A Ruthless Ranking of Luxury Brands, By Way of Chinese Classroom Culture

    By judging earnings, key events, and creative directors, we can see just how much luxury brand rankings have shuffled since last year.
    A short visual guide to explain luxury brands hierarchy in a classroom setting. Photo: Jiaobanbang/WeChat
    Ruonan ZhengAuthor
      Published   in Retail

    It’s back-to-school season again, and students everywhere are trying (and sometimes neglecting) to get good grades. Unlike in America, students in China are often assigned seats according to their academic performance, which gives everyone a visible hierarchy of success.

    So it makes sense to create a pecking order of luxury brands in China using classroom culture as a metaphor. The fashion blogger Jiaobanbang draws similarities between the two and has just updated his unique chart from last year. By judging earnings, key events, and creative directors (the “tutors” of these brands), we can see just how much luxury brand rankings have shuffled since last year. So here is the blogger’s outlook on luxury brands in China for this coming semester (in Chinese):

    The Straight-A students:

    Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermès, Celine, Dior

    This semester marks a close competition between the class’ straight-A students. Louis Vuitton (the top of this class) is under pressure to perform, and fellow classmates are wondering if calling up recent graduate Virgil Abloh would help. Meanwhile, Gucci (the most popular kid) aims to dethrone Louis Vuitton but is pretty stressed out since his revenue growth has slowed. Hermès (the poster child) badly want to ace his tech exam and is not above copying notes off his ‘little brother’ Shangxia on And finally, keep an eye on Dior, who has excelled in her AP classes of haute couture and extra-curricular studies (mostly by stealing LV's coach Kim Jones).

    The Comeback kids:

    Fendi, Bottega Veneta

    Fendi recently aced her publicity test while gaining a ton of logo exposure, so her grade shot up from mediocre to above average, but her friend Bottega Veneta is still trying to shrug off the "underperforming student" tag from last year. Aside from working with a new tutor, the fashion house is also cramming for Chinese 101 in order to connect with the post-00s, but will it work?

    The Extraordinary Students:

    Chanel, Supreme

    Chanel is known as an "A student," but no one really knew how much potential she had. Fortunately, her tutor Karl Lagerfeld disclosed her grade book from last year not long ago, and it turns out she's an A+ student after all. In stark contrast, the transfer student Supreme never dreamed he could thrive in the same classroom as this group of prestigious students, but his performance in an extra-curriculum project with LV won him a seat. Then The Carlyle Group adopted him and his teacher began to see his tremendous potential as an artist. Now, his logo is everywhere and he’s been assigned group projects with Rimowa and Tag Heuer.

    The Teacher’s Pets:

    Burberry, Rimowa

    Burberry achieved an exceptionally good grade last semester, and his newly appointed tutor, Riccardo Tisci, is giving this British boy a much-needed makeover. But look out for Rimowa, who LVMH took in as a gifted student that's now working on group assignments with Supreme, Fendi, and Off-White.

    The Flawless Girls:

    Bvlgari, Valentino

    Bvlgari took the crown during Chinese Valentine’s Day with a string of high marks, but she is also LVMH’s spoiled princess who’s been hosting playhouses all over the world. This year she wants to learn Japanese, so she’s been paired with Koki, the daughter of legendary Japanese idol Kimura Takuya. Valentino is trying hard to fit in here, even revamping her name to VLAN in the hopes of becoming the poster child for the booming athleisure market.

    The Problematic Student:


    Balenciaga is no longer an honors student because his style is too easily copied, and after a fight with his Chinese teacher, it looks like he’s in deep trouble. But his tutor, Demma Gvasalia, stated that everything is fine and asked the public not to doubt his skill or criticize his work. Ugh!

    The Lost Child:


    It’s hard to know whether Prada wants good grades or not. He came back to the classroom after fooling around in the stock market for a while, and now he might be too late to the game—all while his classmate and good friend Fendi makes a strong comeback.

    The Underperforming Students:

    Victoria’s Secret, Zara

    Social Queen Victoria’s Secret loves to host parties, even if it means missing out on good grades, while transfer student Zara, who comes from a very wealthy family, is constantly copying homework off his classmates, with some even suing him over it. Fortunately, his rich dad is there to smooth things over.

    Discover more
    Daily BriefAnalysis, news, and insights delivered to your inbox.