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    Is Clot’s collab-heavy strategy a hit or miss?

    Reeling out constant collabs for its 20th birthday celebrations, Edison Chen’s streetwear label Clot evidently believes that more is more. If exposure is the aim, then the brand won 2023.
    Jing Daily
      Published   in Collaborations

    Over the past year, Chinese streetwear leader Clot has unveiled over 30 collaborations, averaging two per month. The majority of these drops have been in celebration of the Edison Chen and Kevin Poon-founded brand’s 20th birthday. Becoming a regular at the top of news feeds in China and beyond, the hashtag #clot20 has raked in 41.6 million reads on Weibo so far and 13.2 million on Xiaohongshu.

    Chen did say in a 2023 interview he hoped to reach mega label Supreme’s level of success. And just like the cult skate brand, everything and anything has received Clot branding as of late, from McSpicy burgers to Heytea beverages and iconic pieces like The North Face puffers and Timberland boots.

    Clot's McSpicy collaboration. Photo: Clot
    Clot's McSpicy collaboration. Photo: Clot

    Though, to reach Supreme’s level, Clot would have to attain the same reputation in the West that it has in Asia. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    The much-hyped 2023 Nike “What the Clot” Dunk sneaker — listed on StockX for a 49 percent price premium — has just four posts with the related hashtag on TikTok, whereas #edisonchen has 528 posts. However, the release sparked a viral online debate. Reportedly, the founder reached out to reseller Horhead_sales to ask how he got the What the Clot Dunks so early, as someone had backdoored him multiple pairs. This conversation ultimately led to Chen gifting Horhead_sales some sneakers. Consequently, Chen received backlash for supporting resellers who make it nearly impossible for casual consumers to shop.

    Ethical or not, the prioritization of hype over all else seems to define Clot’s strategy. The year’s conveyor belt of collaborations has proven just that. Oftentimes appearing sporadic, the drops serve as constant advertisements for the brand, reaching various subcultures and ensuring that the name stays topical, even if the collections are not necessarily disruptive.

    According to a spokesperson from the brand, out of all the releases, Neighborhood, Adidas, McDonalds, Nike, and Heytea were the most “hyped.”

    Clot and Adidas partnered in October 2023, unveiling their collection at Shanghai Fashion Week. Photo: Clot
    Clot and Adidas partnered in October 2023, unveiling their collection at Shanghai Fashion Week. Photo: Clot

    In July 2023, the hashtag #ClotxNike# had reached 9.73 million reads on Weibo; by February 2024, it had increased to 11.66 million. Presenting an array of merchandise, the McDonald’s activation was also one of the biggest Clot collaborations, with queues winding outside the life-size Happy Meal box pop-up shops around China. The co-branded hoodie, embossed with a McSpicy sandwich, recorded over 8,000 sales on McDonald’s Tmall flagship store within three days — significant numbers, but not relative to the platform’s 380 million daily active users.

    Another hype-driver, the Clot x Neighborhood collection, which dropped in September 2023, was unsurprisingly popular as an Asian streetwear collision. The Tokyo-born brand, founded by Shinsuke Takizawa, has a loyal global following as it is a pioneer in the Ura-Harajuku scene, cultivating the reputation of Japanese streetwear alongside names like Undercover, BAPE, and Fragment Design.

    Other standout partnerships of 2023 include The North Face and Tommy Hilfiger. The former demonstrates how tie-ups drive exposure; the Weibo hashtag #Clotxthenorthface had 92,000 reads in February 2023 and has since climbed drastically, now at 3 million in February 2024.

    If brand collaborations are a strategy for attracting greater attention, driving social engagement and wider reach, and maintaining relevance, then Clot has undoubtedly succeeded. Marketed as a name that bridges the East and the West, it has become the vehicle for many global names to connect with Asian streetwear followers.

    Even if Clot’s level of social engagement is not groundbreaking, the frequency of its product releases ensures it consistently appears on news feeds — offering a lesson to other brands on staying in the spotlight.

    Key takeaways:

    • The Edison Chen and Kevin Poon-founded brand’s 20th birthday has seen an avalanche of brand collaborations, making Clot a consistently trending topic on news feeds in China and beyond.
    • Across China, the hashtag #clot20 has raked in 41.6 million reads on Weibo so far and 13.2 million on Xiaohongshu.
    • According to a spokesperson from the brand, out of the numerous releases, Neighborhood, Adidas, McDonalds, Nike, and Heytea were the most “hyped.”
    • Clot co-founded Edison Chen is known for feeding hype, causing controversy in 2023 for rewarding a reseller for being "backdoored" the What the Clot Nike Dunks.
    • Chen also said he wants to reach the streetwear success of leader in the space, Supreme. That being said, the high activity collaboration strategy is no shock, but the fly or flop factor can be measured on what the initial aims of collaborations are for Clot.
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