Will & Other Stories win over China with latest Susan Fang collection?

    High-street brands continue collaborating with independent designers to promote ‘slower investment’ purchases. The latest: & Other Stories x Susan Fang.
    & Other Stories x Susan Fang marks the first Chinese designer collab for the brand. Photo: & Other Stories
      Published   in Collaborations

    Swedish accessible fashion label & Other Stories takes a bold leap into luxury with the launch of the “Dreams Unleashed” collection, created in collaboration with Ningbo-born, London-based designer Susan Fang.

    Set to be released on April 18, this is the first collaboration with a Chinese designer for the H&M Group-owned brand. At the time of writing, & Other Stories has 55,000 fans on Weibo and 36,100 on Xiaohongshu, whereas #susanfang has 5.8 million reads on the latter platform. Despite being a global launch, supporting the growth of a Chinese talent is an effective strategy to authentically engage consumers in China.

    Beyond the country, Susan Fang is a fixture on the London Fashion Week schedule and has previously collaborated with Victoria’s Secret, Nike, and Zara. She currently serves as designer in residence for the Jimmy Choo Academy.

    The collection comes as an increasing number of high street brands borrow strategies from luxury fashion houses to promote more thoughtful purchasing decisions and, in turn, encourage sustainability. Other examples include Mango x Victoria Beckham, set to be released this spring, and H&M x Rokh, scheduled for release on April 18.

    To learn more about the collection, which sports Fang’s signature 3D blooms and embellishments, Jing Daily spoke to the designer and & Other Stories creative director Frida Billegren.

    Susan Fang Q&A#

    Jing Daily: What factors attracted you to work with & Other Stories?

    Susan Fang: I have always admired & Other Stories; I was always drawn to the store in London, and I have also been aware of their previous designer collaborations, including A.W.A.K.E. Mode, Minju Kim, and Sindiso Khumalo. So when they approached me last year, I was very happy and curious as to how we would create a collection together.

    After traveling to Stockholm to meet the design team, I just knew and had a feeling it would be a great partnership – even my close university friend Soyeon was miraculously a member of the design team. I couldn’t believe it; it was like it was a special sign.

    'Dreams Unleashed' features frilled dresses, accessories, and Susan Fang signatures. Photo: & Other Stories
    'Dreams Unleashed' features frilled dresses, accessories, and Susan Fang signatures. Photo: & Other Stories

    JD: Do you think high-street brands need designers in 2024?

    SF: It’s always super fun to see collaborations on the high street and see designers mixed with the accessible. It’s like a special limited edition snack or favorite TV show; it can add a new perspective and freshness that can reach new customers as well as create excitement for the current ones.

    JD: What did you learn from this collaboration?

    SF: I learned so much, especially how much care & Other Stories puts into craft, detail, and quality, and [their] openness to creativity for their customers. They never said no to any of my most challenging techniques. It was always a great and positive discussion and feedback on how to make things work, how to create pieces that could allow a wide range of ages and styles, as well as providing comfort in wearing. Every button, fastening, lining is carefully considered to allow the wearer to feel the love and energy we put into each piece and design.

    I also really enjoyed being so involved in the marketing plan and seeing our visions and dreams [come] to life. I loved how we worked with an AI digital artist to create special content for dream-like stores and our photoshoots. It was an amazing experience learning and working with the wonderful & Other Stories team.

    JD: What advice would you give to designers wanting to also do brand collaborations with stores such as & Other Stories?

    SF: Definitely stay true to your own vision and style, because if it’s meant to be, brands will connect when their timing coincidentally connects to your vision at that moment in time. This way, it will create the best synergy and result. As well as naturally being reached out by your favorite brands.

    Launching in 2017, Susan Fang has become an established collaborator in fashion. Photo: & Other Stories
    Launching in 2017, Susan Fang has become an established collaborator in fashion. Photo: & Other Stories

    & Other Stories Q&A#

    JD: What did you learn from this collaboration with Susan Fang?

    Frida Billegren: Where to start? I have learned so much. Just be able to sit down with Susan and listen to her words of inspiration. How she could simply get a design idea from a dream. That was truly inspiring for me.

    JD: Do you think it’s important to work with Chinese designers?

    FB: Yes, very much so. Our partnership with Susan Fang once again reflects & Other Stories’ commitment to embracing diverse creative talents, enabling us to work in partnership, sharing stories and inspiring our customers with our unique collaborative collections.

    JD: What is & Other Stories’ relationship with the Chinese market?

    FB: China is a very important and significant market for & Other Stories. Today, we offer our unique collections in four physical stores across Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou as well as online through Tmall, Douyin, and Mini-Program. We want to continue to get to know our customers better, and our aim is to reach and connect with even more bold, creative fashion lovers in China.

    • & Other Stories joins the likes of Nike, Victoria's Secret, and Zara in a collaborative collection with independent Ningo-born, London-based designer Susan Fang.
    • Gaining market ground in the mainland, & Other Stories has 55,000 fans on Weibo and 36,100 on Xiaohongshu, whereas #susanfang has 5.8 million reads on the latter platform.
    • The first Chinese collaboration for & Other Stories, the Susan Fang collection reflects how China is being further integrated into the fashion industry, with homegrown talent being celebrated on a global scale.
    • Many high-street brands are adopting luxury fashion house business models, recruiting innovative designers and creative directors to promote slower fashion and investment purchasing.
    • As & Other Stories continues to grow in the Chinese market, time will tell as to whether an independent designer collection is enough to spur further connection to local consumers.
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