Known for championing independent designers via its carefully curated selection of talent, presented alongside artistic installations, this month has seen Chinese concept store ENG open a new Beijing location on August 11, which joins two existing boutiques in Shanghai, and flagship stores in Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Chengdu.
Collaboration has played a crucial part in the retailer’s expansion. It worked with American designer and creative polymath Eli Russell Linnetz on an installation in December last year, and is now launching exclusive designs by cult global names, such as New York-based Rui Zhou, French brand Coperni, and south London-based KNWLS.
We analyze the Coperni tie-up in this week’s Collabs & Drops newsletter, as well as Randomevent’s long-term relationship with Disney, and Hennessy partnering with the largest graffiti exhibition to ever take place in China, Beyond the Streets.
Read on for our verdict on the above, and subscribe here to receive collaboration news and analysis straight to your inbox every Tuesday.
On Weibo, ENG Concept has 47,000 fans, while Coperni has 401. Over on Instagram, the Chinese retailer has 4,346 followers and the Parisian brand has 783,000.
Known as a fashion-forward, disruptive concept store providing the mainland with items from avant-garde style leaders, ENG Concept is a great vehicle for Coperni to connect with its consumer base in China.
The two makeup of the brands’ social media followers indicate how each partner will benefit from this collaboration: ENG will reach more consumers in the West, seeing as Coperni frequently goes viral globally, whereas the luxury fashion label will be able to physically engage with its Chinese clientele.
Autumn/Winter 2023 Lion King collection
On Weibo, #Disneycollaboration (#迪士尼联名) has 2.455 million followers, and #Randomevent has 100 million. The official Randomevent Instagram account has 14,900 followers.
Chinese streetwear brand Randomevent has been working with Disney’s various intellectual properties (IPs) for a few seasons now, using the magic of universal nostalgia to widen its consumer base and create playful collections for its predominantly Gen Z audience.
Home to Disneyland Shanghai, China is sold on the franchise, so it does not need to be directly involved in fashion collaborations. However, tie-ups allow the IPs to maintain cultural relevance, even when there aren’t any new movies being released, which benefits the brand’s product offering, from musicals to the streaming service.
Streetwear brands in China seem to have an affinity for cartoon IPs. Evidently, the combination of nostalgia, cheerful artwork and cultural capital creates a winning formula.
July 25 to October 7 2023
Hennessy Graffiti Art Stadium
Hennessy’s post on Xiaohongshu, where it has 7,746 followers, about the ‘Beyond the Streets’ has just nine likes. On Weibo, Hennessy has 432,000 followers and the Beyond the Streets post has six likes.
Having landed in New York, London and Los Angeles, the Beyond The Streets exhibition now arrives in Shanghai. It was tapped by luxury cognac brand Hennessy to bolster its cultural prestige.
The Hennessy Graffiti Art Stadium is an installation that forms part of the expansive exhibition, featuring the work of well-known New York-based street artist David (Chino) Villorente.
Seeing as this collaboration has generated low engagement, it’s likely that its strategy did not prioritize, but was aimed at connecting physically, in real life, with consumers across mainland China.