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Shanghai Fashion Week

At Shanghai Fashion Week, One Word Was On Everybody’s Mind

Recovery, or the green shoots of one in any case, was at the forefront of this edition of Shanghai Fashion Week, which began its 10-day run on March 23.

After a dreadful iteration in 2022 that saw one edition canceled right before the city was plunged into a draconian two-month lockdown in April, then a second edition hampered by zero-COVID-19 restrictions, the relief at this return to some kind of normalcy was palpable.

“You can see the recovery is happening,” said Berlin-based Chinese designer Ximon Lee. “We have received orders from a few new stores this season, and that was our goal.”

On the runways, the talent of a generation of young designers who have infused China’s fashion world with direction, excitement and energy in recent years only seems to have become sharper and more focused over the pandemic period.

From the colorful and textural mastery of Shuting Qiu to the buttoned-up femininity of Shushu/Tong, strong signatures have evolved into more all-encompassing designer brand universes — complete with strong product offerings and a more curated point-of-view than seen in the past.

Shushu/Tong presents its Fall/Winter 2023 collection, themed “Backrooms.” Photo: Shushu/Tong

At Fabric Porn, the past was decidedly centerstage, with a collection that leaned heavily on style cues that were familiar to designer Zhao Chenxi during his childhood.

Zhao leans on the unique Chinese aesthetic — fabrics, patterns and cultural references — seeded in the exciting first decades of China’s reopening to the world in the 1980s and 1990s and remakes them with modern vigor, presented with China’s current Gen Z swagger.


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Other designers have in recent years taken the opportunity to branch out in terms of their universe. Susan Fang took the prettiness of her silk and chiffon pastel womenswear world appropriately into childrenswear with a runway show featuring a gaggle of adorable kids.

Her Fall/Winter 2023 collection, first shown at London Fashion Week, was inspired by the 1986 children’s book, Ami, Child of the Stars by Chilean author Enrique Barrios. And while childlike optimism certainly infuses the collection, the materials and techniques are decidedly forward-looking. Blouses are made of custom lace — an updated broderie anglaise style — and “misting” dresses spray delicate floral aromas that echo the romanticism of the designer’s staple ethereal dresses and crocheted gowns adorned with pearls.

Susan Fang’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection features 3D-printed accessories and a collaboration with UGG. Photo: Susan Fang

Oude Waag designer Jingwei Yin is someone else who has made great strides in recent years, refining and defining a point of view that has always balanced on a tightrope between structure and softness. His Fall/Winter 2023 collection, entitled “Marble Flesh,” was perhaps the brand’s strongest outing to date, with structured silk/foam molded pieces of bodice surrounded by generous drapes of fabric. The effect was undeniably womanly, but these women are also warriors. Clever too were the trouser/skirt hybrids that morphed from jersey tights into mermaid tails just above the knee.

After showrooms were devoid of visitors and buyers from outside of Shanghai, let alone outside of China, last season due to domestic travel restrictions, the busy showrooms at Ontimeshow, Not Showroom and Mode were a welcome sight.

Ontimeshow received over 4,000 visitors on the first day of its five-day exhibition. Photo: Ontimeshow

The colorful, sculptural haute down jackets (and also down skirts, trousers and gowns) of Christopher Raxxy’s fairytale world attracted a lot of attention from Mode-goers. Designer William Shen is among a handful of Chinese designers, including Chenpeng’s Peng Chen and Dingyun Zhang, that seem intent on pushing the idea of puffer jackets to new artistic heights, and deservedly attracting plaudits for their efforts.

According to organizers at Ontimeshow, thousands of visitors made their way to its expansive location in Shanghai’s artsy West Bund district on the first day alone, with buyers from around China joined by those from famed multi-brand stores abroad, including Dover Street Market and Machine-A.

There was a point in 2021, as China’s market boomed and domestic buyers blocked from overseas fashion weeks increasingly invested in local brands — pleased not only with the sell-through and consumers’ growing acceptance of local names, but also the ease of doing business in China with Chinese brands — that it seemed the pandemic might prove a turning point with China’s fashion industry turning inward. 

Instead, after three years of isolation, China’s fashion industry is looking outwards for connection, inspiration, and the embrace of a wider fashion community. Designers are back to showing in Paris and London, sometimes as well as Shanghai, and buyers are looking for quality and newness both here and elsewhere in the world. This season marked not only the beginnings of a business recovery, but also Shanghai and China’s reintegration into the wider world of fashion.

“It’s very exciting,” said designer Qiu Hao, a mainstay of Shanghai Fashion Week whose eponymous brand is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. “It’s obvious that people are here, and they are coming here with a budget. It’s nothing like the last two seasons.”



Rimowa travel Nanjing pop-up

Rimowa Bets On China’s Travel Rebound With Pop-up Exhibition In Nanjing


On March 30, Rimowa’s pop-up exhibition named “Ingenieurskunst Seit 1898” was unveiled in Nanjing Deji Plaza, showcasing the history of the German luggage brand since its establishment in 1898. The event spotlights the manufacturing process of the brand’s iconic aluminum-magnesium Classic Cabin suitcase, celebrating craftsmanship and functional excellence.

First launched at Shanghai Taikoo Li Qiantan in October 2022, the Nanjing edition offers more interactive experiences such as a conveyor belt device, quality inspection devices, and a photo booth. The pop-up is open to the public until April 9, and visitors can make reservations via the brand’s WeChat Mini Program.

Netizens’ Reaction

Thanks to musician Henry Lau’s attendance and violin performance at the opening, Rimowa’s pop-up in Nanjing has received wide attention. The Weibo hashtag “Rimowa The Art of Engineering” racked up over 2.1 million views within one day — a substantial number for a branded exhibition. On WeChat, users who message “Hi Henry” to Rimowa’s official account can receive a voice reply pre-recorded by Lau, which is also boosting online engagement.

China and South Korea-based Canadian singer, songwriter, and musician Henry Lau has 12.4 million followers on Weibo. Photo: Rimowa


When Rimowa was acquired by luxury conglomerate LVMH for $716 million in 2016, Alexandre Arnault was put in charge of the group’s first German asset. Under his youthful leadership, the 120-year-old heritage brand went through a series of transformations by collaborating with hype brands like Supreme, Off-White, and Palace, as well as artist Daniel Arsham.

Over the past few years, Rimowa has cut down its wholesale channels and invested in brand-owned channels, including e-commerce and physical boutiques, to position itself as a luxury suitcase label. Though the COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to offline retail, the brand has continued to expand in China by elevating its in-store experience and growing its presence in high-end shopping malls and districts. 

Recommended ReadingJing Daily City Guide: NanjingBy Jing Daily

As China’s tourism and retail begin to recover, Rimowa is eyeing emerging markets beyond top-tier cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Chengdu. Its latest bet is Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province and the second-largest city in the eastern China region after Shanghai. Deji Plaza, where the Rimowa exhibition is located, was ranked the second-best performing luxury mall in China in 2022, following Beijing’s SKP. By sharing its legacy and culture, the suitcase manufacturer looks to attract more potential clients in the promising regional market. 

China luxury spending tourism

Morgan Stanley Report: China’s Reopening Means More Spending On Luxury

What Happened: Chinese consumers will make up 60 percent of total spending growth on luxury items including fashion and accessories by 2030, according to the latest report by Morgan Stanley. Globally, mainland Chinese buyers will boost demand for luxury items by 20 percent in just 2023 alone. 

Luxury spending is set to return to pre-pandemic times — when Chinese consumers contributed to 60 percent of total industry growth from 2000 until 2019, according to the same report. Analysts at the American financial institution forecast 7 percent luxury industry growth in China this year. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, luxury sales are expected to surge by 15 percent in 2023. 

The Jing Take: With China’s reopening, luxury brands can once again look to mainland Chinese domestic spending, as well as Chinese overseas tourism, for a boost in sales. 

“China should become the [luxury] industry’s growth engine from this year on, and we expect brands at the top of the luxury-goods pyramid to benefit the most,” Morgan Stanley equity analyst Edouard Aubin stated in the aforementioned report. 

Duty-free sectors in China are alive and well, with many local consumers seeking trips to Hainan and other destinations under the lure of tax-free spending, thanks to recent government policies. However, outbound tourists are just as easily incentivized by the thought of traveling to new and exotic locales — as well as the more affordable prices of luxury goods in Europe where items can cost 30 percent lower than in the mainland. 

According to Morgan Stanley’s analysis, luxury spending in the US will decline by 1 percent this year, the first drop since rising 75 percent between 2019 and 2022. Industry insiders question whether the rise in spending by Chinese consumers this year will be enough to “offset” negative spending in North America. 

Premiumization may serve to be key in luring Chinese consumers to spend more overseas. In China, the beauty market is rebounding thanks to this trend — with many prestige labels — which are forecast to comprise 53 percent of the market share by 2025, seeking to engage with female consumers who prioritize self-care and wellness first and foremost. 

Similarly, luxury brands will need to target the specific needs of Chinese consumers whether domestically or overseas via premium products, experiences and services

Overall, analysts at Morgan Stanley still caution that the optimistic outlook on China’s “revenge spending” is still subject to change, given the uncertain times and a looming global recession ahead. Additionally, they warn that if luxury brands including Hermès, Dior and others continue to raise the prices of their items, Chinese consumers may be less inclined to continue spending throughout 2023. And finally, China’s housing market may impact Chinese consumers’ overall spending on luxury if the sector enters a contraction

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

Yatsen Adidas earnings China Perfect Diary

March Earnings: Perfect Diary Falls Short While Adidas Deals With Ye Breakup

More full-year 2022 results are trickling in, and companies have one thing in common: Greater China continues to be a sore spot. High inventory, closed stores, and soft demand have put a dent on bottom lines. That said, with the country now open, international and local players are eager to capitalize on the recovery momentum and refocus their energy on the market.

But that’s easier said than done. Adidas, for one, is still grappling with the loss of Yeezy. If it decides not to repurpose any of the existing product, this could lower the company’s operating profit by €500 million and cost up to €200 million in additional one-off costs this year. Meanwhile, Yatsen Holdings is trying to turn around its biggest brand, Perfect Diary, as China’s cosmetics consumption remains sluggish.

Can these companies utilize 2023 to lay the groundwork for future profitability?

PVH Corp proves new strategy is working

PVH Corp shares were soaring as much as 20 percent on March 28 after the company posted better-than-expected earnings. The American clothing company, which owns Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, reported that fourth-quarter revenue was up 2 percent year-over-year to $2.48 billion, higher than the guidance of a 4 percent decrease, while full-year 2022 revenue fell just 1 percent to $9 billion, better than the 3 percent decrease expected.

The results are a win for CEO Stefan Larsson, who shared his new plans for the company last April. “Our disciplined execution of the PVH+ Plan, our multi-year, brand-focused, direct-to-consumer and digitally-led strategy enabled us to compete to win despite the challenging macro situation,” he said in a statement. 

As part of this strategy, PVH drove product elevation at Tommy Hilger and built out Calvin Klein’s product categories. It also increased brand awareness in China by leveraging the Lunar New Year, investing in Douyin livestreaming, and collaborating with Tmall Innovation Center to offer more customized styles.

Entering 2023 with significant momentum, the group projects a revenue increase of 3-4 percent by unlocking the potential of these two flagship brands. Things are looking good so far too, with the Tommy Hilfiger x Shawn Mendes campaign well underway and the announcement of BTS’ Jungkook as the latest Calvin ambassador rocking social media.


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Adidas gets realistic about 2023 outlook

“2023 will be a transition year to build the base for 2024 and 2025,” said CEO Bjørn Gulden, acknowledging what was a tough and disappointing fiscal year for the German sportswear brand. “We need to reduce inventories and lower discounts. We can then start to build a profitable business again in 2024.”

In 2022, currency-neutral revenue at Adidas grew just 1 percent, impacted by the termination of the Yeezy partnership in October and significant inventory takebacks. By region, Latin America and North America managed to grow by double-digits, while Greater China revenue experienced a sharp 36 percent year-on-year decline in full-year revenue.

However, Adidas has seen some positive developments in the first two months of 2023. “First of all, the Chinese people are out again, and they do sports from the first day,” Gulden noted on the earnings call in March. Adidas is also increasing its investments in the local sports scene, from sponsoring a marathon in Beijing to partnering with Chinese athletes like tennis player Wu Yibing, who became the highest-ranked Chinese player in tennis history in February. 

Adidas was one of the sponsors of the Beike Beijing Marathon in November 2022. Photo: @adidasRunning on Weibo

On this note, Gulden added that it is a “safer bet using celebrities from sports” than from fashion or music because of the Better Cotton Initiative issue, which saw Chinese stars cut ties with brands that renounced Xinjiang cotton. “There’s still no clarity if the celebrities from other areas are really going to go live on social media for brands like us.”

Given various uncertainties in the China market, elevated recession risks in the West, and questions about what to do with the Yeezy inventory, the company expects 2023 revenue to decline at a high-single-digit rate. But the CEO vows, “We will bring [Adidas] back to be the best sports brand in the world once again.” Whether he can deliver remains to be seen.

Yatsen reports tanking cosmetics sales due to soft demand

Similarly, Yatsen Holdings struggled as China’s beauty industry remained challenged in 2022, calling it “a year of transformation.” Total net revenue for 2022 tumbled 36.5 percent to $537 million from the prior year. 

The colors cosmetics division, which includes Perfect Diary, Little Ondine and Pink bear, declined 56.9 percent year-over-year in sales in the fourth quarter, reflecting a “continued softness in market demand” and “intensified industry competition,” CEO Jinfeng Huang explained on the March earnings call. In fact, its biggest label, Perfect Diary, closed 128 offline stores in the year to cut costs, pivoting to Douyin for aggressive promotions instead.

A bright spot? Skincare. In the fourth quarter, net revenue from skincare brands accounted for 46.9 percent of total net revenue in 2022, more than doubling from the prior year. This was driven by strong performances from the group’s clinical and premium brands, including Dr. Wu, Clinique, and Eve Lom, which jumped 73 percent year-on-year in combined net revenue.

Premium skincare brands like Eve Lom accounted for 46.9 percent of Yatsen’s total net revenue in 2022. Photo: Eve Lom

For the first quarter of 2023, the company expects net revenue to decline year-over-year by approximately 20-30 percent. Still, Yatsen is “cautiously optimistic” about the year, with plans to leverage skincare’s success as it attempts to turn around its biggest brand, Perfect Diary. The recent appointment of a new chief scientific officer should help with the rebound.

Saudi Arabia Chinese tourists

Will Strengthening Ties Between Saudi Arabia And China Transform Luxury, Business, And Tourism?

With the global luxury industry keeping a close eye on China as the country settles into its post-COVID-19 era, the focus for any luxury brand or group should be not only on the plan within China, but also where else they can tap traveling Chinese consumers and emerging buyers. In many ways, the rising MENA (Middle East and North Africa) market in general — and the region’s economic powerhouse, Saudi Arabia, in particular — is a test-bed for this new era of China-Middle East relations as well as business and, bit by bit, tourism and luxury consumption.

Economic and business ties between China and Saudi Arabia continue to strengthen, as evidenced by an estimated $50 billion in public and private sector agreements signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s December 2022 visit to the kingdom. The deals reportedly covered a wide range of industries, including green energy, logistics, cloud computing, and housing, highlighting the growing mutual interest and cooperation between the two countries.

One crucial area of cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia is energy policy and exploration. As the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia supplies 18 percent of Beijing’s total crude oil purchases, a number that is only expected to grow as China looks to diversify away from relying on Russian oil and gas. 

Financial and power investments also play a significant role in the deepening ties between the two nations. China’s state-owned Silk Road Fund has acquired stakes in Saudi Aramco’s oil and gas pipeline businesses. It has also partnered with Saudi utility developer ACWA Power to invest in power projects both within and outside the Middle East. These collaborations underscore the expanding strategic partnership between the two countries, with potential long-term implications for the global economic and geopolitical landscape.

More recently, in an effort to diversify the kingdom’s economy, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance, Mohammed Al-Jadaan, called for Chinese companies to invest in sectors like logistics, construction, mining, industry, and renewables. Al-Jadaan also revealed ongoing discussions with Chinese companies to establish businesses in the kingdom, encouraged Chinese banks to operate in Saudi Arabia, and invited Chinese investors to participate in the country’s emerging auto manufacturing sector.

This all fits in with the kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative, a comprehensive plan launched in 2016 that aims to decrease Saudi Arabia’s reliance on oil, broaden its economic base, and enhance public service sectors such as education, healthcare, infrastructure, tourism, and entertainment. As part of this initiative, the Saudi government plans to develop four cities to boost internal trade, attract foreign direct investment, and diversify into non-oil sectors, in the process strengthening the kingdom’s luxury market. 

Already, global luxury brands like Prada, Tiffany, and Mulberry are expanding their presence in Saudi Arabia with mono-brand stores and secondary product lines catering to the middle and upper-middle classes. The establishment of upscale malls and the influence of social media and online shopping platforms have further contributed to the growth of the kingdom’s luxury market.

Prada opened its first store in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2015. Photo: Prada

In addition to attracting Chinese shoppers to these malls and boutiques via an increasingly diversified economy, Saudi Arabia has an opportunity to tap Chinese consumers at home. According to Lu Zhou, founder and CEO of Vanquour Wealth Management, “China presents a huge market for the Saudi Arabian luxury industry, such as its natural perfume and gourmet food (dates in particular) as a start,” adding that the market is largely untapped at the moment. 

The expectation now is that Saudi Arabia and China’s robust trade relationship will foster new opportunities for a wider range of businesses on both sides. According to Vanquour’s Lu, there are vast opportunities for Saudi businesses to access the Chinese market, and vice versa, particularly as China has made extraordinary advancements in private education and education technology in recent decades. 

For example, China could be a key source for Mandarin-language training — something in high demand in Saudi Arabia — or executive education, namely educating Saudi businesses and businesspeople on how to do business in China and effectively tap Chinese consumers. Meanwhile, high-end Saudi retailers and distributors, as well as hospitality operators, can look to China as a model to develop their fast-growing luxury and travel industries.

Another area in which China could provide a model and resource, Lu notes, is female financial literacy. Lu says, “It could be hugely empowering for Saudi women to learn financial literacy from their Chinese counterparts, as Chinese women are known to be financially savvy among their global peers.”

As business ties between Saudi Arabia and China increase, the growing tourist industry in Saudi Arabia has the potential to lure more Chinese travelers away from their favorite holiday spots in Europe or Southeast Asia. 

Wish you were here

Already, Saudi Arabia is angling to capture more of the lucrative Chinese overseas tourism market, promoting itself as an exciting alternative to well-worn destinations like North America, Thailand and Japan, or western Europe. These efforts started to gain traction just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; in 2019, when Saudi Arabia opened itself up to international tourism, China led in terms of the (admittedly modest) number of tourist visas issued.

Today, Saudi Arabia is in the midst of massive investment in mega-tourism projects that are intended to create one of the largest leisure tourism industries in the world by 2030. These projects include the $500 billion Neom, a futuristic, mega-sustainable city, the $10 billion Qiddiyah Project in Riyadh, and Amaala — or the Saudi Riviera — in the northern region. 

A model of Neom, a linear city in Saudi Arabia that will be 33 times the size of New York City. Photo: Neom

Another project involves developing a new luxury island destination in the Red Sea. According to Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism, the country has set a goal for the tourism industry to contribute 10 percent of national GDP — or an additional $70 billion to $80 billion — by 2030.

Saudi Arabia could benefit from changing tourist attitudes throughout the post-COVID-19 world. As Julia Simpson, CEO of the World Travel and Tourism Council, recently pointed out, tourists will always have a set of preferred cities and countries they will return to, yet new destinations are challenging these traditional favorites as emerging countries prioritize their travel and tourism industries. 

New horizons

Considering the resources the kingdom has put behind developing its nascent tourism industry, and the large-scale and heavily promoted projects currently in the works, Saudi Arabia very well could become a compelling destination for Chinese travelers looking for something new. This is particularly true given the deepening political and economic relations between the People’s Republic of China and Saudi Arabia, which offer both countries the opportunity to more actively promote themselves as friendly destinations both for business and for pleasure.

One key question is how enduring the burgeoning friendship between China and Saudi Arabia will be, and whether it will have long-term implications for Chinese business and tourism. Much of Saudi Arabia’s urgency in developing its relationship with China is a need to cultivate new powerful partners in its efforts to modernize and diversify its economy while maintaining control as a monarchy. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 Summit in 2016. Photo: Shutterstock

Meanwhile, China is eager to use its ties with Saudi Arabia to burnish its credentials as a geopolitical counterweight to the US. In a move that signals the US’ diminishing influence in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran restored diplomatic ties in March 2023 with the help of China. Both nations have agreed to reopen embassies in their respective capitals, raising hopes that their proxy war in Yemen could come to an end. 

The agreement has potential implications for Saudi-Israel relations and could pave the way for China to play a crucial role in reviving the Iran nuclear deal. As tensions remain high between the US, Iran, and China, some experts suggest that the US should consider cooperating with China in the Middle East, rather than attempting to contain its growing influence. This cooperation could — theoretically — lead to more stability in the region and foster improved relations between the involved countries.


Jack Ma Alibaba Group

What Alibaba Group’s Big Breakup Means For Retail And Luxury

What Happened: On March 28, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd announced it will be splitting its businesses into six separate units — the largest restructuring of the group since its founding in 1999.

Current businesses will be divided into: the Cloud Intelligence Group; Taobao Tmall Commerce Group; Local Services Group; Cainiao Smart Logistics Group; Global Digital Commerce Group; and Digital Media and Entertainment Group. Each will be allocated its own chief executive and board of directors; all units, except Taobao Tmall Commerce Group, will be able to apply to list on the stock market.

Reasons for the shake-up include making individual businesses run smoother and speeding up decision-making, while also easing pressure on the group’s founder Jack Ma — despite his having retired from the company in 2019.

Observers have painted the move as Ma’s attempt to redeem the e-commerce conglomerate. In 2020, he publicly criticized the approach mainland China’s financial regulator took to policing tech companies, following which the government scuppered the planned public offering of Alibaba affiliate company Ant Group, formerly known as Ant Financial, on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

News of the six-way split propelled Alibaba’s share price up 14 percent in New York on March 28 and up 13 percent in Hong Kong by Wednesday. The up-tick followed a share price decline of 70 percent from late 2020. 

The Jing Take: In recent years, Ma’s sprawling Alibaba Group has become a target for governmental regulation. Back in 2021, Alibaba was fined a record $2.75 billion for anti-monopoly violations, and in January 2023, Ma ceded control of fintech giant Ant Group as a result of regulatory measures. 

With his voting rights plummeting from over 50 percent to just 6.2 percent, Ma’s loss of decision-making powers over the group was a consequence of Chinese regulators aborting Ant’s $37 billion IPO and ordering the company to restructure in November 2020.

Taking that into account, it’s clear that Ma is hoping to save any similar moves happening in the future, and to further loosen his grip on the multifaceted e-commerce powerhouse. After all, this is the businessman who was reported to be hiding out in Tokyo during Beijing’s crackdown on the mainland’s tech sector.

Ma’s recent return to China and the restructuring indicate that the risk of further regulatory measures against the tech industry has decreased. This should give international luxury brands increased confidence in China’s tech companies. And given the objective of the restructuring is to improve operations and make the business more responsive to market dynamics, luxury brands could be set to receive an improved service offering. 

However, much of the move’s impact is as yet unclear. For now, the rising share price suggests investors see a brighter future for Alibaba’s platforms.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


From L’Oréal To Roblox And Web3: The Virtual Future Of Beauty

If 2022 was the year luxury officially entered the metaverse, 2023 is looking to be when beauty takes over it. 

“We believe that the future of beauty is physical and now also virtual, and this is why we have been digitizing and innovating the beauty consumer journey,” Manon Cardiel, global digital innovation manager at L’Oreal told Jing Daily during the “Measuring Your Success In The Metaverse” webinar last year. “With this, we can expand from product to experiences that offer us new adventure, new exploration, new tests and learnings. It’s just the beginning.”

Beauty groups worldwide are rushing to capitalize on the fast-evolving trend of Web3. With beauty reaching an estimated market value of $57 billion, it’s a shift that’s set to shape, and disrupt, the industry over the next few years. 

Although still in its infancy, players are already establishing themselves as leaders of the new beauty wave; an example being cosmetics powerhouse Charlotte Tilbury, which ramped up its virtual strategy last year by launching metaverse activations. These include an online store dedicated to its hero “pillow talk” product, as well as its holiday-inspired “Charlotte’s Beauty Realm.”

Within the Charlotte Tilbury metaverse, visitors can try on 3D makeup products and get access to exclusive content. Photo: Charlotte Tilbury

Beauty gamifies 

Capturing the attention of virtual consumers isn’t easy. To achieve mainstream appeal, brands are turning to gamified experiences to burnish their allure. 

A popular port of call that’s surfaced is gaming platforms. Previously exclusive to Gen Z and gaming fanatics, the space has grown to become a retail powerhouse — and the key to cultivating steadfast communities.

Roblox in particular has made an impact. Currently, the title has 67.3 million daily active users and around 214 million monthly active users, making it a goldmine of opportunity and sales potential. 

“Beauty activations in Roblox work because they allow a user to express themselves virtually, in the same way they do with clothing,” Charles Hambro, founder of data platform Geeiq, explains. 

Over the past year, a number of names from the sector have constructed their own dedicated experiences within the realm. A select few have performed better than others. 

Why? It’s all down to their community-building efforts. For online spaces like Roblox, it’s less about the product itself, and more about the experience that can be built around the brand to bump up storytelling and audience engagement.

“When it comes to specific products like perfume, brands have always faced a marketing challenge. How do you showcase a scent in print media, on TV or now, in virtual experiences?” Hambro says. “I’d argue that environments like Roblox are a natural evolution of these traditional channels, but they allow brands to present their offering in a three-dimensional sense, rather than a 2D one.”

Consumers may not be able to try the products on, physically. But these limitations are pushing brands to think outside of the box and push the parameters of their creativity. That means they have to get creative. Nars Color Quest is a prime example. The group leveraged its traditional branding strategy by creating a collection of islands that each represented a different product. A decision that was ultimately far more immersive and more aligned with Roblox’s audience.

The graph below shows how brand experiences — including those for Avene, British hair care brand Sunsilk, and American cosmetics chain Ulta — performed in Roblox during their first 60 days of activation. Throughout the timeline, the brands each launched new strategies within their space, which boosted engagement and traffic. 

This can be seen through the spikes in popularity for Sunsilk, which saw a massive uplift on day 30, the result of the brand dropping a collection of free User-Generated Content (UGC) items.

But immediate success on platforms like Roblox isn’t guaranteed. The graph highlights how brands need to be consistent with new concepts to keep up longevity and avoid interest plateauing.

They also still need to be savvy about what it is they are offering, and understand who their active audience is. A case in point is AveneLand, which launched its experience in French. This was arguably a wrong decision given that 76 percent of Roblox’s followers are based in the US (according to GEEIQ platform) and less than 1 percent are based in France.

China’s new beauty wave

The trend has caught on in China, too, but the mainland’s approach is different. With platforms such as Roblox banned across the country, the industry is pivoting its focus away from cross-media collaborations and exploring other avenues of appeal.

Retail giants like Tmall are offering this opportunity. As the country’s behemoths invest in building and improving their dedicated virtual spaces, brands are tapping the divisions to launch their own online experiences.

Following a dip in brick-and-mortar traffic and the shuttering of 14 stores across China, Maybelline developed a limited-time virtual universe in Tmall ahead of Alibaba’s Double 11 shopping festival, in a bid to bounce back from pandemic-induced repercussions and outperform local competitors. 

Maybelline unveiled a virtual world on Tmall to highlight key products like its Hypersharp Laser Liquid Pen Eyeliner. Photo: Maybelline

The same goes for L’Oréal, which over the past year has channeled its efforts into capturing China’s spending power through the metaverse. 

“Our brands have immense opportunities to engage with beauty consumers,” says Camille Kroely, Chief Metaverse & Web3 Officer at L’Oréal Group. “These open new avenues for immersive brand storytelling very much rooted in brand DNAs. There are also new epicenters of influence, as well as new kinds of partnerships for our brands, in the rapidly evolving ecosystem.”

During the webinar, Cardiel explained what these opportunities involve. “We have been creating our own virtual experiences through these spaces. For example, we launched a rose garden on Tencent in China in order to recruit new audiences, but also to offer an immersive experience through the brand storytelling. It was really interesting to connect that to e-commerce. At the end of the day, consumer lifetime value is a key metric that we as a brand follow.” 

L’Oréal and Maybelline are key players in the beauty segment’s development in the Chinaverse, with Lancôme being a recent newcomer. 

In partnership with China Duty Free Group, the brand unveiled its Lancôme Super Serum immersive virtual pop-up, where visitors could participate in a customizable 3D avatar experience, to coincide with this year’s International Women’s Day. 

Lancôme celebrated International Women’s Day 2023 with its first-ever customizable 3D avatar experience. Photo: Lancôme

“This cements Lancôme’s long-standing authority in skincare, as we reiterate our leadership through constant innovation and cutting-edge technology to elevate the consumer experience,” says Linda Wang, General Manager of Lancôme Travel Retail Asia Pacific, in the activation’s press release.

Whether in China or globally, beauty’s success in Web3 falls or flies on its ability to attract, build, and maintain a strong, reliable community in the virtual realm. As explained by Cardiel, “Everything is around brand storytelling, but specifically around consumer engagement.” 

To date, the arena is still largely the preserve of tech-savvy shoppers, gaming enthusiasts, and Web3 natives. But it is beginning to resonate with the masses. With more options to let the imagination run wild and a bigger focus on community, the industry may be on its way to officially outpacing luxury in Web3.

Championing the favorite '90s DIY aesthetic, Tommy Jeans and Aries have launched a winning collaboration. Photo: Tommy Jeans x Aries

Beyoncé in Balmain, Jeremy Scott With Hyundai And Tommy Jeans x Aries: Global Collabs Of The Week

Spring 2023 is officially upon us, which means that the season’s biggest brand collaborations are also en route. The past week has seen H&M and Mugler confirm May 11 as their launch date, with a campaign featuring rising stars Amaarae, Shygirl, Eartheater, and Arca — and, of course, lots of mesh bodysuits.

In other news, Adidas and Beyoncé have officially ended their Ivy Park collaboration. An unsurprising headline seeing as in 2022 the Beyoncé-led brand generated less than half the sales it did in 2021, barely reaching revenue of $40 million.

From Tommy Jeans x Aries, to Supreme x Undercover, streetwear managed to claim the top drops of the week title. We look at the former below, along with Beyoncé’s Balmain merchandise collection and Jeremy Scott’s project with Hyundai.

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Beyoncé x Balmain

beyonce x balmain

Beyoncé x Balmain

Date: March 24

Verdict: Taking the meaning of artist merchandise to new heights, Beyoncé has designed a couture collection with Balmain’s creative director Olivier Rousteing. Inspired by her Renaissance album, there are 17 looks for the 16 tracks. 

The collaboration follows on from the 2018 Balmain custom merch worn by the star at her Glastonbury headline performance. It ticks boxes for utilizing the power of fan culture and combining the artistry of two industries: music and couture. However, the release arrives within the same week that Beyoncé’s Adidas-owned Ivy Park has been terminated. Will this move redeem the singer’s rep in the fashion world?

Tommy Jeans x Aries

tommy jeans x aries

Tommy Jeans and Aries merge their brand signatures in the noughties collab of the year. Photo: Tommy Jeans x Aries

Date: March 29

Verdict: Tommy Jeans sure knows how to cater to Gen Z. This year, it has already launched its own Depop store and a viral Shawn Mendes collaboration. Now, it is working with Aries, one of the hottest streetwear names in town. Sofia Prantera’s luxury streetwear brand is known for celebrating youth subcultures and collaborating with nostalgic Y2K favorites like Juicy Couture and Fila. 

Seeing as Tommy Jeans prides itself on its early noughties, Aaliyah-led heyday, this collab makes a lot of sense for crossing consumer bases and feeding into Aries’ existing identity. Through collaboration, Tommy Jeans is finding cultural relevance, perhaps clambering for a return to that It-girl era. Will an Evisu or Baby Phat collab come next? Let’s see.

Jeremy Scott x Hyundai 

Hyundai has launched the Re:Style 2023 collection with Jeremy Scott. Photo: Hyundai

Hyundai has launched the Re:Style 2023 collection with Jeremy Scott. Photo: Hyundai

Date: March 22

Verdict: The Hyundai Motor Company has invited world-acclaimed designers to upcycle vehicle waste to create clothes — a collaboration that celebrates artistic creativity and sustainability. Win, win. Re:Style is the latest chapter in the brand’s ongoing mission to be carbon-neutral by 2040 and have zero-emissions in its supply chain by 2045. The “Hyundai Re:Style Exhibition” will be held for the first time in South Korea starting on March 23, coinciding with the global launch of the all-new Kona Electric vehicle. 

In terms of timing, it’s perfect as Jeremy Scott is in the headlines right now for leaving Moschino. The collaborative move positions both Hyundai and Jeremy Scott in the eco-fashion space; it’s a cultural campaign that feeds long-term reputation rather than short-term revenue.


Sorry Hypebeasts: China Says Gorpcore Is Out, ‘Cleanfit’ Is In

Toward the end of the 2010s and into the 2020s, utility gear transitioned from being reserved for hikers and comfort-seeking dads to the uniform of the streetwear set. 

As a result, US publication The Cut in 2017 dubbed the trend “gorpcore.” It’s a wordplay on the “good ol’ raisins and peanuts” snacked on by hikers — in China, the functional outdoor gear vogue is known as mountain aesthetics 山系美感.

Around the world, outerwear by brands like Patagonia and The North Face became a signifier of this style subculture. And as these brands soared in popularity, Chinese mountaineering clothing companies saw their opportunity, serving up techwear duplicates, with names like Kailas, Mountain Fever, and Enshadower reveling in their newfound consumer bases.

This rise in popularity can be seen in the simultaneous surge of related global brand collaborations: 2021 saw Jil Sander release an Arc’Teryx collection, Salomon collaborate with Comme Des Garçons, and Gucci join forces with The North Face. In fact, The North Face is at the center of streetwear today, frequently releasing collabs with the likes of Brain Dead, Kaws, Supreme, MM6 Margiela, and Clot.

Salomon’s Alex Van Oostrum who is the Global Marketing Manager Sportstyle says, “This whole trend of Gorpcore is born out of consumers identifying with technical function and is commonly associated with Outdoor brands. At Salomon, we are athletic outdoor, which is a distinct proposition in the market.”

Thanks to gorpcore’s rise, social media was, and still very much is, flooded with shots of influencers sporting parachuted water-resistant cargos, fleeces, and anoraks. These looks are frequently seen on the streets of the US and Europe’s main cities.

But what was once an in-the-know, fashion-forward look has graduated to a mainstream movement, and utility-wear has reached its peak, particularly in China. After all, what goes up, must come down. 

Welcome to the “cleanfit” era.

An antidote to utility-wear styles, cleanfit, or “clean” fashion entails a logo-free, immaculate aesthetic. Minimalism is at its core, and a sense of simplicity is its theme. Think suede Birkenstock clogs teamed with fresh white socks, loose-fit denim, and a crisp ironed shirt.

Xiaohongshu cleanfit

China’s Generation Z are flooding Xiaohongshu with Cleanfit ‘fit pics. Photo: Xiaohongshu

It can be seen as an extension of the “clean girl aesthetic,” the Gen Z TikTok trope of someone who eats well, works out, and always has glowing dewy skin, but wears minimal make-up. 

The #cleanfit hashtag on Xiaohongshu has supplanted #gorpcore; the former has amassed 87.9 million views on the platform, and 2.93 million views on Weibo, while the latter has generated 36 million views on Xiaohongshu

Though utility-wear started to take off in the West post-2017, it didn’t reach full stride in China until 2021 and 2022, propelled by the fact that outdoor activities in the mainland surged because of COVID-19 restrictions. 

“Gorpcore is still very popular in China and globally,” Shanghai-based Multimedia Editorial Director Mel Chen tells Jing Daily. “The pandemic has basically just ended, and outdoor demand is still growing. Of course, the most important thing is to look at how social media affects the trend.”

Despite gorpcore being relatively new and popular in China, social media attention indicates waning interest. “Gorpcore has become somewhat of a cliché in the lifestyle space, a trend,” Van Oostrum explains that while the trend might be running its course, sportswear brands like Salomon hold durability, still. “But there is, in fact, longevity in what Salomon brings because we offer products that are unique. We have created a category in its own right. Salomon has not seen success in lifestyle purely because of this trend, but because it has been adopted, and universally authenticated by the wearer because of this functional need. Then we have a pool of designers, developers, material experts—teams who can adapt products to the wants of people interested in fashion. ” 

cleanfit little red book

The Cleanfit trend is taking Gorpcore’s top spot as the streetwear-trend-to-watch in China. Photo: Xiaohongshu

The luxury industry should be mindful of this shift away from utility-wear toward cleaner cut basics and staples — the psychology behind it suggests consumers crave simplicity. 

Some esteemed brands are already taking note, with the likes of sportswear giant Li-Ning dropping some Clarks Wallabees on March 3, and Gap joining forces with Chinese label Attempt to launch an elegantly moody capsule last month. 

Think of cleanfit as the mature elder relative of utility-wear – the casual, comfy aesthetic of gorpcore is still very much in fashion, just in a neater way. The vibe is coolly anonymous, so logos are out.


Byredo, Penhaligon’s Parent Puig Reports Stellar Revenue Growth, Eyes China’s Niche Fragrance Market

What Happened: Spanish beauty and fashion giant Puig has released its financial results for 2022, reporting an impressive $4 billion in net revenue, up 40 percent from 2022. Geographically, EMEA was the best-performing region, generating 54 percent of net revenue, while the US contributed 36 percent, and Asia made up 10 percent. 

The Chinese market, in particular, is sending positive signals. Despite the zero-Covid-19 measures in place during the reporting period, the company still achieved 36 percent revenue growth during the year. Notably, China’s luxury market contracted 10 percent in 2022.

Fragrance and fashion were the top performing categories for Puig in 2022 – together the two made up 74 percent of its net revenue. The division’s sales growth was also spurred by the addition of new brands, such as Swedish luxury scent label Byredo. 

In 2022, the Spanish beauty group Puig acquired the Swedish fragrance label Byredo. Image: Byredo

Puig is the world’s fifth largest fragrance-maker. “In the niche category, our intention is to reach 20 percent market share, because that’s a growing territory,” says Marc Puig, chairman and chief executive officer of Puig.

The Jing Take: According to a BCG report, only 5 percent of the Chinese population wears fragrance. The room for growth is huge. Kantar reports that from 2015 through 2020, the Chinese fragrance market maintained an annual compound growth rate of nearly 15 percent. Over the next five years, the market is expected to expand 22 percent annually, three times the rate of global fragrance market growth. 

Puig is seeking to expand in China. In 2022, the Spanish beauty group opened direct sales points for its niche perfume portfolio comprising Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur in China. 

In 2022, the Spanish beauty group opened direct sales points for its niche perfume portfolio, Pehaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur in China.  Image: Penhaligon’s

Earlier this year, Puig teamed up with Tmall to launch the Scent Visualizer, an innovative technology developed by the beauty conglomerate to educate consumers about the smells of perfumes. The tool allows users to visualize in pictures the olfactive ingredients in a perfume, thanks to its visual library of more than 1,400 unique ingredients and database of 21,500 fragrances.

The pilot project produced promising results. Thanks to the visual representation of each perfume, consumers accelerated their purchase decisions. As a result, the brands’ online GMV increased by 5 percent on average.

However, international brands face increasing competition from indigenous players, like To Summer, Scent Library and Documents, which are catching up fast thanks to their focus on Asian olfactory experiences. According to iiMedia research, 74.7 percent of perfume buyers expressed a preference for homegrown brands in 2021. 

To Summer, Scent Library, Documents are catching up fast thanks to their focus on oriental olfactory. Image: To Summer

Hence, global names should accelerate initiatives to educate consumers on their scents and create tailored perfumes that cater to this rising cohort of fragrance shoppers.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.


Brand New Or Preloved? Gen Z Drives Surprising Boom In Second-hand Luxury In China

Once a taboo topic for luxury houses, the second-hand market is witnessing a surging number of fashion brands embracing and incorporating the concept into their business models. From Gucci to Coach, luxury brands are foraying into the second-hand market to cater to the shifting demands of young shoppers. In China, Gen Z in first and second-tier cities are driving growth. They account for over 65 percent of preloved goods buyers. 

Compared to seasoned markets like the US and Japan, where second-hand luxury makes up 31 and 28 percent of luxury consumption, respectively, China’s preloved market accounts for only 5 percent. Although it is still a nascent field, it has enormous room for growth. 


From Gucci to Coach, luxury brands are foraying into the second-hand market to cater to the shifting demands of young shoppers. Image: Gucci Vault

The number of Chinese consumers putting up their used goods for sale soared 40 percent in 2022, according to CPP luxury, expanding the range of luxury goods circulating in the local second-hand market. 

“The trend has been driven largely by the economic squeeze of the pandemic, with more people looking to sell their luxury goods for cash and luxury shoppers tightening their belts. Moreover, travel restrictions prevented Chinese luxury shoppers from going overseas to bypass the significant price gap for luxury goods between China and other markets like Europe,” explains Jacob Cooke, co-founder and CEO of WPIC Marketing + Technologies.

Jing Daily looks at the state of China’s resale ecosystem and the opportunities it presents for brands and retailers.

Analyzing China’s second-hand shoppers

There’s significant room for second-hand market growth in China. According to a recent iResearch report, the domestic resale market was valued at $8 billion (51 billion RMB) in 2020, and will expand to exceed $32 billion (208 billion RMB) by 2025.

Thanks to celebrities, KOLs’ promotion, and the popularization of second-hand consumption among younger shoppers, purchasing preloved goods has gradually become mainstream in China. “In our quarterly index, we can see that consumers’ searches for second-hand fashion have increased month by month,” says Liang Chen, co-founder of Shanghai-based resale platform dejaWooo.


Thanks to celebrities, KOLs’ promotion, and the popularization of second-hand consumption among younger shoppers, purchasing preloved goods has gradually become mainstream in China. Image: Xiaohongshu

Female Gen Z buyers largely lead their counterparts in second-hand purchases, accounting for 65 percent of second-hand consumption in China. Yet, brands should not neglect male consumers. Their appetite for sneakers and limited edition collaboration pieces provides a lucrative opportunity for streetwear-oriented resale platforms like Poizon. 

“The categories of interest have expanded from handbags to ready-to-wear for different occasions, including wedding dresses, suits, and ties,” adds Liang.

Currently, domestic second-hand luxury market consumption is mainly concentrated in first, new first, and second-tier cities, which account for about 70 percent. However, as luxury spending power in third-tier cities continues to increase, demand for second-hand luxury goods is also growing, as reported by Zhanqian Research. Given that, resellers should not overlook these areas.

Online vs. offline

Investors and businesses have already spotted the preloved luxury opportunity. In 2020, second-hand e-commerce platforms like Seecoo, Plum, and Poizon received tens of millions of dollars in funding


In 2020, second-hand e-commerce platforms like Seecoo, Plum, and Poizon received tens of millions of dollars in funding. Image: Poizon

But, despite consumers’ rising interest, these first-movers are now embroiled in a whirlpool of operational difficulties. Their high commissions, low transparency, slow logistics, and counterfeit issues have blighted the consumer experience and damaged their reputation. Over 20,000 posts criticizing these apps have been published on Xiaohongshu.

Consumer trust is a pain point for China’s resale market. The proliferation of counterfeits is creating barriers to growth. “Authenticity continues to be the primary concern for buyers,” says Cooke. Data shows that in 2019, only 33.6 percent of luxury products in China verified by luxury goods appraisal were genuine.

Although online sites offer the convenience of product searches and price comparisons, offline stores are the preferred destination for consumers purchasing preloved luxury goods. Research from resale platform Plum shows that the three primary reasons for shoppers to purchase in-store are immediate product availability, the reliability of the source, and the ability to view items. “Chinese shoppers are more inclined to touch the product on the spot,” says Liang. 

Second-hand luxury stores are opening in residential areas in China. Image: Xiaohongshu

In response to this demand, second-hand luxury stores are opening in residential areas in China. They will likely become a crucial channel for second-hand market expansion. Close to both sellers and buyers, they offer more competitive price points, have a deeper understanding of consumers’ demands, and accurately connect their clientele with suitable products. 

“Community stores have an advantage in building trust between the buyer and seller,” concludes Cooke.

A glimpse into the future 

Many factors are accelerating the development of China’s second-hand luxury ecosystem. 

Compared to baby boomers and Gen X, younger generations are less reluctant to accept the idea of preloved luxury. With this demographic becoming the main consumption force in China, the preloved goods market will likely grow rapidly. 

Additionally, this cohort is more attune to climate change issues. Thus, sustainability plays a vital role in their decision-making process. “Young consumers are inclined to make choices that contribute to the environment, such as buying second-hand fashion,” comments Liang.

The popular vintage goods trend is also boosting demand for preloved and collection-worthy pieces in the second-hand market. “We can see that in the sought-after watches and handbags categories,” says Liang. 


The popular vintage goods trend is also boosting demand for preloved and collection-worthy pieces in the second-hand market. Image: XIaohongshu

For instance, 720 preloved units of the Chanel Classic Flap and Hermès Lindy handbags, each priced over $7,500 (50,000 RMB), were sold via second-hand platform Poizon in 2022, according to a report by data and AI platform Re-Hub. Meanwhile, two preloved units of Hermès’ alligator skin Birkin were sold at $53,800 (370,000 RMB) the same year, and five second-hand Louis Vuitton Courrier Lozine trunks were sold at an average price of around $32,700 (225,000 RMB) each. 

Fueled by a range of factors, the rise of second-hand luxury looks unstoppable, which explains why luxury brands are entering the sector to shape it to their preferences.


asics x trouble smile

Pooches In Chau Rising, Asics Goes Local, And Redmi’s At Hogwarts: China Collabs Of The Week

In between collab headlines, such as Mugler x H&M announcing their May 11 launch date and Supreme joining Undercover for a hypebeast-worthy outerwear collection, Chinese brands have been busy this week with new releases.

Japanese global powerhouse Asics continues to prove the impact of its localized sportswear strategy, connecting with the mainland’s streetwear lovers via a line with Chinese subculture brand Trouble Smile.

In other news, emerging petwear meets new-age fashion design with Chau Rising x Midu Midu — the pet economy continues to thrive. 

Turning to tech, Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi has created Harry Potter smartphone merchandise, evidently following the success of its Astroboy collaboration last year.

For our verdict on these, check out the below. If you want to read more on Chinese brand collaboration, subscribe to the Collabs and Drops newsletter here to receive these weekly updates straight to your inbox.   

Asics x Trouble Smile

Asics x Trouble Smile

Sneakers by Asics and Chinese streetwear brand Trouble Smile. Photo: Asics Weibo

Date: April 7

Verdict: Jumping on the local streetwear x global sportswear collaboration trend, Asics has tapped three-year-old local brand Trouble Smile. Since it launched, #TroubleSmile# has generated 11.4 million reads on Weibo and been featured in 15,000 conversations on the platform, compared to #Asics#, which has sparked 48,000 conversations, and 96 million reads. 

A rising number of sports giants such as Asics, Adidas, Reebok, and Fila have localized their collaboration strategies to connect with Gen Z streetwear fans across the globe. Collaboration is a gateway to subcultures and connecting with these smaller names can provide loyal exposure.

Chau Rising x Midu Midu

chau rising midu midu

Chau Rising has officially entered China’s glamorous pet economy via a collaboration with Midu Midu. Photo: Chau Rising Weibo

Date: Spring 2023

Verdict: China’s pet economy loves brand collaboration. This tie-up of two local names shows there is demand for designer dog outfits in the mainland. The independent designer brand isn’t yet established in China, or the rest of the world. Its London Fashion Week debut was for Fall 2023. For context, this collaboration’s hashtag, #chaurising小灵感#, earned 17,000 reads and just 23 organic discussions on Weibo.

With 907 fans on Weibo and 1,958 on Xiaohongshu, Midu Midu is also an emerging brand. Usually offering tongue-in-cheek designs, from burger outfits for cats to Burger King costumes for dogs, Midu Midu has been able to expand its own product offering through this collaboration, catering to those who love to glam up their pets.

Redmi x Harry Potter

Date: March 28

Verdict: JK Rowling’s world-famous wizard series is loved by China’s Gen Z, making the Harry Potter IP lucrative collab material for brands — now, even for smartphones. Consumers’ familiarity with the franchise makes it a reliable option for the mainstream public. Redmi phones are a fraction of Apple’s prices, too. 

Therefore, this pop culture collab looks set to work wonders for engaging the wider public. This release isn’t the first tie-up for Redmi, which in 2022 collaborated with the  Astroboy IP that’s also beloved in China. The impact of reaching young people through the incorporation of nostalgic IP into products doesn’t apply only to fashion. 

China’s Gen Z, Kidults Fuel Luxury x Anime Collabs In 2023

What Happened: In March, over 50 luxury brands launched 500 collaborative pieces inspired by Japanese anime characters on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, according to Alizila, Alibaba’s news platform.

Launched globally on February 14, the Jimmy Choo x Sailor Moon collection is now available to shop on Tmall Luxury Pavilion. Photo: Alibaba Group

Among them was Jimmy Choo, which joined forces with shojo manga (girls’ comic) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon for a capsule that included Swarovski crystal-studded boots, pumps, and handbags in the iconic colors of the crime-fighting schoolgirl characters. Another was Chloé, which partnered with Sanrio’s loveable bunny icon My Melody to celebrate the Year of the Rabbit in style.

The Jing Take: It’s no secret the mainland is full of anime fans. Just last weekend, the Japanese anime film Suzume celebrated a $50 million opening box office in China — the biggest start for a non-Chinese film this year — making it the ninth highest-grossing anime feature of all time.

And this love for anime is not confined to Asia. Once considered a subculture, the genre has taken over streaming services and box offices around the world; more than half of Netflix viewers worldwide consumed some anime content in 2021. According to Maximize Market, the global anime market is expected to grow from $24 billion in 2021 to $50.5 billion by 2029.

Given this voracious appetite, several brands that have collaborated with anime intellectual property (IP) have been successful. When Loewe dropped its capsule with Spirited Away in 2022, fans crowded outside the brand’s New York City flagship store, crashed its website, and caused resale prices to skyrocket. Similarly, when Montblanc teamed up with Naruto Shippuden for a series of leather goods last year, the sell-out rate was reportedly as high as 90 percent.

Loewe and Montblanc are two luxury brands that have collaborated with anime IP within the last year. Photo: Loewe, Montblanc

Given that the price point of these collections is often in the thousands, this trend points to the growing influence of the “kidult” economy. These consumers use their grown-up money to spend on items intended for children or inspired by childhood nostalgia, and are responsible for one-fourth of all toy sales annually, according to NPD Group. In China, the kidult demographic has also given rise to a booming collectible toys market — a category that grew 82 year-over-year in 2022 on

With Gen Z representing the fastest-growing demographic on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, heritage luxury brands looking to stay relevant in China should not shy away from playful IP. Manga and anime are only becoming more mainstream, and the right pairing could lead to enhanced cultural capital and a blockbuster success.

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

Cult & Rain Taps AI, NFCs In Latest Phygital Fashion Drop. Will Luxury Follow Suit?

Web3-born luxury fashion label Cult & Rain today launched its new phygital collection “Drop 002” in partnership with and digital wardrobe marketplace DressX. The project will tie exclusive luxury physicals to digital assets that live on the blockchain, allowing the item to exist beyond its tangible boundaries. 

“Our community has been asking us for a full wardrobe. And we decided to answer that call and produce the best collection we could do,” Director of Marketing and Communications for the label Andy Griffiths told Jing Daily. 

To further enhance cross-format connectivity, the 401 specially-designed hoodies on offer are each embedded with an near-field communication (NFC) chip, allowing holders to access a 3D AR animated non-fungible token (NFT) (created in collaboration with DressX) and exclusive entry to the brand’s world through an app powered by tech partner It also facilitates product authentication, resale opportunities, and end-to-end communication perks. 

The collection was formulated using three pillars of technology — artificial intelligence, augmented reality and near-field communication — each currently generating media headlines and social buzz for their innovation potential. 

The project spotlights a new approach to loyalty rewards and customer engagement. Photo: Cult & Rain

NFC chips are the latest booming use-case for brands exploring the metaverse. Thanks to its revolutionary take on authentication and ownership, near-field communication technology is allowing fashion brands to bolster their product value and enhance consumer offerings. 

It’s also a way for luxury businesses to leverage their resale market and secondary revenue for both online and offline assets.

“Blockchain technology will enable brands in the future to receive a cut of physical trades on a brand new secondary marketplace, and Cult & Rain will be one of the first to capitalize on this groundbreaking model,” George Yang, Founder & CEO of the label said in the launch’s press release. 

Web3-born fashion labels like Cult & Rain (including Gmoney’s luxury lifestyle platform 9dcc and Cathy Hackl’s debut Frillz project) have fully embraced the burgeoning technology. Thanks to their native understanding of the space, they have been able to seamlessly deploy the tech with confidence and craft a successful connected-product experience. The tech is, however, yet to take off among luxury’s mainstream players. 

That isn’t to say traditional brands aren’t curious about new advancements. Over the past year, a number of fashion giants have turned to rapidly rising technologies like artificial intelligence as a tool for inspiration — and it’s likely only just the beginning. 

While Christopher Kane unveiled his own series of AI-generated prints on dresses during London Fashion Week, denim powerhouse Levi’s also announced this month that it would be using artificial intelligence to help diversify its models and bolster its consumer inclusivity. 

Recognizing the explosion in popularity of programs like ChatGPT, Cult & Rain too opted to use artificial intelligence for the final version of the hoodies. Yang explains that he ran a series of keywords relating to his vision through the generative system. But he makes it clear that the brand is using the application to enhance the creative process, rather than replace it. 

“There’s this misconception with AI that you run through some keywords and it spits out the perfect image. It’s still so infantile, it still takes the human taste to fine tune and create exactly what you want, and that’s what we had to do when it came to the textures and details and colors,” Griffiths says. 

As seen with NFTs last year, brands are willing to jump onto hype as a way of capitalizing on widespread buzz. But becoming overly reliant on novel technology like artificial intelligence runs the risk of short-lived results and audience backlash — the latter largely down to unabating consumer reticence. 

But Cult & Rain is optimistic that it has found the perfect medium, and that its latest drop is proof of that. “We believe in this technology, and we believe in the future of it,” Yang says.

whisky China Johnnie Walker Diageo

Bottoms Up: How China’s Pleasure-seeking Consumers Are Falling For Luxury Whisky

When Cassandra Huang married Paul Chen in Suzhou at a chic Western-style outdoor wedding in August last year, whisky was the drink of choice. The pair, both in their late 20s, asked wedding guests to bring foreign alcoholic drinks. Most of them showed up with a bottle of whisky, like Tomintoul, Aultmore, Tomatin and Talisker. 

“That whisky was the main drink was fantastic for us because it added to our wedding’s joyful mood; people sipped it over conversations. Plus, whisky glasses filled with ice are ideal for posing for pictures, especially on a hot summer’s day,” says Huang.

Despite only making up about 1 percent of China’s spirits market, whisky’s popularity in China is booming. China imported $460 million worth of the spirit in 2021, an annual increase of 91.7 percent, reports Chinese economic news media Yicai. And Euromonitor projects that whisky market revenue in China will surpass $2.25 billion in 2025, up from $635 million in 2019.

Jing Daily examines why young Chinese consumers are turning to whisky and how brands can overcome hurdles like the dominance of baijiu, a colorless Chinese liquor, to win market share.    

Diversity of whisky 

About 47 percent of China’s whisky consumers are Gen Zers, 40 percent of whom are willing to spend upwards of $145 (1,000 RMB) on a bottle, according to a 2021 report from China’s Billion Bottle whisky information platform. China’s whisky drinkers also tend to be well-educated and reside in big cities: 69 percent of them have at least a bachelor’s degree and 54 percent live in first-tier and new first-tier cities.

Young Chinese consumers favor whisky because its diverse range of types and flavors and product origins fit with their pursuit of individuality. The drink also represents European culture and history, attracting the interest of cultural consumers who are keen to learn about a product’s cultural significance. Moreover, whisky is becoming a standard feature of big gatherings attended by the young. 

During China’s COVID-19 lockdowns, millennials and Gen Z increased their spending on foreign spirits as part of consumption to self-please.

Local consumers are more adventurous and willing to experiment with new products and brands,” says Atul Chhaparwal, Managing Director at Diageo Greater China, which purveys whisky brands such as Johnnie Walker, Talisker, and Mortlach in the country. “During the pandemic, we saw increased in-home consumption that led to growth in our e-commerce channels.” 

Indeed, in the first half of 2022, Diageo reported 20 percent year-over-year whisky sales growth in the Asia Pacific market, including a 9 percent sales increase in the Greater China region.

“We are confident about double-digit accretive growth in China for our international spirits business, which is primarily made up of premium Scotch whisky,” he says. 

A ‘baijiu’-saturated market 

Global whisky brands have recognized China’s market potential. For example, in December 2022, The Macallan opened its first duty-free boutique store in China at the Haikou International Duty Free Shopping Complex in Hainan. The store is The Macallan’s largest travel retail boutique in the world.

But these brands face a struggle scaling up their market share.

Whisky makes up a tiny fraction of China’s alcohol market. By contrast, baijiu accounted for 69.5 percent of the alcohol market in 2021, a study from market research firm Askci found.    

Additionally, China’s whisky consumers are predominantly male — 88 percent of China’s Gen-Z whisky consumers are men, the Billion Bottle report found. 

Moreover, many Chinese consumers lack knowledge about the spirit, and would need to be educated on whisky for the drink to go mainstream.   

Recognizing these challenges, some whisky brands have sought to tie their products more closely to Chinese culture and attract more female consumers. A case in point is Bowmore, which has every year since 2019 launched a limited edition bottle exclusively in China featuring beasts from Chinese mythology, such as the phoenix and white tiger. 

The 38-year-old Black Warrior is the third release in Bowmore’s Chinese Mythical Guardians Series. Photo: Bowmore

For 2023’s Lunar New Year, Johnnie Walker Blue Label cooperated with Chinese Gen Z favorite, female fashion designer Angel Chen to release a limited-edition bottle design that commemorated the Year of the Rabbit while echoing the brand’s motto, “Keep Walking.”  And in 2022, Scotch whisky brand Loch Lomond partnered with Shen Hongfei, the chief consultant for China’s renowned culinary documentary series A Bite of China, to design banquets paired with whiskies. 

Johnnie Walker teamed up with Angel Chen for a limited edition Year of the Rabbit design. Photo: Johnnie Walker

More localization

Taking localization further, one strategy is to set up whisky distilleries in China. 

Although Chinese consumers are attracted by whisky’s European heritage, an “in China for China” approach would go a long way toward making the spirit a mainstream option in the world’s largest and fastest growing alcohol market. 

In August 2021, Pernod Ricard’s whisky distillery in Emeishan, Sichuan Province, the first whisky distillery in China to be owned by an international group, went into production.

Meanwhile, in November 2021, Diageo announced plans for a $75 million whisky distillery in Eryuan, Yunnan Province. “The distillery will allow Diageo to further leverage the market’s rising interest in premium whisky and to bring China into the center of the global whisky conversation,” says Chhaparwal.

The visitor center of the Diageo Eryuan Malt Distillery, which will produce Diageo’s first China-origin, single malt whisky. Photo: Diageo

Notably, Chinese alcohol brands are also joining the race. For example, renowned Chinese beer brand Tsingtao stated in early 2020 that it would include whisky in its operational portfolio. This should give international whisky brands all the more reason to tailor their products to Chinese consumers.

Other measures brands can deploy in China include launching brand membership schemes that offer loyal customers exclusive experiences, such as tours of whisky distilleries. 

Modern lifestyles

Premium whisky brands have plenty of reasons to be confident of their future prospects in the Chinese market. 

Although baijiu will remain the dominant spirit, it faces enormous challenges connecting with China’s young consumers. In 2021, the average age of baijiu drinkers was 45, and millennials only accounted for 20 percent of baijiu consumers, data from Tencent Marketing Insight found.

Not only is baijiu often stronger than whisky, it’s also commonly associated with formal banquets attended by middle-aged men.

This was one reason why Huang and Chen asked their guests to bring foreign drinks. In contrast to traditional Chinese weddings, which are usually large affairs, Huang and Chen’s intimate nuptials were attended by the couple’s friends and schoolmates from when they studied together at Tufts University in Boston.

“We wanted the occasion to be modern, and lighthearted, so we didn’t suggest baijiu because it’s more suitable for cumbersome, traditional ceremonies,” says Huang. That’s a lesson for brands.

Whisky brands in China should prioritize establishing tighter connections with their younger consumers in order to challenge baijiu’s dominant market share in China’s spirit market in the long term. Also, raising Chinese consumers’ awareness of whisky and its culture is vital as it would enable them to distinguish premium products.

Regardless of which steps whisky brands take, constant innovation and being able to combine European traditions with Chinese culture will be key to their future success in China.  


Off-White store closure China

Off-White Sanlitun Beijing Shutters, Foot Locker’s Hong Kong, Macau Stores To All Close

What Happened? Virgil Abloh-founded Off-White shutters another store, having closed four stores across Chengdu, Xian and Shanghai. On March 14, the brand’s Beijing Sanlitun boutique closed down (leaving the Lafayette store its sole remaining presence in the city), taking the brand’s total boutiques down to five from nine just a few years ago. 

Multi-brand sports shoe store Foot Locker is also planning to close down all of its Hong Kong and Macau stores, including one in prime retail and tourist area Tsim Sha Tsui. This is part of Foot Locker’s plan to shut down all 420 of its stores globally by 2026, pivoting away from malls, replacing some with new concept stores, according to CEO Mary Dillon.

Off-White closed its Beijing Sanlintun store in March 2023. Photo Off-White

The Jing Take: Physical retail in Greater China can offer huge opportunities for overseas brands to connect with local consumers. But to drive footfall and retail, expect to invest heavily in localized content, marketing and activations as well as high property rents in star locations. After a few tough pandemic years, struggling retail and lockdowns, many brands are finding the high investment in physical stores too tough to take. 

Off-White is one such example. While the streetwear-luxury hybrid label garnered good brand recognition when launching in China in 2017, it hasn’t managed to maintain the hype since, and has also over-invested in rapid brick-and-mortar retail expansion. Foot Locker’s exit from Hong Kong and Macau also goes to show that brand recognition in your home country or the West doesn’t automatically translate to stellar sales in the East. 

As many fashion and beauty brands, such as Trussardi, Cha Ling, Marks and Spencer, New Look and Maybelline, have learned the hard way, the streets of China aren’t necessarily paved with gold, pandemic or no pandemic. Brands must constantly revise their retail strategies alongside China’s rapidly evolving marketplace and geo-political shifts. 

A highly saturated e-commerce landscape and rising boredom of identikit stores or malls in China also mean that there’s added pressure to create experiential, new and emotional offline retail concepts and connections. Omni-channel activations are even better — linking the online and offline worlds in one fluid experience. 

The success of the Gentle Monster model has been telling, and many Chinese brands like Florasis have followed suit with gallery-like, creative, experiential flagships. Recent pop-ups by the likes of Christian Dior, L’Oreal Paris and Vacheron Constantin show how labels can successfully leverage fun, physical presences without the commitment of a permanent store. 

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

What To Expect From Adidas, Coach, Tommy Hilfiger At Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week 2023

As brands ready to unveil their long-awaited virtual activations, this year’s Metaverse Fashion Week (MVFW) schedule, which runs tomorrow to March 31, has been released to the public. 

Over the weekend, MVFW organizer and host Decentraland revealed the full lineup for the second iteration of its online event. The agenda features fresh faces and returnees to the week like Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, and Tommy Hilfiger, alongside a global first from sports giant Adidas. 

The theme, Future Heritage, is intended to encourage brands to focus on crafting experiences that are both community-driven and meaningful for their audiences. It’s also an opportunity to experiment with new tools to evolve their storytelling and consumer offerings. 

Decentraland has also been working behind-the-scenes to rectify pain points that became evident during last year’s experience. Following its inaugural launch, audiences complained about glitching, unsophisticated graphics, and trouble with accessing the platform. As a result, the company invested in resolving these concerns for this year. 

Last year’s Metaverse Fashion Week fell under scrutiny due to glitches and inaccessibility. Photo: Dolce & Gabbana @ Metaverse Fashion Week

Potentially the biggest activation of the week — and the most eagerly anticipated — comes from Adidas. Its first stint at MVFW will involve a community-first experience that encompasses the holders of its Virtual Gear tokens and Decentraland’s audience. 

Owners of the label’s Virtual Gear non-fungible tokens (NFT) will be able to claim an exclusive 3D twin to use on avatars inside Decentraland’s platform. To date, the Virtual Gear tokens are limited to profile picture (PFP)-only formats, but Decentraland’s latest Linked Wearable update makes cross-format endeavors like Adidas’ possible.

Tommy Hilfiger, one of the luxury labels fully embracing the metaverse’s potential, will also return to the virtual space. This time, with an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered experience harnessing the trend that has taken over mainstream media. The American fashion house will also launch a number of daily fashion drops, as well as competitions in which winners will be personally selected by the designer himself.

Dolce & Gabbana returns to MVFW following its bespoke wearables initiative last year. The Italian house will exhibit winning designs from its Future Reward competition, which intended to spotlight emerging talent, while DKNY is set to host its own branded art gallery, pizzeria, and rooftop lounge. 

Deepening its partnership with augmented reality (AR) fashion platform Zero10, Coach will launch its very own retail space where visitors can try-on its signature Tabby bag, as well as collect designs that were created in collaboration with the startup. It’s all part of the label’s recent “In My Tabby” campaign, which stars Lil Nas X, Camila Mendes and Mitsuki Kimura, also known as Kōki.

Returnees to the event include Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Coach, and DKNY. Photo: Tommy Hilfiger @ Metaverse Fashion Week

Alo Yoga is banking on bringing a breath of fresh air to the showcase with its virtual meditation and breathwork classes, which will take place daily during the event. As the athleisure label continues on its roadmap to bringing wellness into Web3, tapping an attraction as widely recognized as MFVW is sure to amplify its efforts. 

On the heels of securing $15 million in Series A funding, DressX will partner with Dundas on a series of digitized wearables. ​​The Institute of Digital Fashion (IoDF), another platform born from Web3 and leading brands entering the digital landscape, will partner with designer Bradley Sharpe on two luxury wearables. Only 100 editions of each are being made available on Decentraland’s marketplace. 

“These emerging designers are the luxury IRL x URL fashion houses of the future. IoDF is intent on building the skills and use cases to have a successful pivot to digital,” IoDF Co-Founder & CEO, Leanne Elliott-Young said in a statement released by the platform. 

The platform’s wider MVFW experience also taps AR to create a “larger than life” billboard. Compatible with mobile cameras, the function works in any landscape, enabling users to be a part of IoDF’s discourse anywhere in the world.

Decentraland posted the full brand lineup of this year’s MVFW in February. Photo: Decentraland

Smaller names on the schedule include AR metaverse platform Over, which will host a wearable design competition presented in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Digital fashion company Altr is set to spotlight 10 underrepresented cultures through traditional costume and dress in its own exhibition space, each created by a fledgling creative selected by the platform. Since MVFW’s inception, Decentraland has made efforts to leverage the voices of established startups, enabling them to forge ahead with their metaverse ambitions. 

After a rocky start to the year for Web3 resulted in slowed momentum, brands are adopting a more refined and considered approach to their digital roadmaps for MVFW. The pressure is on to deliver, but fashion remains keen to stretch the boundaries of the digital world and explore a better-connected future for the industry. 

Xiaohongshu’s 3 Key Post-pandemic China Consumer Trends

Borders are open, events are back on, and China has finally — finally! — entered its post-pandemic era. However, COVID-19 has left an indelible mark, changing the way Chinese consumers interact with the world around them. 

Earlier this month, Xiaohongshu released a report with NielsenIQ that examines the psychology of Chinese consumers. Based on a survey of over 2,000 people in first through sixth-tier cities, the study highlights not only what Chinese netizens are spending on, but the values and motivations driving them to purchase in the first place.

Below, Jing Daily summarizes three key trends to help brands prepare for a reopened and reinvigorated China.

Consumers want to reward themselves, emotionally and rationally

Despite economic difficulties during the pandemic in 2022, the per capita monthly income and monthly expenditure of Xiaohongshu users continued to grow compared with 2021. While the ratio of consumption to income should stay the same, both are expected to “increase significantly” in 2023.

According to the lifestyle platform, Chinese consumers view consumption as an investment in a better life for themselves. As such, product quality is still their top consideration when making a purchase. It saw the biggest year-on-year increase compared to other purchase drivers. However, emotional value comes in at number two, meaning that Xiaohongshu users are willing to pay for goods that go beyond practicality and contribute to their “spiritual pleasure and satisfaction.” 

Together, these findings show that consumers want to reward themselves but rationally, keeping their actual needs and products’ values in mind. Brands that want to appeal to these shoppers should highlight their products from multiple angles, demonstrating their functional, emotional, cultural, and aesthetic value.

Shoppers trust other consumers to give them the full picture

As consumers become more cautious about their purchasing decisions, they’re turning to those they trust for help: other shoppers. Product seeding, or peer-to-peer recommendations, plays a crucial role in communicating product value; 60 percent of Xiaohongshu users trust the experience of other customers, while 59 percent said they are willing to share their own experiences to benefit others.

Sixty percent of surveyed Xiaohongshu users said they trust the experience of ordinary customers. Photo: Xiaohongshu

Of course, this isn’t limited to sharing experiences. From the packaging design, to the materials and formula, to the functionality, consumers want all the details about a product. Reading notes and comments from other netizens helps them build trust in a brand, which naturally results in a higher repurchase rate, states the report.

Product seeding is particularly useful for smaller or niche brands in China. These user recommendations are typically more convincing and relevant than marketing campaigns, and can help widen the brand’s exposure to various consumer groups. Brands can even go a step further by co-creating products with Xiaohongshu and capitalizing on its user data, as C-beauty label Colorkey did last year to break into the lip mud market.

Consumers invest in a comfortable and quality life, starting at home

When considering the factors needed for a quality life, a healthy body, work-life balance, and free time were ranked as the top three by Chinese consumers. Likewise, food, travel, exercise, mental health, beauty and apparel were identified as the top categories consumers are willing to increase spending on in 2023.

Interestingly, “a comfortable living environment” moved up three spots in 2022 to fourth place in the list of factors. As people spent significantly more time at home during the pandemic, improving comfort and convenience has become a greater priority; the number of surveyed users who purchased furniture or home decoration climbed 7 percent compared to 2021, while those who bought home electronics increased by 6 percent.

In a separate lifestyle trends report, Xiaohongshu found that “young people are purchasing home fragrances, carpets, projectors and house plants, trying to transform their homes into home theaters, home cafés, and small gardens.” 

In 2022, the number of posts related to “a corner of paradise at home” on Xiaohongshu increased by 196% year-on-year. Photo: Xiaohongshu

No doubt the 2022 lockdowns have made many realize the importance of a comfortable and inspiring living space. Brands can leverage this opportunity by expanding into home goods, fragrances, and other related categories that help China’s shoppers create a slice of paradise at home.

Why The Principles Of Premium And Luxury Marketing Are Changing

In my last Future of Luxury column, I argued that getting the human connection right is the top weakness for premium and luxury brands.

As I wrote, “In a time when technology reigns supreme and when brands spend enormous amounts on real estate, design, interiors, and amenities, it is easy to overlook the importance of the human touch in building brand loyalty and creating lasting relationships with consumers. However, this is precisely what luxury brands must focus on if they hope to succeed in the long term.” 

It became one of the most read and most shared articles of this column. This underscores the critical importance of addressing the changing reality for premium and luxury brands. 

Typically, brands in the premium and luxury space focus on brand image, awareness, and craftsmanship, including quality markers like fine leathers and exceptional ingredients. They also, when applicable, highlight their heritage with labels like Made in Italy, Made in Germany, or Made in Paris. 

However, many of these attributes are no longer driving value with clients. They have changed from value creators to simply what is expected from luxury products. In the case of “Made in Italy,” a recent study by Équité Research shows that for American clients, the term is predominantly associated with pizza, pasta, and the movie of the same name — not at all with elegance, style, or any kind of aspiration. Good luck to luxury brands relying on traditional credentials like these. 

Burberry, under the new creative direction of Daniel Lee, has started to look back at its heritage and highlight its Britishness. But what it should be doing is asking itself, what is the value creation model of the brand? Britishness is a generic term that means different things to almost everyone. While it sounds like a great idea to go back to the brand’s origin, much more relevant for today’s and especially tomorrow’s luxury clients is understanding precisely what the brand stands for, rationally and emotionally. Luxury houses that overly rely on traditional markers will not make the cut. 

Burberry logo heritage

After years of interchangeable sans serif logos, luxury fashion brands are returning to traditional branding. Photo: Burberry

The most fundamental difference between the reality of premium and luxury brands today compared to in the past is that neither distribution nor accessibility to brands is a hurdle in a digital world where practically every item is a click away.  

The new bottleneck is connecting with clients. In a reality where 95 percent or more of all premium and luxury purchase decisions originate during the digital customer journey, and where algorithms of social media platforms determine whether a client sees something or not, turning a potential client into a paying customer has become a new art for brands. 

And the time brands have from the initial contact to the sales conversion is decreasing dramatically. Even in luxury, if a digital interaction does not convert immediately or at least does not change the perception towards the brand, then there is a significant probability that the client is lost altogether. 

Which is why creating cultural capital is so critical. And to create cultural capital, brands need to have full clarity on who they are. You may argue that this is not new. However, what is new is that it requires a never-before-seen precision in not just defining the emotional core of the brand but also communicating it. This needs to happen along each and every touchpoint of a client’s experience. 

As I write this column, I am sitting in first class in an airline on the way to a luxury masterclass. The seats are great, the food is nicely curated, and the staff is incredibly friendly. However, the experience resembles every other first-class experience. As a result, there is no brand-specific value created. 

What many brands forget is that on the top level, there are many choices. Many brands offer similarly well-defined experiences. The challenge is to make them brand-specific and to create a consistent emotional connection that is unique to the brand. 

Going back to the example of Burberry: Instead of highlighting its Britishness, what the brand should think about is, what does it mean to be Burberry? How does it create desirability and extreme value for clients? What is the brand story in the eyes of clients who have a choice between many aspirational brands? 

This is why the principles of premium and luxury marketing are changing. In my brand audits across categories, I find that at least 90 percent of brands of today are relying too much on traditional brand markers and are unable to connect with future clients on an emotional level. And without the emotional connection, there is no consistent human touch. Without human touch, there is no desirability and no value created. 

The real differentiator is how we make people feel. How we make them feel special in a way only a specific brand can do.  

This requires a totally different marketing approach. A genuine human-centric approach where the brand develops full clarity on what its specific role is in the life of a client who has many choices and the necessary means to act on them. The challenge for most brands is that they take an inside-out approach that almost certainly prevents them from taking an outside-in approach from a client’s perspective. 

Even worse, what brands often forget — even at the absolute top level — is that they are just a fraction of their clients’ lives. This is why creating desirability through emotional brand storytelling then delivering on that story at every touchpoint is the new paradigm in luxury. 

Half of today’s luxury brands will not make it to the end of this decade because they rely too much on the old paradigm. And we see that the distance between today’s best brands and  the rest is increasing. There is a lot of work to do.

This is an opinion piece where all views expressed belong to the author.

Named one of the “Global Top Five Luxury Key Opinion Leaders to Watch,” Daniel Langer is the CEO of the luxury, lifestyle and consumer brand strategy firm Équité, and the executive professor of luxury strategy and pricing at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. He consults many of the leading luxury brands in the world, is the author of several best-selling luxury management books, a global keynote speaker, and holds luxury masterclasses on the future of luxury, disruption, and the luxury metaverse in Europe, the USA, and Asia.

Follow him: LinkedIn:, Instagram: @equitebrands /@thedaniellanger

Diesel Taps Rising Music Talent In NFT Drop, Levi’s AI-Generated Virtual Models & More: Web3 Drops Of The Week

The big story this week arrives from Diesel, which has this year committed to leaning further into the digital space and embracing the virtual zeitgeist. This week, the fashion house launched the first drop from its latest project. The initiative deploys Web3 to foster relationships between rising music talents and their fanbases. 

The launch’s numbers indicate it was a success, and the brand is making waves as much offline as it is online. But can it uphold its reputation as it moves further along its digital journey?

In other notable news, denim powerhouse Levi’s has jumped onto the virtual model bandwagon. It plans to focus this year on its digital transformation journey and invest in emerging tech to improve its e-commerce experience. Using artificial intelligence, the label intends to diversify its shopping platforms through hyper-realistic avatars, thus reducing the need for human models.

Turning to China, as rules surrounding digital collectibles and token trading in the mainland are relaxed, the country’s e-commerce giants are back with a bang. As part of its spring campaign, Tmall invited five of its top-performing brands to launch their own digital collectibles — and the stellar response across social media channels shows that China’s appetite for virtual assets is bigger than ever.

Diesel Marries Music And Technology In The Metaverse For Its Latest Web3 Success Story 

What Happened: Diesel is expanding on its presence in the metaverse. On March 15, the luxury house and Gen Z favorite teamed up with international Web3 media company Public Pressure to unveil the first commercial campaign from their partnership, which the brands announced last year. 

Their latest initiative aims to “celebrate the fabric and future of underground music by promoting breakthrough artists, Web3 culture and technology,” as issued in its release statement.  

The inaugural nonfungible token (NFT) drop, the first in a planned “Discovery” series of four token collections, featured a downloadable audio track, Fashion by LA-based DJ/Producer HoneyLuv, alongside a piece of exclusive artwork by Italian designer Nic Paranoia. The content’s authenticity is verified via Kilt’s identity blockchain protocol.

The Verdict: The first release sold out within four hours with over 1,200 tracks minted, generating almost $50,000 in revenue. In the offline world, an artist would need approximately 11,700,000 streams to earn an equivalent amount, according to the brand. Spotify, for example, pays artists an average of $0.003 to $0.005 per stream. Though word has spread this year that NFTs are dead, the impressive outcome of this project suggests otherwise. 

As for Diesel, the brand is banking on the art, and power, of collaboration to help it achieve its Web3 ambitions. Late last year the label joined forces with popular NFT collective Hape on a streetwear-inspired digital collectibles release. As a fashion brand that’s synonymous with supporting socially responsible youth culture, the house has planned to establish itself as a “patron of discovery” via Public Pressure, with the goal of energizing direct interactions between emerging artists and their fans. 

The brand released a first-look at its virtually-generated models this week. Photo: Levi’s

​​Levi’s Launches AI-Generated Virtual Models To Bolster Inclusivity And Consumer E-Commerce Experience

What Happened: Levi’s announced on Wednesday that it will test AI-generated virtual models as a new e-commerce tool. In a bid to leverage its artificial intelligence efforts and increase diversity across the brand, a number of body-inclusive avatars are being developed to supplement the company’s human models and elevate the consumer experience. 

As described by Amy Gershkoff Bolles, global head of digital and emerging technology strategy at Levi Strauss & Co., the tech will allow Levi’s to create “hyper-realistic models of every body type, age, size, and skin tone”.

The Verdict: The label is working with, an AI-powered digital fashion studio, to expand its model availability. Right now, the company’s e-commerce site and app typically showcase one model per product, but this new development will open doors for more inclusive experiences, including allowing customers to see products on more models that more closely align with their body types.

From Lil Miquela to Ayayi, virtual models are on a worldwide growth trajectory. In China alone, the digitized influencer market revenue is forecast to reach $3 billion (20.5 billion RMB) this year, according to research firm iiMedia. Though Levi’s project paves the way for a more inclusive future in fashion, the boom in virtual models has concerns rising over whether these entities will replace the need for human counterparts due to their convenience. However, the brand has made sure to emphasize that this new direction will not sway it from continuing to hire real, diverse models also.

Tmall’s bounce back to digital collectibles suggests another spike in virtual assets is on China’s horizon. Photo: Tmall

Tmall’s Spring Campaign Invites Retail Giants To Launch Digital Collectibles. Is China’s Virtual Asset Market Back On The Rise?

What Happened: For this year’s spring campaign, Chinese e-commerce giant Tmall has unveiled its “My New Spring Flowers in Bloom” project, which taps the creativity of five of the country’s renowned brands – including Vans, iQOO and L’Oréal – through NFTs.

To mark the annual membership event, Tmall rolled out a limited-edition digital collectable series of virtual flowers for the five participants, each designed to represent the brands’ new products of the month. 

As part of the project, Tmall also hosted a series of raffles for audiences to win exclusive gifts, while brand members were able to obtain digital collectables for free. After receiving the collectible, holders were also able to earn exclusive member rights related to the corresponding brand’s products.

The Verdict: Following the shuttering of a number of digital token-dedicated platforms including Tencent’s, brands in China had taken a brief hiatus from digital collectibles.

More recently, however, with rules on NFT trading being relaxed in the mainland, the trend is showing signs of being back on the rise. In fact, this week it was announced that China’s investments in the metaverse will outpace the West’s by the end of 2023, thanks to factors such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the launch of its national digital asset exchange, which was announced in January this year.

This rising demand for token-based experiences also came to light during Tmall’s campaign, which generated colossal exposure among netizens. On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, the hashtags “My New Spring Flowers in Bloom” and “Annual member day on Tmall” generated over 140 million and 6.57 billion views, respectively.

Cartier China film

Can Cartier Boost Cultural Credibility In China With This Branding Campaign?


The L’Odyssée de Cartier film series is a visual history of the legendary jeweler, spotlighting Cartier‘s most iconic pieces and showcasing the brand’s connections with various cultures around the world. The project has launched 10 chapters, and the latest one features China.

Titled “A Dialogue with China,” the short film explores a relationship that has lasted for over a century. It tells the story of how the brand’s founder, Louis Cartier, and creative director Jeanne Toussaint were drawn to China’s rich heritage at the beginning of the 20th century — from the mythology of dragons and phoenixes to unique color combinations — and how that inspired Cartier’s brand archive and culture. 

Netizens’ Reaction

The latest chapter of L’Odyssée de Cartier has gained the attention of Chinese audiences, who are increasingly interested in the heritage of luxury brands. On Weibo, the film drove over 83,000 views within 10 days. However, on the brand’s WeChat channel, users commented that they were reminded of Western imperialism in the late Qing dynasty, which was happening at the time of Cartier’s narrative.


With over 50 offline boutiques and online shops on WeChat and Tmall, Cartier has built up a strong presence in China since entering the market in 1997. By highlighting its longstanding connections to China via the latest installment of L’Odyssée de Cartier, the star brand under Richemont looks to enhance its cultural credibility in the local market and amongst high spending VIPs.

However, viewers can have varying perspectives on past events, depending on how history is taught where they live. Though the L’Odyssée de Cartier project is a global initiative, the brand needs be aware of  different historical and cultural contexts — in this case, honoring the relationship between China and Cartier while keeping in mind the sensitivities of Chinese viewers. 

The latest chapter of L’Odyssée de Cartier is expected to be a valuable addition to the brand’s marketing efforts in China, helping to reinforce its position as a leading luxury jewelry house with a deep commitment to craftsmanship and cultural heritage. Still, looking back on Chinese history through a Western lens can create blind spots when localizing.


The Truth About Diversity In The Metaverse. Can Web3 Live Up To Its Potential?

Despite its potential to become one of the most revolutionary and inclusive technologies of all time, has the metaverse already missed the mark when it comes to diversity?

Web3 is dominated by young “crypto bro” culture, and a visit to a Web3 and crypto conference can attest to this.  

From digital fashion to gaming, the metaverse has opened a door for people from all walks of life to explore new channels of self-expression and creativity — while giving them the choice of whether or not to reveal their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or identity. But behind this progressive veneer lies a space still teeming with pain points and ostensible promises of equality.

A digital glass ceiling?

In a report published by consultancy firm McKinsey, more women are “power users” of the metaverse than men — meaning they spend over three hours a week in the virtual landscape — and are more likely to spearhead metaverse initiatives. Despite this, investors are still more willing to invest larger amounts of money in metaverse companies run by men, finds

The issue extends beyond gender biases. NFT project CryptoPunks revealed its new collection of Meebits at the end of 2021, which allowed users to obtain a randomly selected Meebit through a lottery generated system. Following the roll-out, many in the NFT space noticed that owners of predominantly dark-skin and female Meebits were putting their tokens on OpenSea for 30 percent less than the original price.

In 2022, Maxine Williams, Chief Diversity Officer of Meta, issued a statement explaining how the company was committing itself to building a metaverse that reflects every user. “Not only should your culture be present in the metaverse, but you should be authentically present as well,” Williams wrote

The Meta division states that it has developed over 1 quintillion (that’s 18 zeros) different avatar combinations across its applications, including optionality with hair, skin tones and clothing. It has also partnered with the United Spinal Association’s tech access program to understand the lived experiences of people with disabilities, leading to the launch of cochlear implants, wheelchairs and over-the-ear hearing aids for avatars.

Despite Web3 magnates like Meta advocating for self-expression, the space is still yet to widely deliver access to this diverse range of features. In currently available metaverse spaces such as Decentraland and Spatial, there are still limited options for Black hairstyles and non-binary representations, as well as very little indicators to display sexual orientation and disabilities.

Meta is committed to building one of the most diverse avatar communities in Web3. Photo: Meta

The impact of an echo chamber

While the metaverse can serve as a conduit for creativity, it can also be a breeding grounding for sexism, racism, and homophobia. With little regulation on platforms such as Discord, forums can quickly become an echo chamber for online hate.

Amber Park, the NFT artist and the brains behind new fashion-tech lifestyle brand Play! Pop! Go!, has experienced first-hand the misogyny that remains rife in the metaverse. 

“I feel like in general, all spaces are not created for women. We have to actually work harder to find our places,” Park tells Jing Daily. “I am under a lot more scrutiny and pressure than what maybe a male counterpart might be doing in the exact same way.”

“I feel like in general, all spaces are not created for women. We have to actually work harder to find our places,” says NFT artist Amber Park.

After launching Play! Pop! Go!’s debut collection earlier this month, Park explains that the teething troubles that arose during the release made way for a slew of sexist discourse. 

“We’ve always been so transparent with our team, so it’s very clear that I’m the only founder and I’m female. That was something that I saw in our Discord. While a lot of the feedback is positive, there’s also a lot of hate,” Park explains. “I had comments like ‘this is why women shouldn’t enter the gaming world’ and ‘this is why the last project didn’t work out because females don’t understand how to navigate this space.’”

Amber Park’s latest project Play! Pop! Go! aims to build an inclusive and equitable Web3 ecosystem. Photo: Play! Pop! Go!

Is change possible?

Recognizing this disparity, Web3 startups are encouraging more marginalized communities and cultures to invest in the metaverse. 

“We’re really passionate about bringing more exposure to these cultures, and how we can make these invisible stories and invisible heritages visible through the medium of the virtual space,” says Jessie Fu, founder of Altr_.

Altr_ invited 10 creatives to design digital garments rooted in their local cultural heritage, which will be presented in an exhibition during Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week this month. The platform also partnered with ESMOD Paris to digitize the first dress that was designed for female horseback riders, which helped to pave the way for women in a sport that was initially only accessible to men.

Though change is happening, huge demand remains for more voices that represent underrepresented communities. 

It starts from the top

But real impact is only possible if top metaverse leaders are advocating for it. This responsibility falls upon the most influential brands to make noise in the online space and use their platforms for good. 

Leading metaverse platform The Sandbox joined forces with People of Crypto Lab to launch its first ever equity and inclusivity hub last year. In celebration of Pride Month, the “Valley of Belonging” was created for users to celebrate their differences; in The Sandbox’s words, “boldly reaffirming the importance of an equitable Web3.”

“We were pleased to see such a positive reaction to the Valley of Belonging: it welcomed 52,000 players, who visited for a total of 164,000 times. That resulted in tremendous engagement: over 1 million minutes played, which is an incredible level of visibility for early-stage diversity projects,” Sebastien Borget, COO and co-founder of The Sandbox, says.

The Sandbox teamed up NYX and People of Crypto Lab in 2022 to launch its inclusivity space and NFTs for Pride Month. Photo: The Sandbox

The collaboration resulted in 8,430 non-binary avatar NFTs, one of the most diverse avatar collections to date. This included 36 skin shades; every ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identification; as well as prosthetic limbs and cultural identifiers like the hijab.

People Of Crypto Lab is one of a select number of initiatives striving for more fair representation. “We’re committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we believe that by bringing more voices to the table, we can create a better future for everyone,” Akbar Hamid, co-founder of People of Crypto, explains. “Our mission is to make the metaverse more metadiverse, and we’re excited to be rewriting the innovation-diversity equation for the next generation.”

Fashion powerhouses are also championing the prospect of a fairer landscape. Givenchy used NFTs in 2021 as a medium to raise money to support Le MAG Jeunes (Movement for the Assertion of Young Gay, Lesbian, Bi & Trans people). Under the brand’s beauty arm — Givenchy Parfum — the label teamed up with London gallery owner Amar Singh and the Rewind Artist collective to launch 1,952 animated portraits symbolizing diversity, the assertion of identity and the fight for equal rights.

The key to a brighter future

The question still stands as to whether true equalization can really exist in the metaverse. But expecting a radically different outcome won’t happen without effort. 

This means assessing who is sitting at the table. “We’re so early in the space, and to already see this huge disparity between male founders and female founders is a little sad and disappointing for how new and forward-thinking the space is. And so I do think there’s so much more effort to be made,” Park says.  

Though initiatives like the above are paving the way for inclusivity, tackling the pain points at the heart of Web3 is what will propel it towards a more equitable future.

mango masstige US expansion

Mango And Other ‘Masstige’ Brands Shutter After Struggling In China. Could The US Offer New Hope For Them?

Beauty and fast fashion brands are reevaluating their dependence on China after battling underperforming stores, local competition, and changing consumer preferences.

In 2022, Spanish fashion retailer Mango closed its two remaining stores in China. “We are divesting in China,” CEO Toni Ruiz said in an interview with Reuters. “We find it unattractive and have decided that it is not the priority for the next three years.” Products will still be available for purchase through franchise outlets and on Tmall.

Mango joins other high-street fashion labels in scaling down their operations across China, including Inditex’s Bershka, Pull&Bear and Stradivarius brands, which shut down their Tmall flagships in 2022 aftering closing their physical locations. The divestment trend has also swept through the beauty industry, seeing names like Innisfree and LVMH-owned Cha Ling drastically reduce their store network to optimize their retail strategies.

Recommended ReadingAnother American Brand Exits ChinaBy Julienna Law

Now, more names are turning their focus from the world’s second-largest economy to its first: the United States. Mango hopes to add 40 stores in the US by 2024, while rival Zara plans to open or revamp nearly 30 stores by 2025. But how does North America’s “land of opportunity” compare to China, and will it really give these companies the rebound they desire?

Post-COVID opportunities attract ‘masstige’ brands to the US

Due to rigid COVID-19 regulations, China experienced an economic growth of just 3 percent in 2022, one of the weakest levels in nearly half a century. Although the country’s reopening helped to reverse falls in industrial output and retail sales in the first two months of 2023, the government is still working hard to stimulate consumer spending and combat a high youth unemployment rate.

In contrast, the US recovered sooner than other major economies, with GDP now 5 percent above its 2019 level. US household consumption expenditures returned to normal by the second quarter of 2021, and the unemployment rate reached a more than 50-year low in January 2023 at 3.4 percent, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As such, brands that concentrated their efforts on the US were able to compensate for some of their losses in China. In the fiscal year 2022, Adidas reported that currency-neutral revenues were up 1 percent compared to the prior year due to double-digit increases in North America and Latin America, helping to offset the 36 percent revenue decline in China. Meanwhile, Mango sales hit a record $2.8 billion in 2022, boosted by flagship store openings in New York and Florida.

In May 2022, Mango opened a flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, marking the beginning of its expansion in the US. Photo: Mango

But it’s not just strong retail sales that make the US attractive — it’s how Americans shop. In China, consumers looking for masstige goods, or products that are marketed as prestige but produced for the mass market, prefer to shop local, says Humphrey Ho, managing partner of Hylink Digital, Americas, an advertising agency headquartered in Beijing and Los Angeles. In the US, however, an emphasis on product value and an openness towards Korean brands (thanks to the K-pop wave) has made American consumers willing to adopt “premium price point alternatives” to domestic brands.

“Couple this with high inflation and what seems to be an impending recession in the US, we will have a lot of consumers drop from luxury brands that are available at LVMH or Shiseido into the masstige category,” Ho predicts.

Localization via communicating product value and casting diverse faces 

However, succeeding in the market will take more than opening new stores. Brands must localize in the US by adapting their messaging, highlighting both the value of their products and the values of their company.

In Asia, “the number one consumer selection of a luxury brand is not value, rather brand prestige,” Ho explains. “In the US, it’s not price but rather ‘value’ and ‘value for what the messaging conveys.’ If brand messaging can unlock that, you have an unlimited price point advantage when first entering — but only when entering that first time!”

Mango appears to be banking on this. As part of its rebranding, the European retailer is offering higher-priced clothes for special occasions and parties to differentiate itself from fast fashion players in the US. The brand has also started to gain more recognition in the market after dressing actress Amber Valletta in a white suit from its new premium collection for an Oscars party.


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A post shared by MANGO (@mango)

“Fast fashion has become so cheap it is almost impossible for brands to compete with while maintaining good quality,” explains Allison Malmsten, a marketing director at Daxue Consulting, which does consulting and market research for Chinese brands expanding to the west. “Mango is known to not use sweatshops and has a more transparent supply chain. Rebranding to higher-cost, higher-quality wear allows [it] to avoid some of the pressures to cut the corner on ethics as well.” 

Korean beauty brands, however, are taking a different approach. Sulwhasoo, the luxury skincare line under Amorepacific, is dropping the Chinese characters it had been using for its logo since 1997, reports The Korea Times. Additionally, it has started casting more diverse faces for its ad campaigns, including Blackpink’s Rosé and Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

Blackpink singer Rosé and Tilda Swinton are the latest faces of Sulwhasoo. Photo: Sulwhasoo

“Every country has their own version of political correctness,” Malmsten tells Jing Daily. “In China, it is about aligning with the government’s views. But in the US [with] its very diverse consumer base, it is about acknowledging and respecting every culture, gender expression, and body.”

Playing to one’s strengths in a new market

However, selling in the US is by no means easier than selling in China. Mango, for one, is returning to the US after two failed attempts. Like in China, competition is stiff; among major fast fashion competitors, Shein accounted for 50 percent of sales in November 2022, Bloomberg Second Measure found. 

There’s also global macroeconomic pressures that could dampen the US economy in 2023, including inflation and signs of “trade-down” behavior, which is switching to cheaper alternatives (though this could actually be good for masstige players). 

But in the race for market share, Malmsten reminds brands that they can still maintain their cultural identity by emphasizing what consumers love about their products in the first place. “Many Americans trust K-beauty brands because they are gentle, while they trust J-beauty for being minimalistic and holistic. K-beauty and J-beauty brands can narrow down on this inherent competitive advantage they have.” 

Ultimately, international brands will not completely abandon China. But with consumer spending yet to strongly rebound and other uncertainties prevailing, 2023 could see more brands turning to the west in hopes of a new gold rush.


dior parley for the oceans

Issey Miyake x Tokujin Yoshioka, Dior x Parley For The Oceans, And More: Global Collabs Of The Week

Leading brand collaboration headlines this week, Gucci launched Gucci Vault’s Continuum on March 16, a new initiative that will involve young designers and other creatives in utilizing the brand’s deadstock from previous seasons to make new designs. Starting off the sustainability-focused project is Slam Jam, Alpha Industries, Vans, Collina Strada, Egonlab, Hodakova, Rave Review, Alice Pons, Call of the Void, and DRx Romanelli.

In other news, the Nike and StockX lawsuit continues, with recent court documents showing that a StockX reseller once bought 38 pairs of fake Air Jordan 1s on the platform that were supposedly “StockX authenticated.” Meanwhile, Shawn Mendes curates Tommy Hilfiger’s latest collection, Dior launches another Parley for the Oceans capsule, and Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones is out now.

For our verdict on Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones, Dior x Parley for the Oceans and more, check out the below and subscribe here to receive these updates straight to your inbox.

Hennessy X.O x Kim Jones

hennessy x kim jones

Date: March 17

Verdict: Immediately placing Hennessy X.O at the center of the fashion industry, this Kim Jones collection comprising a limited edition carafe, X.O Masterpiece decanter and cognac-colored sneakers offers a lesson in luxury collaboration. 

The capsule marks the product design debut for Jones, the artistic director of Dior Men, who used the same method here that he would have used designing clothes at Dior: diving into the brand’s archive. Taking heritage into careful consideration, the bottle resembles the tissue paper that was used to wrap Hennessy cognac back in the late 19th century. The X.O Masterpiece decanter is retailing at $30,288 (208,150 RMB), the sneakers are $695 (4,776 RMB), and the Hennessy X.O limited edition 70cl is $245 (1,685 RMB).

Issey Miyake x Tokujin Yoshioka


The Issey Miyake O Bold Watch by Tokujin Yoshioka. Photo: Issey Miyake

Date: April 21

Verdict: Following on from their collaborative “O” watch series in 2011, which was made in celebration of Issey Miyake Watch’s 10th anniversary, Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka returns to the model with the O-Bold watch over a decade later. Since its inception, the “O” has been released in many colors and variations. The latest O-Bold will appear at the Issey Miyake Milan store showcase during Salone del Mobile 2023. 

Yoshioka and Issey Miyake’s partnership proves the power of bringing together designers from diverse industries to create hero products. Furthermore, Yoshioka is behind the Issey Miyake flagship store in Tokyo. Back to the O-Bold though, it is a symbol of prestige for the Issey Miyake brand rather than a standout collector’s item — the original “O” watch isn’t even listed on StockX, and there are some selling on eBay for around $170 to $180, which is nearly the same as the original retail price.

Dior x Parley for the Oceans 

dior x parley for the oceans

Date: May 2023

Verdict: Continuing its partnership with Dior, Parley for the Oceans has released a second “Beach” capsule with the luxury house. In the collection, 59 percent of the items are made from ocean plastics, and 37 percent incorporate GOTS-certified organic textiles. 

Dior’s signature streetwear-style pieces under Kim Jones are all present, from waterproof shell jackets to seersucker basics and sneakers. Sustainable material innovation drives the beauty of this collab, positioning Dior as a supporter of sustainability and goodwill. Having previously collaborated with artist Kenny Scharf and Adidas, Parley for the Oceans has carved a solid place in the fashion industry since launching in 2015.

Yonghe Palace

China’s Gen Z Spiritual Awakening? Young Chinese Flock To Temples

What Happened: China’s millennials and Gen Z are flocking to famous Buddhist temples across the nation this spring. Visits to temples have surged 310 percent since the beginning of 2023, compared to the same period last year, according to Chinese travel platform Ctrip. For instance, Beijing’s Yonghe Palace, a historic royal Buddhist temple, has been accommodating about 40,000 visitors per day since early March. 

Other renowned temples in China, such as Hangzhou’s Lingyin Temple, have also experienced long queues outside their gates, often forming early in the morning. This contrasts sharply with the situation just a few years ago when temples like Yonghe Palace only became crowded during major holidays.

Notably, about 50 percent of temple visitors since February have been millennials or were from Gen Z. Aside from burning incense and praying, young visitors congregate at shops within the temples that sell blessed objects. The most viral items seem to be bead bracelets, which come in diverse colors and combinations that signify good fortune in different areas of life, such as wealth, career, and education. 

In fact, Yonghe Palace’s bracelets are so popular, they have been described as one of Beijing’s “three specialties,” along with roast duck and desserts. Because they are only sold at the shops on weekdays, their resale value can run into the thousands of yuan, several times higher than their original prices. Over 30,000 posts including the keyword “Yonghe Palace bracelets” have been published on Xiaohongshu, many sharing tips on how to obtain a bracelet and fashion advice on which outfits match the bracelets the best.

Xiaohongshu Yonghe Palace Bracelets

Xiaohongshu posts that introduce the different types of Yonghe Palace bracelets. Source: Xiaohongshu

The Jing Take: The rising popularity of temples among Chinese millennials and Gen-Zers demonstrates that the nation’s “spiritual economy” is booming. 

Many young urban dwellers in China are turning to activities and consumption behaviors that help improve their mental well-being because of the immense pressures they face, which can lead to burnout. 

Temples fit into this trend well as they offer spiritual support and have relatively tranquil environmental settings that are separated from bustling cities. Visiting temples is an affordable way for Chinese millennials and Gen-Zers to release stress and seek better luck. Those motivations are also at play in another trend prevalent among this demographic – purchasing lottery tickets. 

Recommended ReadingSpiritual And Self-Improvement Economies On The Rise In ChinaBy Jing Zhang and Zihao Liu

Temples have recognized the emotional needs of young Chinese, and are catering to them. Thanks to their rich cultural resources, temples are able to come up with unique Guochao products and services. For instance, by limiting the sales channel and window, Yonghe Palace essentially markets its bracelets in a similar way to brands selling limited-edition fashion accessories, an approach that has spurred favorable discussion on popular social media platforms. Detailed descriptions of the beads and fashion recommendations have been attracting more aspiring purchasers.

Other initiatives include opening one-of-a-kind coffee shops and offering immersive, phygital experiences with the help of metaverse and AI technologies.          

These commercial endeavors are not without controversy. On March 21, The Beijing News published an op-ed taking issue with the fact that young people are lining up in temples on weekdays. It argues that they can pray to deities, but should work harder at their jobs to realize their wishes. 

The hashtag “Chinese media comments on young Chinese preferring visiting temples over attending classes” gained over 130 million views on Weibo, becoming the fifth most popular topic of the day. The high resale prices of temple bracelets could also spark an official backlash. State media have previously criticized so-called “Buddhist socialites” for flaunting their wealth at temples.

Nevertheless, consumers’ desire to visit temples shows no sign of abating. For fashion labels, the “temple craze” suggests that young Chinese consumers are willing to spend on activities and items that they perceive will help improve their mental well-being. This is corroborated by a recent study by Xiaohongshu, which found that 82 percent of its users cite “emotional value” as their second-most important consideration when making purchase decisions. It trailed product quality. 

For brands, incorporating Chinese cultural elements that signify good fortune in designs or retail promotions can go a long way towards establishing emotional connections with younger consumers.  

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

Taobao livestream GMV beauty

From Anti-aging To KOL Influence: 8 Chinese Beauty Myths Debunked

A new report by China strategy and marketing specialist Hot Pot China, produced in partnership with The Future Laboratory consultancy, sheds light on prevalent beauty myths in China’s beauty sector, which was valued at $57 billion (394 billion RMB) in 2022, according to Beauty Matter.

Cultural differences between Chinese and Western markets remain a key challenge for international beauty brands attempting to expand in the world’s second-largest beauty market. 

health wellness webinar takeaways

China is the world’s second-largest beauty market, valued at $57 billion (394 billion RMB) in 2022, according to Beauty Matter. Photo: Shutterstock

Misconceptions about consumer preferences and values can ruin marketing and commercial campaigns. Understanding the mindset and needs of Chinese consumers is paramount to creating effective R&D and CRM strategies. The report, based in part on a survey of 500 respondents, highlights eight myths international brands should be mindful of. 

1. Chinese youth are rebelling against mainstream beauty standards. According to a focus group conducted as part of the research for the report, mainstream Chinese ideals of beauty — such as pale skin, large eyes, and a high-bridged nose — continue to prevail among Gen Z consumers. The majority (90 percent) of respondents accept orthodox social standards of beauty. Emerging trends like tanned skin are still very niche. 

2. Among Chinese women, aging worries emerge in middle age. The desire to prevent and eradicate signs of aging actually begins much earlier in China compared to Western markets. The report shows that roughly 50 percent of Chinese women between the ages of 25 and 30 have started using skin-lifting creams, serums, and eye-care products. Brands can tap this demographic via targeted sales campaigns that promote their anti-aging products.

Roughly 50 percent of Chinese women between 25 and 30 years old have started using skin-lifting creams, serums, and eye-care products. Image: Xiaohongshu screenshot

3. Appearing attractive to love interests drives makeup consumption. The report revealed that university-aged consumers are eager to express their individuality through makeup. Consumers ranked confidence and having a healthy appearance as the key reasons for wearing makeup, over being desired by a potential love interest. The shift towards healthifying beauty is an emerging factor brands should consider.

4. Chinese consumers’ understanding of product ingredients is low. Chinese beauty shoppers’ knowledge of cosmetics and skincare product ingredients is uniquely high compared to Western counterparts. They require an extensive amount of information when making purchasing decisions, the report found. Lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu is the primary source for China’s consumers to acquire granular information on beauty ingredients. Therefore, effective communication on ingredients and labels is vital.

Xiaohongshu is the primary source for China’s consumers to acquire granular information on beauty ingredients. Image: Xiaohongshu screenshot

5. Consumer values are the same in China as in the West. Western shoppers’ motivations for purchasing do not neatly apply in China’s beauty market. Sustainability, animal testing, inclusion and diversity are low down the list of priorities in China, while product benefits are higher up.

6. Skin whitening is a strong consumer preference in China. Young Chinese beauty consumers prioritize skin nourishment and hydration, while oil control and hydration are the most important skin-care benefits for men. All the surveyed demographics scored pore refinement highly.

A consumer preferences chart produced by China strategy and marketing specialist Hot Pot China, in partnership with The Future Laboratory consultancy. Image: Screenshot of the report 10 Chinese Beauty Consumer Myths in 2023

7. Male cosmetics is the next opportunity for brands looking at China. Male cosmetics consumption is on the rise in China, with foundation productions driving growth. Still, the market should be considered as a niche and not a booming segment, as over 75 percent of males are unlikely to use cosmetics.

8. KOL live-selling is the most influential shopping channel. The livestreaming sector is flourishing in China. The market’s revenue hit $320 billion (2.2 trillion RMB) in 2021, the report notes. Any and all products are being sold via live commerce, including beauty consumables. Nonetheless, the report shows that the country’s main shopping destinations are brands’ physical boutiques, Tmall and flagship stores, and websites.

In the worst-case scenario, misunderstanding China’s legions of consumers can result in a highly damaging backlash. Building up a sophisticated understanding of the latest trends is one way brands can optimize their China strategy and avoid the pitfalls.


Capri Holdings CEO executive visits China

After Kering And Prada, Capri Holdings Executives Tour China

What Happened: After three years of travel restrictions, executives are beating a path to visit one of the fastest-growing luxury markets in the world. Last week, the executive team of Michael Kors’ parent company Capri Holdings landed in China. Group chairman and CEO John Idol — alongside Asia-Pacific vice chairman Patrick Lee, Versace CEO Emmanuel Gintzburger, Jimmy Choo CEO Hannah Colman, and Michael Kors’ incoming CEO Cedric Wilmotte — toured several cities in China to attend meetings with local management teams, visit stores, and speak with landlords. 

Last week, Capri Holdings’ executive team landed in China to meet with local teams and landlords. Image: Michael Kors

Idol said: “It is wonderful to be back in China for the first time since January 2020 to once again experience the country’s beauty, long history, and profound culture firsthand. Given the importance of China to the global economy, it has been encouraging to see the level of energy and excitement among the Chinese people as they return to their normal daily life.”

“China is an important long-term growth opportunity for our three luxury houses, Versace, Jimmy Choo, and Michael Kors. We will continue to increase our strategic investments in the country, including new store openings and events such as our upcoming Michael Kors Jet Set experience in Sanya on March 21-22,” shares Idol.

The Sanya event is evidence of the company’s growing investment in the market. Alongside its three brand ambassadors (Shu Qi, Bai Lu, and Wang Feifei), over 40 celebrities and 70 of China’s media titles were invited to the event at the Hainan resort and the brand’s Spring/Summer collection. 

Landlords were also on the list of attendees. Notably, Michael Kors announced top Chinese actress Shu Qi as its new global brand ambassador, the highest title for a spokesperson.

Michael Kors announced top Chinese actress Shu Qi as its global brand ambassador, the highest title for a spokesperson. Image: Michael Kors

The Jing Take: Capri Holdings is the latest luxury conglomerate to send its executive team out to China. In recent months, the CEOs of Prada, Kering, and Swatch Group have touched down in China. Senior LVMH and Hugo Boss leaders have also announced plans to visit China in March and April, respectively. 

The visits spotlight corporate confidence in post-pandemic China. Barclays predicts Chinese luxury sector revenue will grow 15 percent year-on-year in 2023. Executives are doubling down.

After three years of near isolation, China’s luxury market has undergone a reshuffle and further distanced itself from the rest of the world. Global executives are urged to hone a deeper understanding of the market’s latest dynamics. With new luxury malls and commercial formats replacing older ecosystems, meeting landlords is vital for brands to secure the most visible boutique positions in a crowded space.

Over 40 celebrities and 70 China top press were invited to the event to maximize the exposure of the dazzling excursion to the Hainan resort. Image: Michael Kors

Michael Kors’ Sanya Jet Set event is just the beginning of brands’ investment in the market. In 2023, the country will become the epicenter of brands’ activations. 

The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.

digital nomad lying flat Chinese

From Overtime Worker To Digital Nomad: Young Chinese Seek ‘Slow Lifestyles’ Abroad

It was 2018 when Tori Zhao found herself living the Chinese dream. Or, so it seemed. The software engineer received sought-after job offers from companies like ByteDance and was extremely busy working for an up-and-coming start-up in Beijing’s tech hub — yet, things didn’t feel right. 

“I worked 996 hours,” the Guangzhou native says. The “996 lifestyle” is a term used to denote the harsh 9am to 9pm, six-day work week grind that has become a reality for many young Chinese working in white collar jobs, especially those in innovation and tech-related fields.

“I couldn’t handle it,” Zhao says. She feared she was heading towards burnout. And it’s not only Zhao — 76% percent of Chinese respondents aged under 23 surveyed for a recent employment report said they were willing to become digital nomads and not be tied down to any location. 

Buzzwords like “lying flat” have given way to new trends such as “let it rot,” which means living a slower lifestyle and doing the bare minimum to subsist rather than just submitting to the grind. The phrase gathered over 93.2 million views and searches on Xiaohongshu late last year.  

Finding freedom

In 2019, Zhao quit her job to go freelance. Over the next few years, Zhao managed a roster of clients while taking time off to travel and refresh between major projects, traveling in and out of cities like Hong Kong, tropical islands like Bali, as well as sleepy towns across rural China. 

With an affordable cost of living and fast internet speed, Bali has become a hot destination for digital nomads. Photo: Shutterstock

She considers her resignation a blessing, as many of her peers lost their jobs during the pandemic. More importantly, Zhao was able to dodge some of China’s stringent lockdowns.

Once the pandemic hit, Zhao, who had previously studied in Vancouver, returned to the city, where she mostly stayed until this spring. She then headed back to China to see family and tick off more places on her wishlist, including Ho Chi Minh City.

Most of the Chinese digital nomads she knows are software engineers, according to Zhao. 

“When I first got started, it was mostly men, but more women are catching up with it,” she says, adding that the digital nomads she encounters include writers, journalists, programmers and other creatives. 

A tale of two nomads

Mo Zhou is a relative newcomer to the digital nomad lifestyle. Formerly based in Shanghai, Zhou runs her own digital media, marketing and advertising agency out of Vancouver, though she travels frequently across the US. 

Zhou made the lifestyle switch in 2021, when she was locked out of China mid-pandemic. The Shanghai-based company she was working for allowed her to continue working from abroad. 

However, the time zone differences took a toll. 

“I was the only one working remotely from another country,” she says. “I did that for a year, but I had to wake up at 9pm in Vancouver, and stay awake until 5am everyday. So, my schedule was flipped, and I barely saw any sunlight … I ended up quitting my job.”

Unable to return to China, she started her own company. “It has allowed me to work with different clients remotely,” she says. 

Running her own agency has enabled Zhou to work in multifaceted ways. From livestreaming to promoting product reviews and dabbling in Web3-related marketing and other innovations, she and her business partner work on what they call the “creative side” of tech. 

Recommended ReadingWhat China’s “Lying-Flat” Trend Means For Luxury BrandsBy Juliette Duveau and Sophia Dumenil

New groups on the scene

According to Robert Litchfield, a business professor at Washington and Jefferson College, whose area of research is creativity, innovation and the future of work, including digital remote work, the term digital nomad has been around since 1997. 

Digital Nomad, written by David Manners and Tsugio Makimoto, was a book that talked about how technology would give power to humans to revisit an ancient choice which was whether to be settlers or nomads,” he tells Jing Daily

Litchfield’s study of digital nomad culture around the world has been published in his recent book, titled Digital Nomads: In Search of Freedom, Community and Meaningful Work in the New Economy, co-written with fellow academic Rachael Woldoff. 

Among other sources, he cites Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Work Week as a major influence among nomads. “Among the digital nomads we studied, I would say it was their Bible … it was the template [for their lifestyle],” Litchfield says.

Fast forward, and Miriam Webster dictionary added “digital nomad” to its list of new terms late last year. 

“It defines a digital nomad as someone who performs their occupation entirely over the internet while traveling. Especially a person who has no permanent fixed home address. This is how we conceive of digital nomadism,” says Litchfield. 

And the pandemic has accelerated digital nomadism as a lifestyle choice among young Chinese around the world. Full-time workers were “jettisoned out into this world,” says Litchfield. 

“People didn’t like all of the forced office stuff, all of the overwhelming and annoying corporate culture, all of the overbearing micromanaging. All the unnecessary inflexibility,” he explains. “That’s what the digital nomads quit on years ago — they had had it with that kind of craziness.”

“People didn’t like all of the forced office stuff, all of the overwhelming and annoying corporate culture, all of the overbearing micromanaging. All the unnecessary inflexibility.”

Tori Zhao, the software engineer, acknowledges her lifestyle is not the norm, especially compared with her peers. 

“I grew up in Guangzhou, in the south, where we were exposed to Western culture and listened to K-pop,” she explains. “People I got to know in Beijing were so different; they often grew up in smaller towns across northern China and spent much of their lives studying to pass their college exams.

“996 is nothing to them because they’ve been doing it since they were kids — 12 hours of study per day since the age of 11.”

Zhao says her experience made her realize she wasn’t in the majority. 

She grew up in Guangzhou, a first-tier city, where she had access to more resources and opportunities, whereas many of her start-up peers came from smaller cities that feature less social mobility. 

Passport privilege 

People who grew up with relative privilege in China have had an easier time hopping on board this new lifestyle, says Tori Zhao. 

For instance, her parents are relatively liberal and “don’t have much of a reaction” to her choice of career. “I have a lot of freedom compared with other young Chinese,” she admits. 

According to Litchfield, in addition to what he calls the “human capital advantage,” passport and visa privileges play a part in the extent to which young Chinese are able to engage in this lifestyle. 

“For numerous people who we interviewed [for our digital nomad study], their employers made efforts to try to retain them [when they tried to leave their full-time jobs]. These were high value employees, who were quitting their work and going into digital nomad lifestyles with human capital advantage, or the knowledge and work skills necessary,” he says. 

The second big advantage is passport privilege, Litchfield explains. 

“If you’re from a Western nation like the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, you can go wherever you want … But for people from other nations, such as China, there may be issues depending on where they’re coming and going from,” he adds.

Chinese residents who hold foreign passports, such as Mo Zhou, the digital creative, believe that social media has helped propel the trend into the spotlight for many young Chinese. 

Chinese digital nomads (数字游民) post about their experiences working from beaches and cafés around the world. Photo: Xiaohongshu

“With the growth of social media, more people are open to living this lifestyle now,” she says, citing digital nomad influencers in China. “If your job allows you to work remotely and you have the courage to do so, then yes, it’s easier to get into becoming a digital nomad nowadays.”

“My favorite part about this is just being wherever in the world I want to be,” she says.


L’Oréal Paris’ Art Exhibition In China Points To Elevated Brand Image

L’Oréal Paris presented its art exhibition in China, featuring its AGE PERFECT RENAISSANCE CELLULAIRE line, the brand’s most premium collection, from March 5 to 12. Unveiled at Tank Shanghai, the pioneering arts center and cultural hub, the exhibition provided visitors with immersive experiences across six themed spaces highlighting the natural ingredients and advanced technologies behind the range’s products.

One such space, named South French Forest, mimicked the landscape of France’s Rhone River region, a truffle-producing area. Strolling through the room, visitors learnt about the growth trajectory of black truffles, and experienced the energy of the precious flora.

Through visualizing AGE PERFECT REGENERATING SERUM’s key ingredients, including black truffle extract, L’Oréal Paris elaborated on their rarity and how they help stimulate skin cell renewal. To maximize engagement, the brand sent out complimentary gifts, including black truffles, to visitors.

The AGE PERFECT RENAISSANCE CELLULAIRE line is L’Oréal Paris’ most premium collection. Photo: L’Oréal Paris

L’Oréal Paris Brand Spokesperson Xin Zhilei and L’Oréal Paris Brand Ambassador Yang Caiyu visited the exhibition, posting videos of the exhibition on their Weibo accounts, which drove online traffic to the exhibition. Meanwhile, 115 beauty KOLs visited the exhibition and shared their experiences on social channels. The endorsements significantly boosted offline traffic to the exhibition, as evidenced by its fully-booked reservations. The L’Oréal Truffle Art Exhibition hashtag attracted over 2.4 million views on Weibo within one week, which is impressive for a pop-up project. On Xiaohongshu, the same hashtag garnered over 221,100 views, and hundreds of visitors posted about their experiences at the exhibition on the platform.

Celebrity endorsements significantly boosted offline traffic to the exhibition. Photo: L’Oréal Paris

This level of engagement and positive reactions from netizens demonstrate the pop-up’s success.

The exhibition conveyed the concept of the beauty products as creative works of art, while highlighting the AGE PERFECT skincare line. The initiative was also an opportunity for L’Oréal Paris to explore its brand identity beyond its status as a cosmetics giant and enrich its stories with new perspectives, such as botany and fine art. 

Communicating a narrative that highlighted the products’ formulas, ingredients, and related imagery, the campaign educated visitors on the preciousness of the rare black truffle extract, a patented ingredient owned by the brand.


Changsheng·Energy of Heart, embodies the core energy of the “Truffle Spores”. (Swipe left) Photo: L’Oréal Paris

Ingredients and scientific integrity have become primary factors shaping consumers’ beauty-product purchasing decisions, according to a 2022 report co-released by Chinese research firm CBNData and Xiaohongshu. The report also reveals that plant-based beauty products have become increasingly popular in China since the outbreak of the pandemic.

As such, this exhibition resonated well with local beauty enthusiasts who are ingredient-centric and interested in natural, organic components.


Holding a branded art exhibition is a useful marketing tactic in the Chinese market. (Swipe left) Photo: L’Oréal Paris

Through its agility in adapting to local trends and consumer insights, L’Oréal Paris has contributed greatly to L’Oréal Group’s performance in North Asia, including in mainland China. According to the company’s 2022 annual results, the Consumer Products Division in North Asia has capitalized on L’Oréal Paris’ notable success in the skincare and haircare categories.

The exhibition at Tank Shanghai shows that this year, L’Oréal Paris is betting on branding itself as a higher-end beauty name in China. Though not necessarily driving direct transactions, the initiative enabled the brand to consolidate awareness and acquire a broader customer base for its luxe line.

doe shanghai x levis

Grace Chow Shoots And Scores, Levi’s Goes Local, And William Chan’s Latest: China Collabs Of The Week

Dominating brand collaboration headlines this week in China, CLOT, the streetwear label founded by Kevin Poon and Edison Chen, has opened visually delicious pop-ups to promote its McDonald’s capsule collection. Fans can enter lifesize versions of the fast-food brand’s Happy Meal box located in Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai from March 14 to 19, and in Shenzhen from March 14 all the way to May 12.

Our Collabs & Drops highlights of the week include Doe Shanghai dropping another Levi’s capsule collection, William Chan’s Canotwait collaborating with Taglioni, and mega-influencer Grace Chow becoming the latest to incorporate NBA intellectual property (IP) into a clothing collection.

For our verdict on these, read on below and subscribe here to receive these weekly updates straight to your inbox.

Doe x Levi’s

doe shanghai x levi's

Doe and Levi’s collection is dedicated to the multi-brand retail store and streetwear brand’s hometown, Shanghai. Photo: Doe

Date: March 17

Verdict: Coming together once again, Shanghai multi-brand retailer and clothing label Doe has launched a clothing capsule with Levi’s. The collab is a way for the all-American denim brand to connect with local consumers who are into streetwear, while simultaneously showcasing its affinity to Chinese culture. 

Made In China products are increasingly popular among Gen Z and millennial consumers, which makes this tie-up a wise choice for Levi’s — especially as this collection is dedicated to Shanghai’s beauty as a city. The tie-up’s social media campaign has not generated a high level of engagement, though that’s to be expected as this is more of a niche collaboration targeting a narrow set of consumers who could become long-term fans of Levi’s in China.

Grace Chow x NBA

grace chow x nba

Bringing some glamour to the NBA IP, the Grace Chow is the latest to utilize China’s favorite basketball league. Photo: Grace Chow

Date: March 27

Verdict: The NBA has almost lost its association with sport in China. It’s become a signifier of casual-wear style due to the IP being frequently used for both high and low-end collections. Major key opinion leader (KOL) Chow is the latest to collaborate with the basketball IP. The star has 2.2 million followers on Instagram and 11 million on Weibo, and her personal hashtag of #gracechow# has to date generated 55.97 million reads on Weibo. 

Chow’s fast-fashion business, which has 4 million subscribers on Taobao, builds on her primary fanbase and proves the power of KOL-led brands. That said, her posts on the Grace Chow x NBA collection all have fewer than 1,000 likes, suggesting that this is not a hyped-up collab. It’ll connect the NBA IP to national fans, though, and burnish the prestige of Chow’s brand in return.

Canotwait x Taglioni

canotwait x taglioni

Aimed at Generation Z, the Canotwait x Taglioni collaboration aims to fuse streetwear and high fashion. Photo: Canotwait Weibo

Date: April 2

Verdict: Hong Kong singer and actor Chan’s Canotwait, another KOL-led brand, is a collab leader in the mainland; his brand has been compared to Justin Bieber’s Drew House, and has made a name for itself in the local streetwear space. 

Taglioni is quite small in China, though, with just 16,000 organic discussions of the official #Taglioni星闻# hashtag on Weibo, despite the brand having dressed multiple celebrities. Canotwait is actually larger, having generated 176,000 discussions on Weibo — this collab is, therefore, a way for Taglioni to reach Gen Z and millennial consumers who might now see the brand from a streetwear perspective.