Dior’s Guochao Menswear Collection Avoids Cultural Clichés

    Dior has become one of the few Western luxury brands to embrace the guochao trend by combining traditional Chinese culture with modern style.
    Traditional Chinese aesthetics incorporated into global luxury fashion. Photo: Courtesy of Dior
    Miranda YuanAuthor
      Published   in Finance

    Social Commerce – selling through social media – is becoming the norm in China. Simply advertising through Tmall is not enough to attract young Chinese consumers. Every month, Dao Insights select the brand that has used Chinese social media in an exemplary way to gain attention.


    : May 2021


    : Dior


    : Dior Fall 2021 Menswear Collection

    Social Platforms#

    : Weibo, WeChat, Xiaohongshu

    About the Campaign#

    There is no doubt that the incorporation of Chinese cultural elements into design, known as guochao (literally, “national trend”), has been one of the key fashion movements of recent years. But think guochao can only be pulled off by Chinese brands? Think again! Dior has become one of the few Western luxury brands to embrace the trend by combining traditional Chinese culture with modern style in its 2021 fall menswear collection.

    The artistic director of Dior’s menswear, Kim Jones, worked with American artist Kenny Scharf to produce a vibrant collection that was influenced by Chinese techniques, craftsmanship, and culture. And the collection wasn’t exclusively for the Chinese market — Dior picked out elements of Chinese culture to show off globally. Integrating the zodiac, jade, traditional seed embroidery, and traditional fan designs, the brand united Chinese heritage with modern fashion. Dior incorporated emblems of Chinese culture in a less overt style than many Chinese New Year collections, which are often criticised by consumers for being doused with red and cultural clichés.

    In a seasonal nod to the approach of summer heat, Dior also offered a fan inspired by Chinese round fans in its collection. Reminiscent of a full moon (a symbol of reunion and happiness), the fan shape holds a special significance in Chinese culture. The 2,000-year-old technique of seed embroidery, which is known for its durability, was used to create Dior’s saddlebags, bringing ancient craftsmanship into the present in a relevant fashion.

    How the Campaign Topped Chinese Social Media#

    An art x luxury playground in Beijing. Photo: Courtesy of Dior via Weibo
    An art x luxury playground in Beijing. Photo: Courtesy of Dior via Weibo


    : Dior first displayed the new collection in an offline fashion show with male Chinese celebrities in December 2020. However, five months later, in May, they revisited the show in greater depth with behind-the-scenes footage on Weibo. By clicking on Dior’s Weibo posts, consumers could be directed to the brand’s official website and to make instant purchases.

    The hashtag for “Dior 2021 Fall Menswear” (#迪奥二零二一秋季男装#) hit 710 million views with users commenting favorably on how Dior had subtly incorporated the zodiac animals into the colourful design.


    : Unlike on Weibo, where content was segmented into separate posts, for WeChat Dior produced a comprehensive article with detailed information and stories about the collection. Playing to WeChat’s popularity as a source of long-form content, Dior explored the inspiration for the collection and the process of designing it. If readers were moved by the article, they could easily buy products through Dior’s WeChat boutique mini program.

    Offline Pop-Up#

    : In late April, Dior launched a pop-up shop in Beijing’s high-end SKP shopping center, with visitors encouraged to share their experiences online. Even walking to the store was part of the brand experience: images of art by Kenny Scharf, who collaborated on the collection, were plastered on the streets around the mall. Murals by the artist were also on display in different cities across China, helping the campaign draw wider coverage.


    : Dior appealed to Xiaohongshu’s user base by integrating its online campaign with offline experiences. The platform’s young, mostly female, users are keen to share their brand interactions online in a phenomenon known as “da ka” (akin to checking in by posting on social media). Xiaohongshu users and fashion influencers posted pictures of the pop-up store on the platform along with images of themselves trying on the new products. This created a ripple effect that attracted more consumers to the offline boutique and increased the campaign’s reach

    Dior’s Subtle Cultural Themes Make Waves on Social Media#

    With guochao continuing to dominate China’s fashion trends, Dior’s Fall 2021 menswear collection successfully tapped into consumers’ eagerness to express culture and heritage through their style both offline and online. The designs subtly combined traditional Chinese culture and craftsmanship into a luxury collection for the global market. Dior’s localized marketing activities in China played to each platform’s strength, creating opportunities for consumers to engage with the cultural undertones and to share their own interactions with the brand’s campaign.

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