In a world where digital is king, social media influencers are helping to shape how brands are perceived by consumers, and there is no place where this is more true than in China.
It can be head-spinning to navigate China's sea of fashion bloggers and KOLs on WeChat and Weibo, but knowing who they are can be imperative for engaging Chinese consumers. Services like ParkLu are out there to help luxury brands find their perfect match in the fashion blogging world based on narrowing down a target audience by region or style, but it still helps to know some of the main players in the game who have a broad reach. The five bloggers below are not only influencing consumers, but setting out a path for the countless other style critics on the scene.
If you missed 1-5 in Part 1 of this series, be sure to check it out here.
While the fashion industry is becoming more tolerant of body acceptance, fashion blogging, especially in China, is dominated by tall and thin influencers. Modish Vane thus stands out as being a blogger who, at 5-foot-3, claims to represent a more average body type. Her role is to help her followers learn how to mix and match items to wear styles typically embraced by Western celebrities (who tend to be taller). She features herself in her blog posts wearing outfits to inspire consumers on how to incorporate more high-end pieces in daily wear.
With more than 4 million followers on Weibo alone, Peter XU Fengli is undoubtedly a KOL in the fashion blogosphere in China. He has worked with MCM, Bottega Veneta, Hugo Boss and many other international brands as a fashion blogger. Yet, instead of focusing heavily on Hollywood celebrities, Xu pays a lot of attention to Chinese models, actors/actresses, and singers. His articles are evenly distributed between women’s and men’s collections and are intended to help consumers keep up with Chinese fashion trends and Chinese celebrity news.
The highly commercialized fashion industry, especially the advent of “fast fashion”, has made fashion an easily accessible concept to the public. To some, it is a good trend that should not be reversed. To Lawrence Li and his hundreds of thousands of followers on Chinese social media, people should take time to reconnect fashion with a sense of art, culture, and history, hence the name of his account “Vintage Muse”. Unlike most fashion bloggers who like to post colorful pictures of fashion weeks, new collections, and fancy outfits with overtly commercialized descriptions, a large number of Li’s posts are black-and-white or vintage-style photos with a simple, objective description introducing a brand, a person, or a collection’s history and values.
Ji Liang is, among other things, a writer, a blogger, a fashion critic, an editor, and a radio DJ. Even those who are not into the fashion scene or have not followed Ji Liang on Weibo or WeChat, may still have heard of the fashion and lifestyle website Only Lady (女人志), where Liang was once its creative director, or the book Messenger of Time Difference: A Love Letter to Mr. Z that Liang authored. Liang’s posts are a mix of professional comments on international fashion shows such as Valentino Fall/Winter 2017 Men’s collection and Gucci Spring/Summer 2017 collections and his personal opinions on the latest films, magazines’ cover pages, and even Chinese games. It's likely his gaming commentary is a driving factor in his earning more than 2 million followers.
While his engagement isn't as high as his counterparts, Gao Bo, or "Fresh Boy," is one to keep an eye on for his posts on luxury fashion. Before fully committed to his “FreshBoy” social media brand, Gao was an fashion editor at NetEast, one of China’s largest portal sites. The years of work experience might explain his penchant for being on top of the trends and news in the fashion world. Gao makes his platform easy to navigate by sorting posts via hashtags on Weibo and maintaining just one to two high-quality updates of articles or promotions on WeChat per day.
Gao features primarily items from mainstream luxury brands such as Versace, but occasionally introduces little-known brands like Sea New York to his half a million followers. Those who don't feel up to scrolling through his Weibo page and want to get right into shopping can use his hashtag “Shopping Is A Stepping Stone For Mankind’s Evolution” to know where to spend their money. Posts under this hashtag also include useful tips for China-based fashion lovers to shop on overseas websites. To e-business operators, posts of this kind make for a great opportunity to build up brand awareness and boost sales among Chinese customers.