Stüssy, Stone Island, Arc’teryx bet big on China’s hypebeasts

    Over the course of 2023, streetwear brands have been showing confidence in the mainland, and engaging China’s hypebeasts via major bricks-and-mortar.
    Stone Island's new Taikoo Li Chengdu Store. Photo: Stone Island
      Published   in Fashion

    What happened

    Global luxury sportswear and streetwear brands have over this year deployed bricks-and-mortar strategies in the mainland, opening stores and rolling out retail activations.

    Last month alone, Stone Island and Arc’Teryx both opened new flagships in luxury retail destination Taikoo Li, in Chengdu and Beijing, respectively, Human Made announced it would open its first in Shanghai, and Sacai collaborated with Carhartt WIP to open an exclusive pop-up at Taikoo Li Qiantan in Shanghai.

    Other prominent streetwear store openings this year include Stüssy’s at Taikoo Li Sanlitun, Beijing, which followed the success of the brand’s temporary Chapter store last year. Canada Goose also opened a flagship at the same location.

    Stüssy's Beijing location. Photo: Stüssy
    Stüssy's Beijing location. Photo: Stüssy

    The Jing Take

    Despite “quiet luxury” and the clean-fit trends dominating Gen Z wardrobes, streetwear continues to lead with this demographic, including that from the likes of gorpcore brands Arc’Teryx and luxury sportswear favorite Stone Island.

    On youth-led platform Xiaohongshu, an app that thrives on outfit posts, #stussy has 14.2 million views, #arcteryx 73.8 million, and #humanmade 22.4 million.

    Following the pandemic, streetwear is proving to be a popular genre among Gen Z – as well as more stores opening, online engagement is up. Because of their new-found cachet, global streetwear brands do not need to rely on the strategies that Chinese names might have to, for example, brand collaboration, to boost sales.

    Domestic streetwear brands such as Randomevent, Roaringwild, or Staffonly lean into brand collaborations to extend their consumer exposure and boost sales. Whereas cult favorites like Stüssy, Stone Island or Supreme tend not to target their collaborations to their Chinese consumers.

    Still, Anta Sports remains the largest sports brand in China. In 2022, its revenue overtook Nike’s in China for the first time, climbing 8.8 percent year on year to 7.8 billion (RMB 53.7 billion) versus Nike’s 7.4 billion (RMB 51.4 billion), reports Yicai Global.

    Anta is in the lead because of its positioning as a mainstream household name. Yet, young Chinese consumers are contributing to its growth — on Xiaohongshu, #Anta has a whopping 371 million reads.

    Global streetwear’s bright future bodes well for brands looking to tap China’s hypebeasts, a potentially lucrative demographic cohort.

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