the market.
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