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    Kering, DSM, Shushu/Tong: Which collabs are making waves this Chinese New Year?

    Fred Perry, Kering, and Shushu/Tong rolled out new collabs dedicated to the Year of the Dragon, the luckiest animal of the zodiac.
    Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang's brand Shushu/Tong joins Dover Street Market for a 10th year, celebrating the Year of the Dragon. Photo: Dover Street Market
      Published   in Collaborations

    Arriving once every 12 years, the Year of the Dragon – the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac – is upon us. As a sign traditionally thought to bring fortune and greatness, people want their babies to be born in 2024, and, of course, brands want to drop the best collaborations.

    This week’s co-branded releases spotlights from the mainland combine art, high fashion, retail, and streetwear. Dover Street Market is celebrating 10 years with Shanghai favorite Shushu/Tong; Kering is working with multiple local artists on special digital greeting cards and envelopes; and Fred Perry has invited Zhou Zhou to produce exclusive artwork for the occasion.

    Read on for our breakdown of each Chinese New Year brand collaboration, and subscribe here to receive this news via the Collabs & Drops newsletter straight to your inbox every Tuesday.

    Kering x Chen Ke#

    The oil painting "Dragon Boat" by Chen Ke, inspired by the ancient Chinese legend of dragons. Photo: Kering
    The oil painting "Dragon Boat" by Chen Ke, inspired by the ancient Chinese legend of dragons. Photo: Kering

    Details: Oil painting artwork titled "Dragon Boat” available digitally, January 26

    Social context: To its 28,600 followers on Xiaohongshu, Kering posted seven Lunar New Year artwork-dedicated posts, which garnered just 1,995 likes in total.

    The verdict:

    • Collaborating with Chinese artists on Lunar New Year campaigns has become a tradition for Kering, reflecting its commitment to honoring Chinese traditions with a contemporary twist.
    • As this is not a physical artwork only digital, it is predominantly a strategy to boost social engagement. They have previously worked with artists like Peng Wei, Xu Jing, Wen Qiwen, and Xu Bing for their festive artworks in previous years, portraying commitment to local art and culture.
    • The social campaigns for this collaborative project are only to be found on Chinese platforms, reflecting the group’s localized strategy to celebrate the Year of the Dragon — whereas, the conglomerate’s brands such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, and Balenciaga, have launched global capsules.

    Shushu/Tong x Dover Street Market#

    “The Nude” Spring 2024 collection by Shushu/Tong is now at Dover Street Market. Photo: Dover Street Market
    “The Nude” Spring 2024 collection by Shushu/Tong is now at Dover Street Market. Photo: Dover Street Market

    Details: “The Nude” Spring 2024 collection and exclusive installation, January 25 to February 11.

    Social context: Shushu/Tong and Dover Street Market’s shared Instagram posts amassed 1,761 likes on the two posts about this collaboration, despite their shared reach of 974,000.

    The verdict:

    • Shushu/Tong, one of the top Chinese designers, continues to frequently partner with Dover Street Market, a long-term relationship that’s in its 10th year.
    • Inspired by the 1967 movie Belle de Jour and Helmut Newton’s photography, the Spring 2024 collection and sculpture represents the "duality of their imaginary femme fatale."
    • A retailer recognising emerging designer potential early on can be the starting point of an authentic long-term partnership. Stores have the access to recognize which brands are performing well with consumers and what works, making them effective partners for designers sussing out the space.

    Fred Perry x Zhou Zhou#

    One of the Fred Perry x 奶粉Zhou WeChat red envelope covers. Photo: Fred Perry
    One of the Fred Perry x 奶粉Zhou WeChat red envelope covers. Photo: Fred Perry

    Details: Painting and WeChat red envelope cover, February 1

    Social context: On Weibo, Fred Perry has 19,000 fans, and #FredPerry has 140 million reads. On Xiaohongshu, it has 4,256 followers, and the brand’s hashtag has 6.4 million views.

    The verdict:

    • Incorporating his signature exploration of themes such as “endless life” and “endless rise,” Zhou brings his own identity to this fusion of art and fashion, vibrantly reimagining the dragon.
    • The brand and artist found common ground for this project, such as the core values of inheritance, progress, and improvement. Furthermore, as a brand that champions creativity and youth culture, Fred Perry is able to project a celebratory image onto the art world.
    • Fred Perry has previously shown minimal attention to its Chinese consumer base. Engagement has taken the form of toured musical subcultures across three cities in China back in 2021, and placing a store in Shanghai’s Xintiandi district in 2020 (opened in partnership with IT Apparels and IT Group company). The overall current brand performance in the country is ambiguous, despite one 2021 report saying that it had recovered post-Covid 19.
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