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Offline Clout: Gucci, Chanel, Prada Woo China’s Gen Z With IRL Exhibitions

Spurred by China Gen Z’s “daka” (打卡) craze (the term translates as “punching in”), which centers on consumers publicizing that they’ve been to popular destinations, offline exhibitions have grown to become a powerful way for brands to drive organic traffic. Last year, 34,000 offline activations were held across the country, receiving more than 578 million visitors. 

In the past few years, mounting large exhibitions in China has become the norm for luxury brands – a new one pops up nearly every month. 

In March, Prada presented an exhibition on neurodegenerative diseases titled Preserving the Brain at its Rong Zhai Shanghai cultural hub, and Gucci chose Shanghai as the first stop for its touring Gucci Cosmos exhibition launched last month. And earlier this month, Fendi kicked off its‘hand in hand exhibition in Beijing, which presented reinterpretations of Fendi’s signature Baguette bag by regional craftspeople.  

Fendi kicked off its ‘hand in hand’ exhibition in Beijing, which presented reinterpretations of Fendi’s signature Baguette bag by regional craftspeople. Image: Courtesy of Fendi

Danni Liu, general manager at Chinese creative agency iBlue Communications, explains that the frequency of exhibitions is increasing because consumers in China have demonstrated a greater affinity for and enjoyment of these showcases as a form of consumption. 

“Chinese consumers actively seek out the latest and highest standard experiences. They often desire novel and cutting-edge attractions,” she says.

What’s in it for luxury brands?

Luxury houses infuse artistic and cultural meaning into their lines when holding an exhibition. By doing so, they further fuel the ‘uppertendom dream’ they want people to aspire to through consuming their products. The idea is to make their product collectible in the eyes of shoppers, just like a piece of art, so that consumers are eager to pay a premium.

Exhibitions also serve as a powerful tool to reach, educate and engage with potential consumers, as they showcase the brand in a visually captivating and immersive way. 

Gucci chose Shanghai as the first stop for its touring Gucci Cosmos exhibition launched last month. Image: Courtesy of Gucci

“Art exhibitions can turn ordinary consumers into passionate brand fans by creating a strong connection and emotional resonance. Brand fans make purchases and become advocates who spread the word, share their positive experiences, and foster long-term loyalty,” says Liu.

The impact of an exhibition extends beyond a single consumer making a purchase. It’s about building brand awareness and loyalty among a wider audience. 

Exhibit, and they will come?

Awareness of art and fashion is increasing among China’s Gen Z, making exhibitions an increasingly efficient platform to engage young consumers.

“Younger generations in China are obsessed with daka and sharing their pictures on social media. The aesthetics of these exhibitions serve as an attractive background for their feeds,” says Joey Sheng, a Westminster University master’s student from Hong Kong who likes spending her free time visiting art and brand exhibitions.

On microblogging app Weibo, the hashtag #GucciCosmos# has attracted over 770 million views and more than 100,000 related posts. Similarly, Fendi’s recent ‘hand in hand’ exhibition has accumulated over 140 million views to date. KOLs and users have been sharing pictures on Xiaohongshu of themselves visiting the installation.

The hashtag #GucciCosmos# has attracted over 770 million views and more than 100,000 related posts. Image: Courtesy of Gucci

Chinese fashion blogger Ava Foo, who boasts 3.5 million followers on Weibo, believes that art exhibitions enable brands to tell their story to a new generation of consumers and subtly increase their influence among this cohort. “They [exhibtions] showcase unique aesthetics, craftsmanship, and the heritage of luxury goods, which are the most attractive elements for Chinese consumers,” she says.

Another factor is fear of missing out (FOMO). Sheng points to the cultural phenomenon in China known as ‘juan’ (卷), which reflects a fear of being left behind in a conversation due to a lack of knowledge. “Exhibitions that provide educational or informative content, such as workshops or lectures, can be especially attractive to consumers and stand out in this competitive market,” says Foo.

Flash in the pan or here to stay?

Shoppers in China still highly value face-to-face interactions and personal relationships, despite the pandemic, and exhibitions are an opportunity for brands to make and deepen those connections. But, as the field becomes increasingly competitive, consumers are being presented with more choice, and that could impact the level of attendance. 

While aesthetic curation is essential, today’s shoppers are more attuned to the value of art installations’ interactivity, and maisons are responding by taking a more exciting and innovative approach to their showcases’ visual journey. 

Chanel opened its first-ever perfume exhibition, titled “Feeling Chanel” (感知香奈儿) at Shanghai West Bund Art Center. Photo: Chanel

For instance, the ‘Feeling Chanel’ fragrance exhibition by French house Chanel included the drawing of Tarot cards for visitors to help them find a scent. Additionally, by scanning QR codes, attendees could hear Chanel’s Chinese brand ambassadors explain the various aspects of the perfumes on display.

Foo notes that products incorporating Chinese cultural elements are particularly popular. A case in point is Fendi, which invited artisans Axi Wuzhimo and Legu Shari from Southwest China’s Yi ethnic group to recreate its iconic baguette bag. As Chinese audiences become more accustomed to branded exhibitions, will tapping trends like this keep them engaged?

Fendi invited artisans Axi Wuzhimo and Legu Shari from Southwest China’s Yi ethnic group to recreate its iconic baguette bag. Image: Courtesy of Fendi

Personalization is crucial to ensure exhibition attendees feel seen and valued. Recognizing and catering to consumers’ diverse preferences and tastes can create a sense of exclusivity, Liu says. 

A well curated and executed exhibition is all well and good. But to move beyond the power of edutainment, brands can leverage customer data and insights to develop targeted follow-up communications, personalized offers or recommendations, and ongoing engagement through digital platforms or loyalty programs.


Craftsmanship Meets Code: Draup Founder Dani Loftus On Generative Fashion And Couture

Most major brands, including Gucci and Balenciaga and Fortnite, have in the past two years released a digital fashion drop.

Yet, despite these signs of mainstream adoption, many consumers and creators still disregard digital fashion, viewing it at odds with its traditional counterpart — and for good reason.

Physical fashion’s value is derived from artisanship, skill, and exclusivity. Digital fashion, in contrast, can be made by anyone and reach a market of millions for little to no cost.

Ever since I started in digital fashion, I’ve reckoned with this dichotomy. I’ve asked myself what Web3 luxury means, and how “high fashion” can exist in a democratized digital world.

This year, I’ve come to the conclusion that clothes created generatively are the way forward.

Generative art is now seen in the context of NFT, such as the Cryptopunks PFP collective. Photo: Cryptopunks

Defining generative creation

Generative creative processes have been around for centuries, and consist of building systems that automatically create art.  

Though generative art does not have to be digital, today it most often uses computers. Creators work with algorithms that define the limits of a collection’s design through sets of qualities known as ‘traits.’ At the time a work is sold, these traits are randomly selected by the program to create outputs that are both unique and unexpected. 

If you take the example of generative fashion, a creator might decide that each garment in a collection should have two colors out of a possible six, or be made up of anywhere from one to 25 pleats. They would then go on to design a system that created clothes within these parameters, and at the time of purchase, this algorithm would decide what the item’s qualities are. 

Algorithms in the arts

Looking past fashion and into other creative sectors such as art and avatars, generative systems have grown rapidly in acclaim. 

Many of the most famous profile picture (PFP) projects create generative traits for digital avatars. If you own a Bored Ape or a Cryptopunk for instance, the way your PFP appears (its body color, style and expression) is determined by a generative system.

Similarly, the Artblocks community has rallied around the concept that generative creation is a true digital artform. With code-based craft seeping into every trait’s expression, this creation process is valued as highly by collectors as the final aesthetic output. 

As exciting as developments in generative digital art are, and have been, in my eyes it’s digital fashion where these novel creative processes find their perfect fit. 

Digital fashion label Tribute Brand’s debut “Punk” collection included generative, one-of-a-kind, logo typefaces that could be used as a PFP. Photo: Tribute Brand

Full functionality

Since its inception, fashion has functioned as a signaling mechanism. It has been created and consumed to allow us to express ourselves, form affiliations and signal social status.

Until now, fulfilling one of these requirements has come at the expense of fulfilling the others. 

If you make your clothes yourself, you might max out on self-expression, but find no one to share your affiliation with. Or, if you’re in head-to-toe Prada, you might flex status with your fits, but lose your identity as an individual.

I believe generative digital fashion enables all three of fashion’s functions to occur at once. 

It enables self-expression via its abundance of variety – when it comes to showcasing your individuality, the sheer quantity of possible traits in generative fashion pieces render each entirely unique.

With our latest Draup collection, each of the 648 pieces is made up of 21 traits, resulting in thousands of possible outcomes.

Generative digital fashion provides affiliation in the connecting code – your connections are shown through the shared algorithmic thread that links together the pieces in any given drop.

Take PFPs, for example. Although they might look wildly different, each PFP is of the same kin.

One of Bored Ape’s most commended qualities is its connectedness through community. As well as the Apes being recognisable, the NFT in each Ape’s wallet shares metadata with 10,000 others, binding them together as a group.

Lastly, algorithmic rarity conveys status. This is where the element of having a unique piece that’s identifiable as part of a wider collection comes into play.

Due to the large variety of potential traits in any given piece, as the algorithm churns out its collection, some traits will come to be more or less rare than others. This aspect determines the price on the secondary market and creates hierarchies within the wider group.

Today’s code-based couturiers

While generative projects are rife in the art and PFP markets, only a handful of digital fashion projects have so far experimented with generative algorithms.

For 9dcc’s Iteration-02 drop in October last year, renowned NFT collector GMoney collaborated with NFT artist and founder Snowfro to use Snowfro’s Chromie Squiggle algorithm to generate 1,000 generative T-shirts. Created live at Miami Art Basel, the project’s algorithm went to work right before the buyers’ eyes to create a unique T-shirt with thousands of possible trait combinations.

Wearers bragged about the status value of the 9dcc squiggle on their tees. At the same time, they banded together, connected via recognition of their affiliation with both 9dcc and Snowfro himself.

Gmoney’s 9dcc and Snowfro’s Chromie Squiggle collaboration celebrates generative art and garment creation. Photo: 9dcc website

As for my company Draup, we’re using generative algorithms to create haute couture in the digital space.

With only 14 certified couturiers in the world, couture sets itself apart as the highest form of fashion by creating clothes exemplified by craftsmanship and customization.

In our newest collection, created in collaboration with digital artist Nicolas Sassoon, we use the digital medium to create exactly that – one-of-a-kind digital clothes which, because of their generative production process, are tied together in a larger collection. 

Like the projects that are appreciated in the generative art communities, we incorporate craft into our collections, both by the artists we work with, and in the code behind our creations. 

Baking conceptual art into each garment, our latest collection integrates fashion-native approaches to design into a digital-first creation system to produce a new type of garment, one that’s closer to wearable digital art. 

Jing Meta Insider is the new op-ed from Jing Meta, the latest publication which remains at the cutting-edge of the metaverse, new technological innovations, and Web3. We invite experts from across the field of Web3 luxury, fashion design, and retail to share their insights on the latest current trend, conversation or development making waves across the virtual landscape.

From Pucci to Cavalli, Fashion Veteran Peter Dundas Speaks On The ‘90s, His Namesake Label, And Going Virtual

Not everyone can say that they’ve dressed Beyoncé for the Grammys, designed a custom gown for the Crown Princess of Norway, and gone fully digital having launched a collection in the metaverse after three decades in the game. But for fashion designer Peter Dundas, founder of his namesake label, it’s just another day on the job. 

“One of the things I make sure not to lose sight of, and one of the reasons why fashion is so important, is because it’s fun. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it’s about having fun and about letting loose,” Dundas says.

Dundas’ influence has punctuated fashion catwalks since the ‘90s. Starting out his career in fashion as a costume designer for the Comedie Française, it wasn’t long before the Norwegian’s work was recognized by some of fashion’s most high-profile players. In 1993, at only 23 years old, the fledgling talent got his foot in the industry door after being appointed as design assistant at the legendary Jean Paul Gaultier brand, where he remained for eight years. 

A life achievement ticked off in less than a decade, for Dundas, this was only the beginning. Following his tenure at Gaultier, the designer’s flair for bold, brash palettes was snapped up by the likes of Christian Lacroix and Emanuel Ungaro. 

With a career spanning across three decades, Dundas’ design roster includes Emilio Pucci, Roberto Cavalli, and Jean Paul Gaultier. Photo:

The Dundas Effect

At the height of his métier, Dundas was catching the attention of major noughties fashion houses. Most notable of these was Emilio Pucci, where he served as artistic director for seven years. Inspired by the unapologetic sexiness of the nightlife crowd, Dundas drove Pucci to become a notable player in the fashion scene.

With a number of iconic design names already under his belt, Dundas moved to Roberto Cavalli in 2015 to succeed its namesake founder as creative director (Dundas had previously worked at the brand in 2002 for three years as chief designer). 

Cementing his legacy at Cavalli before his swift departure, Dundas’ exotic motifs and ‘70s-style silhouettes have become almost inextricable from the house’s 50-year history.

One could argue that the conversation on the disposability of creative directors was accelerated by Dundas’ departure from Cavalli, which happened less than two years into his second appointment there. The news made global headlines and shone light on the fickleness of fashion and its treatment of designers, likened to that of an artistic revolving door scrambling to keep up with the times. 

Over the years, Dundas cultivated a distinct design aesthetic that celebrates feminine sultriness with a rebellious punch. It’s easy to spot a Dundas woman; she’s typically wearing a vibrant split leg maxi — or perhaps a slinky midi — towering heels, and a skinny scarf slung across the neck.

The Birth Of A New Brand

But Dundas’ exit from Cavalli was in some ways a blessing. For the designer, forming his own brand was a natural progression of his career. It was something that was perhaps predestined from the day he started sketching. 

“I’ve always wanted to dress the woman who was glamorous and sexy, but with a little bit of a rock and roll spirit. That’s what we continue doing,” he says. 

Over the years, Dundas cultivated a distinct design aesthetic that celebrates feminine sultriness with a rebellious punch. It’s easy to spot a Dundas woman; she’s typically wearing a vibrant split leg maxi — or perhaps a slinky midi — towering heels, and a skinny scarf slung across the neck. 

In 2017, Dundas made the jump to go solo. But he wasn’t fully alone. The designer launched his eponymous brand alongside his life and business partner Evangelo Bousis. 

“A lot of people had asked me before why I hadn’t started my own brand,” he says. “For me, it was really a question of meeting the right partner to do that. I realized pretty soon that we make a great team.”

Based on a non-seasonal structure, the brand would go on to cater to the demands of the steadfast clientele the designer had cultivated over the years.

The designer launched his namesake label with his life and business partner Evangelo Bousis in 2017. Photo: Yahoo

A Star-Studded Arsenal

With over two decades of experience in an industry as tantalizing as fashion, it’s inevitable that Dundas would find himself rubbing shoulders with the globe’s rich and famous, from Bella Hadid to Michele Obama. But those who are considered celebrities to us have become long-term friends to him. 

Take Beyoncé, for whom Dundas’ designs have become a closet mainstay. “It was quite funny, we were putting together a retrospective for the tour of all the costumes that he’s created for her, and the team was like, oh my god that was Peter too,” his partner Bousis remarks with a laugh. 

The musician helped Dundas debut his eponymous label at the 2017 Grammy Awards. The look included a gilded golden gown, complete with an ornate, halo-like headpiece.

The designer attributes a proportion of his label’s success to the black book of connections he’s accumulated over the years. With a phone call, he can round up an entourage of notable names and muses to support — and sport — his silhouettes. 

“When we spoke about who we wanted to launch the brand with, we both were like Beyoncé, obviously. We knew that Peter had this huge celebrity following and that that was how we should showcase first, instead of a debut fashion show,” Bousis continues. “We wanted to use friends of the house and friends of Peter, like Beyoncé and Emily [Ratajkowski], that have really helped build his whole career.”

“I think that the power of celebrity is much more important today than probably anything else,” Dundas adds.

A huge milestone for Dundas was the custom Cher-inspired gown for model Emily Ratajkowski at the 2019 “Camp: Notes On Fashion” Met Gala. Following its reveal, the crystal-draped, wings headpiece (a recurring accessory among the label’s custom pieces) quickly went viral across social media. 

Model Emily Ratajkowski wearing DUNDAS at the 2019 Met Gala. Photo: Emily Ratajkowski’s Twitter / Stylectory

Virality Versus Vitality

The internet’s progression has spurred brands to seek virality. From Coperni’s spray-painted dress, to AVAVAV’s falling models, fashion appears to have pivoted towards creating clothes and events that generate social media buzz.

Dundas isn’t fazed by the increasing pressure to go viral.

“Everyone is trying to create a moment, nothing really has changed. So I don’t see it differently. It’s [just] being expressed through the internet and the opportunity for visibility is magnified,” he says. “But we all wish for that, and it’s amazing when you can do that. You want to do something that’s special, that’s unique, that’s personal. I think that’s part of what becomes a moment.”

Speaking of visibility, the metaverse has amassed a lot of hype over the past five years. It’s something that Dundas and Bousis have both taken note of, and are using their new avenue to explore. 

“It was a new way of expressing myself as a designer, and an opportunity to play in a different way,” the designer explains. “I didn’t want it to replace anything else that I was doing, I just wanted it to compliment it and add a different layer to it as well.”

“Everyone is trying to create a moment, nothing really has changed. So I don’t see it differently. It’s [just] being expressed through the internet and the opportunity for visibility is magnified,” he says. “But we all wish for that, and it’s amazing when you can do that. You want to do something that’s special, that’s unique, that’s personal. I think that’s part of what becomes a moment.”

 A New Chapter Of Self Expression

The DUNDAS label dipped its toes into the metaverse last year by participating in Decentraland’s inaugural Metaverse Fashion Week, where it showcased a fully digital runway collection alongside Ukrainian virtual marketplace DressX. 

Less than a month later, it teamed up with Paris Hilton to transform her handset Swarovski crystal Grammys purse into an NFT collection, which served as an ode to the classic martini cocktail. 

While some consider his latest endeavors to be an unconventional move, for Dundas, they’re simply a means of moving with the times. 

“I think that there’s a very exciting, bright future ahead for designers with the changing culture towards sustainability, inclusion, and technology,” he explains. “The digital world is going to be massively important and I think that’s something our generation hasn’t really embraced in the same way. But I think that’s a necessity. One of the key ingredients in staying relevant is that you embrace these new things.”

The eponymous venture also gives Dundas a newfound sense of creative freedom. When working under a major luxury house, designers can often find themselves tied to specific visual codes with stringent creative boundaries. 

Paris Hilton’s Grey Goose x Peter Dundas martini handbag, which she sported at the 2022 Grammys Awards ceremony, was transformed into an NFT and sold on digital marketplace DressX. Photo: Paris Hilton’s Instagram

Now, in 2023, Dundas is welcoming this break from restrictiveness. “Starting a new brand, you can set your terms on what you want to do and what you want to be. When you are new it allows you to embrace new solutions. I think that’s one of the things that have been so interesting with having our own brand is to be able to do that with ease,” Dundas says.

When a creative as prominent as Dundas forms their own design house, it isn’t always plain sailing. There’s the risk of the label becoming lowbrow or commercialized. But he and his partner have kept up the sexy sensibilities of his previous portfolio. They also haven’t lost sight of the designer’s clientele. 

“I think we’ve stayed very much on track in terms of who our client is. What maybe has changed or evolved is how we communicate that and how we communicate with our client,” Dundas adds. 

Not every fashion veteran is as open to change as Dundas, but he believes that change is what will usher in the next generation of industry greats. His advice to the rising creatives hoping to shape the future of fashion?

“Really believe in yourself and find a personal voice. Be open to youth culture and open to new technology and adapting to change. And, finally, you have to love it. Somebody once said to me if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. And it really is true.”

The Power Of Personalization: Crocs-Mania Sweeps China

What Happened: Once believed to be the antithesis of fashion — Victoria Beckham said she’d rather die than wear them — the chunky Crocs Classic Clog is now at the heart of a cultural phenomenon led by young Gen Z consumers. 

The ‘clogcore’ movement is making waves on the Chinese internet. On Xiaohongshu, topics such as ‘holey shoes,’ ‘Crocs,’ and ‘DIY holey shoes’ have been viewed 260 million, 150 million, and nearly 100 million times, respectively. Netizens have even invented slang to express their enthusiasm for the shoes, invented in 2002. Many young girls, fans of the slip-on brand, have proclaimed they’ve “entered the cave” (加入洞门), a phrase which refers to the clogcore trend.

The chunky Crocs Classic Clog is now at the heart of a cultural phenomenon led by young Gen Z consumers. Image: Crocs

Crocs’ latest financial report confirms the popularity of the shoes in the country. In Q1 2023, the company’s revenue in China grew by more than 110 percent year on year. Artisan Partners, an investment management company, forecasts that Crocs’ revenue growth will continue to surprise to the upside, driven by expansion outside the US.

North America is Crocs’ primary market, accounting for 61 percent of its total revenue, while Asia generates 20 percent. The Colorado-headquartered footwear firm has announced plans to accelerate distribution in Asia with the goal of achieving 25 percent of its sales there by 2026. But can China sustain Crocs’ ambition?

The Jing Take: The rise of the Crocs Classic Clog in China can be traced back to the pandemic. As people prioritized stay-home comfortability over formality, the lightweight slip-on mules rapidly gained momentum. Additionally, domestic style icons, such as Yang Mi, Bai Jingting, and Ouyang Nana, were seen sporting the shoes, contributing to their skyrocketing popularity.

Another reason the iconic shoes have recently emerged as a fashionable item among young consumers is their customizability. Owners have been accessorizing the clogs with charms pinned in the holes of the slip-ons, which quickly grabbed Gen Z’s attention as a tool to express their personality and individuality.

Owners have been accessorizing the clogs with charms pinned in the holes of the slip-ons and sharing their creations on Xiaohongshu. Image: Xiaohongshu screenshots

Chanel-style Crocs, embellished with pearls and tweed ribbons; M&M-style Crocs, with chocolate chips fulfilling the holes; and McDonald’s-style Crocs, decorated with French fries and McNuggets are just a few examples of the thousands of style suggestions on Xiaohongshu. Anyone can create their own unique pair of clogs and change the charms according to their daily outfit or mood. 

This is prime example of how a niche category can become a mainstream hit among Gen Z because of personalization. The DIY trend has recaptured young Chinese shoppers’ interests. Nonetheless, Crocs faces a big challenge expanding its market share in China — a cheaper version is available on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, priced at under than $7 (50 RMB), a tenth of the Classic Clogs’ price. Consolidating its reputation and building loyalty will be crucial for the business to build on its products’ popularity in China.

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.

luxury store experience

The New Codes of Luxury: 5 Essential Questions For Reinventing Luxury Customer Experience

We are living in times of acceleration. Not only do technology shifts take place faster and faster — just think about how quickly we adopted crypto, NFTs, and generative AI over the last decade, consumers’ expectations are also rising at an unprecedented pace.

Take the growth of sustainability. The expectations for sustainable luxury are not only coming from some of the sector’s youngest clientele (Gen Zers, or those under 25 years old at this time) but also its wealthiest clientele. At the recent first Pepperdine Disruptive Luxury Symposium that I hosted, we invited several ultra-wealthy luxury consumers for a round table. For all of them, without exception, sustainability and net-positivity was the number one denominator of their luxury purchases.

In other words, many legacy brands are not just feeling the pressure to change from their future clients but also from their existing top clients. Which explains why so many heritage brands right now are underperforming and suffering. 

At the same time, luxury consumers are challenging the core values of brands and making purchase decisions based on how much a brand resonates with their own values. Suddenly, the brand ethos becomes a critical decision factor. However, many brands still over-rely on quality and craftsmanship as selling points, which are the bare minimum in luxury. What most forget is that the total experience counts, or in other words, maximum brand differentiation must take place through the brand story and services.

So, how can brands stand out? First, it all starts with the brand story. When brands are not clear on what they are really selling, what emotional response they want to evoke, and what their clients can do differently through the experience they provide, then there is no way to differentiate.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the luxury sector, where discerning clients are constantly seeking extraordinary experiences, luxury brands must continually reimagine their strategies to stay relevant and engaging. In my experience advising global luxury brands on value creation, I’ve found there are five crucial questions that can act as compasses for brands seeking to elevate their client experiences.

Do We Truly Understand Our Clientele?

Understanding customers is essential for any business, but especially for luxury. That’s because — as my extensive academic research shows —  luxury is all about the anticipation of a personal perception shift. Fundamentally, it’s about the client. Luxury consumers crave personalized experiences and products that reflect their identity, core values, and lifestyle. Brands must not only know who they are but also harness sophisticated data analytics, investing time and resources to develop a deeper, more nuanced understanding of their clients. And, importantly, they need to make people feel valued on a human level.

Are We Creating Emotional Value?

In luxury, the value of a product or service extends beyond its physical attributes or functional utility. When I was able to discover Added Luxury Value (ALV) as the most critical value component for clients, it became clear that the only thing that matters in luxury is about how brands make clients feel. It’s opportunity and risk. For most brands it’s the Achilles heel, the reason they underperform.

The true essence lies in the emotional resonance the ALV creates. Luxury brands need to ask themselves whether they are crafting experiences that evoke strong positive emotions and building lasting emotional connections with their clients. The art of storytelling and creating brand-specific immersive experiences can help achieve this, making clients feel they are part of something unique and exclusive.

The main question you have to answer is, are we creating a positive emotional response that reflects our brand values? Before you answer, yes we do, ask yourself if your staff is trained enough and if you have the right incentive systems in place to reward behavior that leads to creating the emotional value you need. In my experience, less than 10% of brands do this deeply enough. 

Is Our Brand Experience Consistent Across All Touchpoints?

Consistency is key in creating a seamless luxury brand experience. Whether it’s in-store, online, or across social media, every interaction a client has with your brand should reinforce its core values and identity. Evaluate every touchpoint in your customer journey to ensure they all contribute towards a unified and consistent brand experience.

I wish I had better news, but one negative interaction at any touchpoint will override years of positive interactions. And, importantly, your most loyal clients are the first to break up if something their expected experience is off. And when they do, they likely never come back and will spend enormous energy to discourage anyone from buying your brand. 

How Are We Leveraging Digital Innovation?

In the age of digital transformation, you need to ask how you are integrating technology into your client experience. Are you leveraging digital channels to provide personalized, on-demand, and seamless experiences? Luxury brands must aim to create mastery in physical and digital experiences.

Importantly, you need to ask the question: Are you wasting the time of your clients when they decide to go to your store? Or are you making a visit exceptional and worth the time and effort they spent? Your clients will hold you accountable. 

Are We Continually Evolving with Our Clientele?

As values shift rapidly and new trends and technologies emerge, luxury brands need to adapt faster than ever before. It’s essential to foster an organizational culture that encourages continuous learning, innovation, and agility. For legacy brands, this is a particular weak spot. I hear all the time the mantra of “this is how we always did things.” Complacency is a sure way of being forgotten.

By deeply reflecting on these five questions and creating decisive actions, luxury brands will gain insightful perspectives on their current customer experience strategies and identify areas where significant improvement is needed. I am always amazed at how many insights for dramatic change can be generated by a single straightforward brand audit.

More importantly, luxury brands must come up with new ways of delivering extreme value, nurturing stronger relationships with their clients, and ensuring their brand remains iconic in the ever-changing luxury landscape. Remember, in the realm of luxury, the extraordinary should be the norm, not the exception. To win, you need to go beyond the extraordinary.

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


Fendi & Ambush Join Ledger, Gucci Cruise’s Zepeto Catwalk & More: Web3 Drops Of The Week

The first five months of this year have seen luxury and mainstream fashion names refine their approach to the metaverse. Rather than trying to tackle everything all at once, brands are honing in on crafting well-executed experiences before embarking on the next phase of their Web3 roadmaps.

But even with this newly revised approach, businesses are still struggling to cater to the preferences of their Web3 native audiences. For example, Nike’s .Swoosh platform crashed this week because it couldn’t handle the number of users on it, and members were quick to vocalize their complaints.

In other news, both streetwear label Ambush and fashion house Fendi are taking the next step in their metaverse evolution. The two have teamed up with Web3 hardware wallet startup Ledger this week on a project that reimagines crypto storage through the creative lens of each label, as Ledger explores new frontiers to expand its audience base.

Ledger has tapped the cultural power of two leading fashion labels to demonstrate its style know-how in Web3. Photo: Ledger

Crypto-Hardware Pioneer Ledger Teams Up With Fendi And Ambush To Launch Exclusive Hardware Cases Reimagined By The Brands

What Happened: Ledger, the world leader in hardware for cryptocurrency and blockchain applications, has joined forces with globally-renowned Japanese streetwear label Ambush and iconic fashion house Fendi to launch two products specifically geared towards Ledger’s consumer base. 

Ambush’s “liquid metal case” has been designed exclusively to complement Ledger’s latest product development breakthrough, the Ledger Stax — a next-gen, Bluetooth-powered hardware wallet designed by Tony Fadell, the legendary builder of the iPod and iPhone.

Meanwhile, Fendi’s tie-up with Ledger brings to life its own reimagined crypto case, inspired by the classic Baguette bag. 

The Verdict: Ledger is proving it’s more than just a one-trick pony when it comes to weighty collabs, and moving into the world of luxury accessories is a promising growth opportunity for the startup. With more luxury consumers opting to invest in the metaverse and cryptocurrencies, elevating its cutting-edge gadgets to a luxury-level standard through partnerships with the likes of Fendi is sure to draw the attention of the tech-savvy, high fashion crowd.  

Meanwhile, Ambush hasn’t shied away from taking risks and diving into Web3. Its first foray into the metaverse was back in February 2022, when the label unveiled its inaugural “POW! Reboot” non-fungible token (NFT) collection. 

Earlier this year, Ambush founder Yoon Ahn told Jing Daily in an exclusive interview that she perceives Ambush as less of a brand and more of a platform for potential collaboration. She also views every physical project as an opportunity to bridge real life and the virtual world. Her latest partnership does just that.

The fashion house hosted a virtual version of its Cruise runway via Zepeto earlier this week. Photo: Zepeto

Gucci Cruise Collection Gets A Metaverse Makeover Via Zepeto’s Digital Runway

What Happened: Following in the footsteps of Prada and Dior, Gucci recently aired its “Cruise” collection via South Korean gaming and social platform Zepeto, using avatars that were dressed in digitally-rendered versions of the house’s new runway designs. The luxury label launched its own world on the platform back in 2021.

Audience members could watch a livestream of the physical runway, purchase items from the virtual Gucci store, and get their photo taken at the Gucci photo booth. According to metaverse data company Geeiq, the experience received around 235,000 total visits and achieved a 95 percent audience approval rate.

The Verdict: Gucci has consolidated its Zepeto presence through a number of experiences. Its Gucci Garden campaign, which launched last year, received 6.18 million visits, as reported by Geeiq.

With around 1.5 million daily users and an overall user base exceeding 300 million, Zepeto allows brands to connect with its Gen Z-heavy audience and explore new avenues of social retail.

Casablanca is the latest brand to tap artificial intelligence it its creative campaigns. Photo: Casablanca

Casablanca Releases Fully AI-Generated Campaign For Its SS23 Collection

What Happened: French-Moroccan fashion house Casablanca unveiled its new AI-generated campaign this week for its “Futuro Optimisto” SS23 collection. Until now, the brand has championed old-school approaches to media and design by solely shooting its campaigns using film. This latest move demonstrates a new creative direction for the label.

Using image generator Midjourney, the AI-generated visuals were inspired by Mexican landscapes merged with surrealism to reimagine campaign storytelling. No models were needed for the campaign, and the technology eradicated the task of having to scout for the perfect shoot location.

The Verdict: What apparently started as a joke between Casablanca’s founder Charaf Tajer and art director Steve Grimes has unlocked future potential for Casablanca’s creative endeavours. But the brand must tread lightly to avoid leaving a sour taste in consumers’ mouths.

Earlier this year, Levi’s came under fire for deploying AI-technology in its business model, which consisted of the denim giant replacing real models with artificial ones. Branded under the guise of “being able to deliver better diversified offerings,” to its consumer base, audiences weren’t convinced and slammed the brand’s decision as a cost-cutting gimmick.

However, if Casablanca can strike a balance between utilizing cutting-edge technology and continuing to work with real-life creatives, it may just get away with it. After all, New York-based cult favorite Vaquera has also started playing around with AI functions in its own campaigns, which have been received well by the general fashion crowd so far.

Proya Mother's Day China

What Does Proya’s Mother’s Day Campaign Say About China’s ‘She Economy’?


Chinese cosmetics brand Proya has launched a campaign titled “There’s More Than Just Mom in the World” in celebration of this year’s Mother’s Day falling on May 14. The theme, which is adapted from a classic Chinese nursery rhyme, is a continuation of last year’s “Visible Only to Mothers” campaign, which pointed out that family responsibilities should not only be shouldered by the mother. Likewise, this year’s campaign calls for society to acknowledge a mother’s invisible sacrifices and equally split up household tasks.

The campaign slogan “There’s More Than Just Mom in the World” is adapted from a classic Chinese nursery rhyme. Photo: Proya

Netizens’ Reaction

The campaign hashtag, “There’s More Than Just Mom in the World,” has driven over 33.8 million views on Weibo. Meanwhile, the accompanying three-minute film garnered 13.2 million views within six days and has received extremely positive comments from netizens across social platforms. By launching campaigns for International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day, Proya demonstrates its awareness of women’s challenges in a patriarchal society and helps them feel seen. 



Proya is a veteran in marketing to women, especially when it comes to developing stories that resonate with today’s younger generations. Mother’s Day is still an underrepresented marketing occasion in China compared to Valentine’s Days like May 20 and Qixi or shopping festivals such as Double 11. However, discerning local players can leverage it as a crucial branding vehicle. 

Women are gradually realizing that tributes to a mother’s selfless dedication to her family are actually invisible shackles on mothers themselves. As such, leading local players like Proya are focusing instead on highlighting the dynamic personalities hidden behind the mother role.

Recommended Reading3 Homegrown Brands That Won Mother’s DayBy Wenzhuo Wu

Interestingly, Proya is not promoting any specific products in this campaign, which is a sharp contrast to brands that encourage customers to affirm their values through consumption. Whether it is encouraging mothers to explore more possibilities beyond the home or urging family members to divide household chores, Proya showcases different ways to leverage Mother’s Day marketing in a contemporary context.


From Heytea To Hand In Hand: Fendi Bets Big On China

What Happened: Over the past week, Italian luxury house Fendi has swiftly taken center stage on Chinese social media, surprising consumers with its first ever collaboration with buzzy Chinese beverage brand Heytea, as part of its promotion for the opening of Fendi’s traveling “Hand in Hand” exhibition in Beijing.

Selling out on the collaboration’s debut May 17, Fendi x Heytea has already proven a triumph for both brands. Images of customers clutching the limited edition cups filled with its photogenic passion fruit and mango drink are all over Weibo and Xiaohongshu — the dedicated hashtag #喜茶fendi联名# has been read by 32.6 million on Weibo alone, with 8,662 organic posts on the platform thus far.


Fendi and Heytea’s collaborative merchandise has been a hit on social media channels. Photo: Weibo

To promote the limited edition passion drink with the accompanying yellow and black accessories, Fendi and Heytea are hosting a Hutong Tea Room experience in Beijing. From May 19 to June 16, consumers can relax in a premium lounge sporting the collaboration’s color scheme at historic site Temple Dongjingyuan, where the exhibition is also being held.

The luxury house’s “Hand in Hand” exhibition is at its third stop after Rome and Tokyo. The show presents a host of reinterpretations of Fendi’s signature Baguette bag by regional craftspeople. 

For the Beijing showcase, Fendi invited artisans AXiWuZhiMo and LeGuShaRi who represent one of the oldest ethnic groups in Southwest China, the Yi ethnicity, to recreate its iconic baguette bag. 

To create Peekaboo bags alongside the artisanal baguette designs, contemporary artists Ni Youyu, Chen Fenwan and Wei Pingyuan designed special takes. 

Artisans at work for Fendi's Hand In Hand exhibition. Photo: Fendi

Artisans at work for Fendi’s Hand In Hand exhibition. Photo: Fendi

The Jing Take: In 2023, luxury brands are accustomed to partnering with players outside their industry to maintain consumer attention, marketing themselves as cultural entities to reach broader demographics. Fendi is doing just that with this Heytea launch.

Seeing as the Italian luxury leader has previously implemented playful marketing strategies in the mainland, such as working with artist Oscar Wang on its Fendidi Panda, the Heytea collaboration is not as unusual as Western consumers might believe.

After all, in China, Heytea even collaborated with Elon Musk’s high-end electric vehicle company Tesla earlier this year — a luxury name that seldom ventures into the collab space. 

As a household brand in the mainland that’s famously popular among young people, Heytea is a failsafe connector for Fendi to gain cultural capital and social media attention. Local netizens love jumping on the photo-posting bandwagon when there is something photogenic to eat or drink. 

Recommended ReadingChina Continues To Fuel Spring Luxury ReboundBy Jason Wang

Working with Heytea is also an effective way to gain exposure for the “Hand in Hand” exhibition. Co-curated by the brand alongside Chinese singer and actress Jike Junyi, who is a Yi ethnic, and Chinese contemporary art collector Kylie Ying, it is a profound celebration of the local culture. 

Furthermore, the event has been trending as a result of Chinese-American actress Joan Chen and Angelababy (105 million fans on Weibo), as well as brand ambassadors Tang Yixin, Xu Guanghan, Xu Kai, Song Zu’er, and Tan Zhuo all attending the opening night.

Both the Heytea launch and exhibition reflect stellar, innovative ways of marketing a luxury label beyond fashion collections to reach mainstream audiences. Whether or not the Italian brand could maintain its reputation with a fast-food chain in the West is another story, though.

The Baguette room featuring one-off artisanal pieces for Fendi’s Hand in Hand exhibition. Photo: Fendi

For more analysis on the latest collaborations, sign up for the Collabs and Drops newsletter here.


What Brands Need To Know About China’s Streetwear Scene In 2023

In the West, sorting streetwear subcultures into its current reigning categories is relatively straightforward. On one hand, there is “gorpcore,” which is fronted by utility gear such as cargo pants, anoraks, and high-tech sneakers; as well as Y2K, which takes cues from Britney Spears’ heyday; and looks such as “Ivy League style,” led by prep-informed American brands like Aimé Leon Dore and Rowing Blazers. 

All of these styles are also prevalent in China. However, as retail platform Doe Shanghai’s co-founder Terry Zhu says, they differ drastically from city to city. “We have quite a different culture and background. Right now, streetwear is a big conversation as we have so many different levels of consumers.”

aime leon dore 2023

Aimé Leon Dore for Summer 2023, paving the way for preppy fits. Photo: Aimé Leon Dore

Along with the difficulties of generalizing Chinese consumers — streetwear culture in Shanghai or Chengdu is starkly different to that in tier-4 cities, for example — the historical connotations that streetwear has in the West do not resonate culturally in the mainland.

As global names like Arc’Teryx and Asics increasingly opt to connect with China’s Generation Z via streetwear, understanding these nuances has become increasingly important. Here, Jing Daily breaks down what sets China’s streetwear market apart from the West’s.

  • ‘Lifestyle Destinations’ Are New To China

One of the defining aspects of Western streetwear retail is how concept stores have become not only providers of limited edition inventory but spaces for enthusiasts to hang out.

Zhu is one of the innovators bringing this model to China. A self-titled “destination” for shoppers, Doe Shanghai markets itself as a lifestyle hub rather than just a store.

“We always travel to a lot of global key cities, like London, Tokyo, New York, Paris etc. And when we visit these cities, we are always able to find some places that we can go and visit to hang out with friends,” Zhu explains. “But in China there weren’t any of these kinds of stores. We wanted to create something for the consumers themselves. There was a real gap over here which wasn’t reaching the global community like [Western streetwear retailers].”

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2024, the bricks-and-mortar-led retailer allows consumers to enjoy a coffee while shopping, and operates a solid online platform too. The brand’s IP has become a vehicle for foreign names such as Converse to connect with local streetwear fans as a result. 

adidas x hamcus

  • Marriage Of Local And International Influences 

Due to the increased rate of travelling and studying in the West, domestic streetwear trends are a concoction of local and international influences. According to China’s Ministry of Education, over 80 percent of all Chinese students return home after graduating from overseas universities. 

Zhu emphasizes that the modern China image is a direct result of Gen Z pursuing higher education in the US or Europe and then traveling the world before returning home.

“Around the world, people tend to believe Chinese fashion is all dragons and silk, or traditional Chinese culture. But no, [Doe Shanghai] consumers are of a very international background, working for global corporations or studying abroad. These local Gen Z are trying to be more international while showcasing their China pride at the same time.”

Though gorpcore and Y2K trends are a hit in the East too right now, there is also the rise of the Japanese “city boy” aesthetic, the “Westernized fit” of basketball-inspired looks, and elements of Chinese design, describes sneaker product manager Kenneth Huang

  • Hype And Herd Culture

As Huang also explains, trends move fast in China as a result of the intense follower culture. 

“The development of streetwear trends such as gorpcore has moved so much faster than the way people digest culture on a time spectrum,” he says. 

The influential power of key opinion leaders in Asia reflects the extent to which consumers idolize celebrities, with that imitation behavior also embodied in the fast adoption of trends like gorpcore.

“Generation Z are looking at celebrities and learning from them, or just copying them. They like following a trend,” says Zhu. “At Doe, we choose to try and lead them a bit. I understand, like all young people, Gen Z are always chasing the hype of a fashion magazine or blogger.”

However, this extreme follower culture in China has led to a lack of authenticity behind streetwear trends. In most cases, it is just those at the top of the trendsetting pyramid who understand the semantics behind each look; everyone else is merely copying aesthetics.

GQ China fashion editor Lysander Zhang says, “The top [of the influencing chain] should be authentic, but even they are being bought by brands now. I think streetwear is having a really difficult moment of real authenticity [in China].”

  • Collaborations Help Brands Reach Niche Communities

An element of the Chinese scene that is equally familiar to the West is how brand collaborations are enabling both global and local names to target specific communities.

For example, Doe worked with Shanghai-based tattoo artist and illustrator Jax on a Spring 2023 collection. With just 14,000 fans on Weibo and 2,517 followers on Instagram, the creative might not have the largest following, but he enabled Doe to connect with a truly targeted group of young people.

Zhu explains, “A lot of our team have tattoos. It made sense to have Jax come in and do some tattooing in our shop. It was great for both sides — some of the illustrations that he creates don’t work as tattoos but I knew they would look great on a T-shirt or hoodie. It combines design and production capabilities.”

doe shanghai

Through coffee culture, collaboration, and cool design, Doe Shanghai is shaking up the Chinese streetwear scene. Photo: Doe Shanghai

For more analysis on the latest collaborations, sign up for the Collabs and Drops newsletter here.

With The Metaverse’s Branding Dilemma, How Is Web3 Redefining Luxury Standards In Retail?

The proliferation of digital products and services like virtual Gucci bags sold via Roblox and token-gated members clubs, begs the question: what really defines true luxury in the metaverse today?

Though luxury had experimented with the metaverse for a number of years, the virtual world’s rise to mainstream acceptance occurred in 2021, largely due to the impact of COVID-19 and a shift to digitalization.

It’s estimated that metaverse luxury goods segment revenue could reach as much as $50 billion by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley

What qualifies as luxury in the offline terrain encompasses a number of key factors, including exclusivity, authenticity and the creation of hedonic value through customer experiences. With more businesses adopting Web3, luxury brands are having to look for new ways to deliver all-frills digital experiences and diversify their offerings. 

How can brands replicate their offline luxury standard experience in the online world? Photo: Gucci x Roblox

Pulling off a community coup

Community is the bedrock of Web3. The rise of consumer communities in the virtual realm is forcing luxury brands to restrategize their retail models to favor incentivization and rewards systems, and defend their values, such as excellence. 

As in the offline world, in the digital space luxury spenders seek access to exclusive products and services that differentiate them from the mainstream crowd. 

To be sure, obtaining items from a brand’s collection at its flagship boutique is not possible in Web3 (unless in avatar form). In a report published by Boston Consulting Group last year, 67 percent of survey respondents thought luxury brands’ digital experiences do not meet the standards of the labels’ in-store experiences. 

The challenge of replicating offline luxury’s level of quality in the metaverse means brands have begun exploring alternative ways to deliver the luxury-standard experience and drive client engagement. 

High-profile brands exploring Web3 acknowledge that consumers of luxury will refuse to settle for mediocrity. 

For example, luxury jeweler Asprey’s Web3 arm, Asprey Studio, developed its token-gated “Asprey Club” community back in 2022 following its non-fungible token (NFT) collaboration with automotive label Bugatti, which tapped the auto manufacturer’s rich cultural heritage. Community membership provides access to high-profile offline events, with each member gifted an Asprey gold signet ring as an esteemed ‘badge of honor.’ 

Asprey’s latest tie-up with Bugatti aims to elevate the Web3 luxury standard experience. Photo: Asprey

“We chose the ring to make our audience feel like part of the club. This isn’t just for flippers, it’s for people who love collecting,” Ali Walker, Chief Creative Officer at Asprey Studio tells Jing Daily

The devil is in the details – every aspect of a luxury-standard activation in Web3 should be considered. In Asprey Studio’s case, this comprised selecting the cream of the crypto crop for maximum security and assurance among its community. 

The partnership’s latest project was composed of 111 objet eggs, each made with 1,500 pavé diamonds and carbon fiber. Minted on the Bitcoin blockchain, the eggs were made available earlier this month for between $20,000 to $50,000

“Bitcoin is one of the most secure and decentralized blockchain networks, and it really is a very premium blockchain. It is suitable for small, very high-end luxury and art drops, which is why we chose it,” Walker says.

Token gated communities and private members clubs are one way luxury is maintaining its exclusivity in Web3. Photo: Hennessy

Maintaining desirability

The metaverse has a branding problem; and luxury is taking note. In a bid to foster digital relationships with consumers and move away from the collective distaste of NFTs and crypto, the sector is eschewing off-putting terminology. 

Maintaining desirability in Web3 also requires scarcity. Demand outweighing supply boosts the ‘almost-unattainable’ allure of a brand and its cultural status. 

One success story is Dolce & Gabbana’s highly coveted Collezione Genesi NFT collection in 2021. Consisting of only nine, one-of-a-kind pieces, the series fetched a history-making $6 million at auction. 

Collectors of luxury items have consistently been enticed by extreme rarity and scarcity, which explains why Dolce & Gabbana achieved such success with its inaugural metaverse offering. 

But the bar for creating in Web3 is lower than in the offline world due to better accessibility and democratization across the ecosystem, in turn leading to an overabundance of digital assets and services. To excel in Web3’s luxury segment, brands must embrace rarity, which is key to superiority.  

Luxury is also deploying customization and personalization in Web3 to enhance the appeal of digital products and services. 

One of the advantages of generative AI technology is that it can help businesses “customize products for individual consumers at scale (for example, eyeglasses based on facial topography)” according to McKinsey’s Generative AI: Unlocking the future of fashion report, switching the shopping experience from an analog process to a memorable interaction.

Dolce & Gabbana’s nine-piece Collezione Genesi NFT collection fetched $6 million at auction in 2021. Photo: Dolce & Gabbana

Crystal clear

Knowledge is wealth, and transparency is the new name of the game. According to Boston Consulting Group, six out of 10 of consumers say that they consider sustainability when making purchasing decisions, with 80 percent believing that luxury fashion houses should commit to product life-cycle management beyond the production and sales’ processes.

Both online and offline luxury are now strongly aligned with traceability, with consumers perceiving extensive product knowledge as a luxury itself. 

“Today’s consumers want to know that their purchases have been responsibly sourced and increasingly expect evidence of this, rather than just verbal assurances,” Jason McIntosh, chief product officer at De Beers Group’s B2B blockchain solution platform Tracr told Jing Daily earlier this year.

With a generation of consumers growing more conscious of where and how their products are made, luxury brands should present information in the digital realm that extends beyond the ‘made in …’ credentials. 

To do so, they are turning to the blockchain as a means of delivering product provenance, ownership details for resales, and production information. 

“On-chain product passports offer a new perspective on products, incorporating data, and digital elements. This paves the way for truly ‘phygital’ high-utility experiences, where consumers gain access to a wealth of new information about a product,” Carol Hilsum, Senior Director of Open Innovation and New Venture at Farfetch says. “This evolution in product thinking and the integration of a digital DNA layer has the potential to enhance longevity and value in the physical realm.”

A case in point is super luxury label Loro Piana and diamond company De Beers, which are both leading the way in presenting in-depth information to their clienteles through blockchain technology. 

The former joined the Aura Blockchain Consortium in March this year, and pledged to issue digital certificates alongside purchases of all new garments from its The Gift of Kings collection, while De Beers’ Tracr program harnesses a combination of blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and advanced privacy to track the journey of each diamond across the value chain. 

Both businesses provide extensive information on how their products are distributed and made, in turn bolstering the emotional value and reputation of their brands. 

As luxury breaks free from conventional practices to keep up with shifting consumer attitudes, it’s revolutionizing its own industry in the process. With the next generation of luxury products and services being rolled out across the virtual terrain, Web3 will play a key role in the segment’s evolution and permanently disrupt the concept of what constitutes true luxury today.

Bottega Veneta flagship JD

Bottega Veneta Becomes First Kering Fashion Brand To Launch On

What Happened: On May 16, Bottega Veneta launched its first online flagship store on Offering more than 2,000 items, including bags, shoes, and ready-to-wear items, it is the first fashion brand under Kering to join the Chinese e-commerce platform.

The house, led by creative director Matthieu Blazy, already operates a flagship store on Tmall Luxury Pavilion, which opened in 2018.

The Jing Take: It’s not surprising that Bottega Veneta has expanded to Firstly, has a proven track record of working with high-end names, currently housing over 400 luxury brand flagship stores. Moreover, as part of this new partnership, will provide Bottega Veneta with operational support and marketing resources to assist with new product releases and key shopping holidays, according to the e-commerce site.

It is surprising, however, that Kering’s fashion houses have waited this long to launch on the platform. In February 2022, high-end jewelry maker Qeelin became the first Kering brand to debut a flagship store on Other labels like Gucci and Alexander McQueen have self-operated stores on the platform, which differ from flagship stores in that the warehousing, logistics and customer service are handled by rather than the brand itself (in other words, acts as the merchant). 

Bottega Veneta’s flagship store versus Gucci’s self-operated store. Photo: Screenshots

Compare this to LVMH, which has launched nine high-end fashion houses on so far, including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Loewe, Fendi, and Givenchy. 

Bottega Veneta’s move reflects luxury’s increasing investment in online retail, especially during the pandemic. As brick-and-mortar stores suffered disruptions in China due to ongoing lockdowns, e-commerce grew in importance; in 2021, online sales accounted for the majority of retail sales in the country for the first time, reported eMarketer. 

In particular, DTC platforms have become a key way to capture market share. As a white paper by AI and analytics firm Ekimetrics states, a digital DTC platform not only provides brands with valuable insights into their customers’ preferences, purchase history and product paths — which are not always accessible on third-party websites — but it also gives brands the freedom to provide tailored shopping experiences.

With Kering lagging LVMH in revenue growth in Q1 2023, Bottega Veneta’s latest initiative could serve as a way to regain sales momentum in China and gradually narrow the gap with its competitors. 

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.

Louis Vuitton, Estée Lauder, Balenciaga Tap Into China’s ‘I Love You Day’

China might be world’s most romantic country, given that it has not one — but three Valentine’s Days: international Valentine’s Day on February 14, the traditional Qixi festival, or “Chinese Valentine’s Day” in August, and the upcoming “I Love You,” or “520 Day” on May 20. 

The latter is a very recent invention. Rachel Daydou, partner and China managing director at innovation agency Fabernovel explains: “In a typical modern China way, 520 was born from an internet shortcut slang, grown through popular songs, and quickly leveraged by brands and platforms.” In Mandarin, “five, two, zero” sounds similar to “I love you.”

Over the past decade, with China rising as a critical growth engine for luxury consumption, maisons have taken advantage of all these gifting opportunities. Brands have painted their handbags and jewelry in romantic shades of pink and released star-studded campaigns to court young Gen Z consumers on these special occasions. 

Luxury brands, such as Loewe, have painted their handbags and jewelry in romantic shades of pink to celebrate China’s ‘520’ Day. Image: Loewe

In the early days, the tailored strategy generated colossal popularity. Chinese consumers raced to obtain limited edition items. However, as more brands have piled in, consumers grew fatigued by the repetitive formula — limited edition plus celebrity promotion. Additionally, beauty brands face challenges grabbing consumers’ attention while not overpackaging their products, which would contravene regulations due to be implemented later this year. 

How can brands overcome these challenges and stand out?

Innovating romance

“Out of the three Valentine’s days celebrated in China, 520 is both anchored in local culture and ultra-contemporary. As such, it offers a unique chance for brands to create valuable consumer engagements inspired by edgy internet culture, modern expressions of love, and the celebration of unconventional relationships,” states Fabernovel’s Daydou.

This year, Louis Vuitton chose not to create an exclusive capsule for 520 as it has on previous occasions. Instead, the French house came up with a dedicated “art of gifting” WeChat mini-program page to help consumers choose the perfect gift across six categories — sports, home décor, fragrance, accessories, travel, and office objects. 

Louis Vuitton came up with a dedicated “art of gifting” WeChat mini-program page to help consumers choose the perfect gift across six categories. Image: Louis Vuitton

The luxury business took the festivity as an opportunity to showcase its existing lifestyle offerings, which are usually overshadowed by its leather goods products, and emphasize its personalization services such as engraving, hot stamping, and hand painting. Additionally, the brand introduced the possibility for shoppers to purchase fragrance gift cards, thus, allowing recipients to choose their preferred scents themselves. 

Meanwhile, Balenciaga turned to gaming, and another resonant topic: sustainability. For this year’s 520 Day, Balenciaga is enabling users to choose via its official WeChat account a farmer avatar dressed in products from the brand’s limited edition 520 capsule, who is tasked with growing virtual crops using regenerative agriculture techniques. The game helps draw awareness to projects supported by the Regenerative Fund for Nature, which is transforming crop fields and rangelands into regenerative agricultural spaces.

520 campaigns: heart and soul

“While many brands rely on celebrity power to enhance their visibility during 520, inviting romantic actors from popular romantic C-drama can amplify exposure even more,” says Laurence Lim, founder and managing director of marketing agency Cherry Blossoms. Lim shares the example of Estée Lauder, which shot its 520 campaign with Yan Chengxu and Xu Ruohan — actors from The Forbidden Flower (夏花) — and integrated elements from the original show into its campaign. 

Estée Lauder shot its 520 campaign with Yan Chengxu and Xu Ruohan — actors from The Forbidden Flower (夏花). Image: Estée Lauder

“Such campaigns target a broader audience and generate more engagement, appealing not only to fans of the celebrities, but also to the viewers of the show, who immediately relate the two actors to the romantic plot,” says Lim. The video has attracted 3.63 million views on Weibo.

Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, and Estée Lauder’s unconventional way of marking the festivity has helped them distinguish themselves from the crowded field.

Sustainable gift boxes and balletcore beauty 

Beauty gift boxes have become a go-to solution for presents, attracting young shoppers with sophisticated and heavily embellished packaging, rather than with the products. Even simply purchasing a lipstick or a small-sized item, shoppers would receive packages as big as a shoe box, and the purchased item would come wrapped in layers of delicate paper and cloth.

However, a new Chinese standard aimed at controlling excessive packaging coming into force in September this year is prompting businesses to rethink their approach to beauty gift boxes in a more sustainable and utilitarian way.

Inspired by the love locks hanging on the Pont des Arts pedestrian bridge in Paris, beauty brand YSL designed a shocking millennial pink gift box in the shape of a heart lock and a limited edition fragrance with a golden heart-shaped lock on the neck. 

Across Xiaohongshu, numerous KOLs have started posting their outfit of the day carrying the YSL gift box as a handbag. Image: Xiaohongshu screenshot

Unlike the usual packaging options, such as cartons, the lock handbag is entirely covered with caviar leather, so consumers can use and carry it just like a handbag. Across Xiaohongshu, numerous KOLs have started posting their outfit of the day carrying the bold piece. Under those posts, users like @Luluisred, have been praising the item and asking where to purchase it.

Although domestic label Perfect Diary has simplified its packaging for 520 this year, it still won consumers’ attention. The brand leveraged young girls’ craze for balletcore aesthetics, which is inspired by ballerinas’ backstage outfits. So far, the hashtag #Balletcore has taken over the local lifestyle platform Xiaohongshu, racking up more than 281,000 views. 

Alongside lipstick, a nine-color eye shadow, and a loose powder, Perfect Diary’s light pink gift box contains a petit handbag, a headband, and two ribbon hairpins, all in the same tone mirroring the trending balletcore aesthetic.

This year, Perfect Diary leveraged young girls’ craze for balletcore aesthetics for its 520 gift box packaging. Image: Perfect Diary

From fashion to beauty brands, businesses are reevaluating their approach to romantic festivities to better engage with consumers. 

“The digital and retail spaces are increasingly saturated, media prices off the roof, and consumers’ attention quickly fading. Most brands’ response is to do more, quicker, which has resulted in many unsuccessful campaigns and much waste,” says Daydou from Fabernovel. 

To stand out, companies should go the extra mile. Brands must propose refreshing ideas while staying true to their DNA rather than copying and pasting the well-worn formula.


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Hublot’s Coffee Capsule Watch, Jean Paul Gaultier Jelly Shoes, And The North Face Jewelry: Global Collabs Of The Week

Dominating brand collab headlines this week (still) is H&M x Mugler, which saw consumers from London to Beijing queuing outside stores for the drop on May 11. Thanks to the more accessible price points, many styles have now sold out, though the popular Cut-Out design is only selling on StockX for approx. $38 (265 RMB) more than original retail price.

Other big news this week includes Timothée Chalamet becoming the face of one of the world’s most popular male fragrances, Bleu De Chanel. Versace and Dua Lipa will show and instantly release their collection on May 23, and the Christofle x Karl Lagerfeld Mood silverware set is being auctioned on to raise funds for the Fashion Institute of Technology.

In Tuesday’s Collabs & Drops, we looked at The North Face’s careful step into jewelry, Hublot’s innovative coffee capsule watch, and Jean Paul Gaultier x Melissa stepping up the jelly shoe game — for our verdict on those, check out the below, and subscribe here to receive these updates straight to your inbox.

The North Face x Maria Black

The North Face's debut jewelry line is in collaboration with Maria Black. Photo: The North Face

The North Face’s debut jewelry line is in collaboration with Maria Black. Photo: The North Face

Date: Spring 2023

Verdict: Entering a new product category by partnering with an expert within that industry is a failsafe move. And that’s exactly what The North Face is doing with its step into jewelry. Copenhagen-born, Danish-Irish designer Maria Black designs accessible pieces that have an androgynous aesthetic, perfect for The North Face’s unisex appeal. Dropping just 50 exclusive sets, this first jewelry collection feels like a trial run, as it’s only being made available as part of a giveaway for The North Face’s Urban Exploration collection. It’s a clever way to test the waters and see if consumers are hyped about it or not. So far, the brand hasn’t posted about it on social media, but Maria Black has. Perhaps, The North Face is utilizing the drop to see if it can win with the jewelry brand’s existing consumer base — feedback seems limited, but positive so far.

Hublot x Nespresso

Merging technology, sustainability, and style, Hublot has joined Nespresso on a limited edition timepiece. Photo: Hublot

Merging technology, sustainability, and style, Hublot has joined Nespresso on a limited edition timepiece. Photo: Hublot

Date: May 11

Verdict: With only 200 pieces available, the limited edition $24,000 (167,400 RMB) Hublot x Nespresso watch is another surprising collaboration to add to the luxury timepiece arena. The global coffee brand has found an eco-friendly way of working with various brands outside of the F&B industry through upcycling its coffee pods. Having previously worked with Chinese skate brand Do By Heart on the first skateboard made out of recycled Nespresso capsules, Nespresso has now created the first watch out of coffee capsules as part of its Second Life series. Not only does the product boost the public opinion of Nespresso for reducing its waste but also the reputation of its collaborators, like Hublot, for embracing sustainable initiatives. Consumers want meaningful purchases in 2023. The unique design innovation is a bonus, too.

Jean Paul Gaultier x Melissa

Brazilian footwear brand Melissa has collaborated with JPG again, leveraging the beauty of nostalgia.

Brazilian footwear brand Melissa has collaborated with JPG again, leveraging consumer nostalgia. Photo: Jean Paul Gaultier x Melissa

Date: May 12

Verdict: Reuniting after 40 years, Jean Paul Gaultier (JPG) and Melissa have designed the Melissa Becky Punk Love Pump + Jean Paul Gaultier sandal. Despite not dominating headlines or news feeds, the collection has received entirely positive feedback online. The Black Pump Punk Love Heels have sold the most, while other items from the capsule remain fully stocked. First collaborating on Melissa’s famed jelly shoe in 1983, the two are reviving history and leveraging their own cultural capital of ’80s nostalgia. At the same time, they are joining their likeminded, fashion-forward consumer bases.

gamer girl TikTok Gen Z

TikTok’s ‘Gamer Girl’ Aesthetic Offers Brands New Way To Score With China’s Gen Z

Cat ear headphones, customized keyboards, and colorful gaming consoles are the markers of Gen Z’s latest craze: the gamer girl aesthetic.

Popularized on TikTok – related posts have clocked up over 50 billion views – the Japanese school girl-inspired look has unsurprisingly made its way to China, the world’s largest gaming market. On social media platform Xiaohongshu, the hashtag “esports girl” (#电竞少女) has racked up over 72 million views, with users sharing their cute outfits and dedicated gaming stations.

On Xiaohongshu, the hashtag “esports girl” has accumulated over 72 million views. Photo: Xiaohongshu

Fashion and gaming have long had a close-knit relationship. Launching character skins, creating trophies for competitions, and collaborating with esports professionals are just a few ways brands have cashed in over the years. 

But when it comes to physical apparel collections, branded merchandise tends to lean into masculine or unisex styles, despite women making up almost half of the country’s gamers. For example, Diesel’s capsule collection with Chinese League of Legends esports club WBG features women’s items that are identical to the men’s, just cropped, while Ralph Lauren’s Fortnite line comprises gender-neutral polos and jogger pants. 

Yet, as the gamer girl trend shows, women are not afraid to make their presence known in this male-dominated space. Below, we take a look at how the hyper-feminine aesthetic has taken off in China and the opportunities brands have to power up in the market.

Cyber fashion is all the rage as anime, comics and games culture booms

One of the biggest trends to look out for in 2023 is “sci-fi” fits, according to a Pinterest report. From 2020 to 2022, searches for “gamer girl look” on the platform skyrocketed 3,370 percent, while searches for “cyber streetwear” and “futuristic glasses” both increased 70 percent.

Alizila, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s media outlet, echoes this prediction, listing esports as one of the top trends among young Chinese consumers this year. In 2022, esports-related consumer goods, such as gaming chairs and keyboards, generated gross merchandise value of $1.4 billion (10 billion RMB) on Tmall, with 44 percent of purchases driven by women.

The boom in gamer fashion naturally follows a surge in the activity itself. Gaming’s popularity as a pastime increased when people were stuck at home during the pandemic; in 2020, China’s local mobile gaming revenue grew 31 percent year-on-year to $29.2 billion, its highest annual growth rate since 2017, according to Niko Partners. The consulting firm predicts that the number of gamers will climb from 702 million in 2022 to 754.5 million in 2026.

Recommended ReadingBeauty and Gaming: A Collabs Match in HeavenBy Gemma A. Williams

“[Virtual reality] games have become an increasingly popular option for fashion brands and a key marketing channel for special launches,” explains Aurore Legentil, a marketing manager at consumer intelligence platform Ipsos Synthesio, which recently published a report on TikTok fashion aesthetics. “So it’s not just the consumers, but also the fashion industry that is seeking to combine virtual technology with the presence of fashion and thus creating these new aesthetics.”

Alongside gaming, the broader the ACG (anime, comics, games) community has developed massively over the past five years or so and has long since been accepted in China, says Hanyu Liu, a project manager at Daxue Consulting. 

“In regards to gamer fashion, trends are mostly being set by streamers,” Liu tells Jing Daily. “While this type of fashion is not necessarily taboo, it is by no means mainstream. However, there are more and more people, especially females in Tier-1 cities, who feel comfortable sporting anime or esports-inspired attire on the streets.” 

Gamer girl with Chinese characteristics 

A version of kawaii, or Japanese cuteness, the gamer girl aesthetic often features cat ear headphones, Japanese school uniforms, and anime or Sanio accessories that create a playful, feminine vibe. Although in China, some girls incorporate streetwear apparel or heavier makeup to give it an edgier spin.

The gamer girl look also takes inspiration from TikTok’s e-girl aesthetic. Photo: Xiaohongshu

“In China, the terms ‘e-girl’ and ‘gamer girl’ are often used interchangeably on social media,” says Sherry He, a cultural and marketing consultant at Cherry Blossoms Intercultural Marketing. “Different from the typical makeup styles popular in society, which focuses on the natural and reserved look, ‘e-girl’ style allows young Chinese to create a unique, unconventional and striking look that reflects their personality and interests.”

But just as important as the outfits and makeup is the home setup; this includes computer monitors, tech gadgets, gaming chairs, headphones, mouse pads, and LED lights. In fact, “esports room” (#电竞房) has triple the views, 230 million, that the “gamer girl” hashtag has on Xiaohongshu. 

Colorful equipment, neon lights, and anime merchandise are characteristics of China’s gamer girl rooms. Photo: Xiaohongshu

Because the aesthetic encompasses more than just clothing, it has paved the way for niche brands to enter the spotlight. Take Yowu, a Chinese electronics brand designed for Gen Z consumers who are strongly influenced by gaming and cyberspace, for instance. 

Yowu has gained a reputation in China for turning tech accessories into fashion statements. Signature products include headphones in the shape of cat ears — marketed “for magical girls” — and earphones that resemble elven ears, retailing at over $100 each on Amazon. Since its launch in 2018, the brand has sold half a million pairs of headphones, mostly to consumers aged between 16 and 25, reports Alizila.

“Yowu is a bit of a special case, as headphones are a combination of fashion and utility,” says Liu. “They’re not something you can wear outdoors, but the unique design is certainly something to show off on social media.” 

Marketing to women in gaming

Thanks to the virality of platforms like Douyin, many trends emerge, take hold, and die out faster than many brands can keep up. That said, “trend signals can also be an indicator of emerging consumer preferences and behaviors, which can help brands stay ahead of the curve, better meet consumers’ needs, and identify opportunities for innovation,” Legentil adds.

For luxury brands that want to reach China’s female gamers, there are many approaches they could take. For starters, fashion houses could collaborate with anime or gaming IP to create whimsical collections that fit the gamer girl aesthetic; think Jimmy Choo’s tie-up with schoolgirl crime fighter Sailor Moon, or Chloé’s partnership with the Sanrio rabbit character My Melody. 

Brands could also take a cue from Yowu by creating accessories that are both functional and style-forward. “Gaming equipment brands like Razer and Logitech can create product lines that cater to this trend, featuring cute and colorful designs for keyboards, mice, and earphones,” He suggests.

Yowu describes itself as part of a new generation of electronics brands taking the lead on cyber fashion. Photo: Yowu

Ultimately, female gamers value high-quality gaming equipment and apparel just as their male counterparts do, meaning that products marketed to them must meet the same standards of functionality, durability and performance. As He cautions, “Don’t compromise on quality in the pursuit of femininity.”

While China’s gamer girl aesthetic refers to a specific TikTok-inspired look, women who game come in all styles. Zeroing in on a specific internet trend can establish relevance in the short term, but focusing on how to better serve these consumers — whether from an aesthetic or functional standpoint — will be how brands unlock the next level.

China outbound tourism McKinsey

Strong Domestic Travel Rebound In China Foreshadows Return Of Global Chinese Tourism

What Happened: China’s reopened borders signify an upcoming rebound in international outbound tourism by Chinese travelers, according to McKinsey’s latest report on China tourism. The management consulting firm predicts a surge in demand for overseas travel, as well as a rise in international spending. Earlier this year, China resumed outbound group tours and cross-border travel with territories including Macau, Hong Kong, as well as with other nations. 

Given the strong rebound in domestic travel — tourist spending has recovered to 70 percent of the pre-pandemic level, and travel volume has reached 90 percent of 2019’s figure — McKinsey anticipates that Chinese tourists will soon be returning to destinations including Southeast Asia, Japan and Australasia. 

The Jing Take: COVID-conscious Chinese travelers are cautiously gearing up to resume tourism to some of their dream destinations, according to a series of surveys on Chinese Tourist Attitudes conducted by McKinsey between April 2020 and November 2022. However, consumers’ interest in traditionally popular destinations like Europe is lower than before the pandemic.

While international travel is a growing priority, many Chinese consumers are still wary of deterrents and factors including a lack of COVID-19 safety measures, stringent testing requirements and barriers to obtaining visas. 

Overall, according to McKinsey, Chinese travelers are seeking novel experiences, and are willing to spend on entertainment, food, shopping, as well as unique accommodations including boutique hotels and one-of-a-kind Airbnb homestays. 

However, overseas brands will see competition from Chinese brands intensify, as consumers increasingly opt for domestic brands. The prestige and status of international brands will wane as the quality of Chinese brands improves. 

According to a separate report by China Daily, Chinese consumers with prior international traveling experience, those between 21 to 45 years of age, as well as those with higher incomes, showed a “strong willingness” to resume overseas travel.

The typical Chinese tourist’s budget for outbound trips has risen by 16 percent from 34,300 RMB ($4,904) in the period spanning January 2019 to March 2020 to 39,800 RMB ($5,690) today. 

“Chinese tourists who have not been traveling abroad for three years can’t wait to venture out again,” Dennis Chang, China division president of Mastercard, is quoted as saying in the China Daily report. 

“Their consumption behavior has changed significantly from the past, and they are eyeing new ways and trends of traveling globally,” he added.

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.


Skateboard Culture, Made In China

The Gucci Cruise 2024 collection presented in the South Korean capital — Seoul on Tuesday, cemented the mainstream arrival of skate culture in East Asia. The 90’s inspired collection showcased an array of surfboards and skateboards donned as accessories alongside baggy skate-style trousers and oversized maxi skirts presented on runway.

In recent years, brands have been taking cues from local communities — as all across the continent, it’s clear that grunge is back, and skate culture is on the rise — a trend that is especially evident in China.

The unmistakable sound of wheels rolling at SMP Guangzhou Skatepark, the world’s largest facility of this type, is an undeniable reminder that skateboarding is no longer limited to a niche community. 

Asia-Pacific is projected to be the fastest-growing region in the skateboard market. The distinctive appeal of skate culture is attracting new fans, according to Renton Millar, former World Cup Vert Champion who has coached regularly in China: “It’s a great sport/art form. It’s fun to do, very challenging and social. It’s a sport, as well as an art. It has its own culture and can be competitive or you can do it for yourself”. 

Skateboarding in China has traditionally been a subculture reserved for those “in the know.” As skateboard culture in the nation goes mainstream, it is winning over new consumer segments, redefining subcultural norms in the process. 

Sporting status and lifestyle allure

One segment attracted to skate culture is consumers who value skateboarding as a performance sport. Skateboarding achieved global sporting status with its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and it is expected to be a high-profile event at Paris 2024. 

Sports brands like Nike have established strong associations with skateboarding that focus on performance. A potential game-changer is the emergence of domestic sportswear brands such as Anta, which have started launching skateboarding lines.

Brand ambassador Wang Yibo promotes Anta’s skateboarding line. Photo: Anta

The pandemic has heightened interest in outdoor activities, encouraging many Chinese individuals to take up skateboarding as a lifestyle activity. Athleisure brands like Lululemon are diversifying their product ranges to cater to the growing popularity of skateboarders who view skateboarding as a fun way to stay fit.

Prestige power: Luxury brand collaborations

Brands rooted in skate culture such as Supreme and Palace continue to enjoy in-group streetwear status, simultaneously expanding the market for Chinese labels. Luxury brand collaborations with skate brands show no signs of slowing down. 

Luxury consumers, although mostly not active skateboarders themselves, seek a luxury lifestyle that embraces exclusivity and individuality. High-profile collaborations like Palace x Gucci and Palace x RIMOWA appeal to a luxury target audience that might otherwise not be exposed to real skate culture. 

As Elisa Harca, Co-Founder & Asia CEO of Red Ant Asia observes, “The movement market continuously reinvents itself, offering brands a unique opportunity to create immersive experiences that go beyond superficial engagement. By tapping into this movement, brands can fully immerse themselves, embrace the culture, and activate connections on multiple levels, resulting in substantial returns on investment.”

Cultural relevance

Skateboarding may have its roots in American culture, but a hybrid cultural identity is emerging in China. This is evident not only at the product level, with Nike collaborating with Chinese skate label Fly to launch SB Dunk Low Fly Streetwear adorned with Chinese calligraphy, but also in brands’ efforts to create stronger emotional connections that celebrate Chinese identity. For example, Vans China skate team showcases local talent in its latest film, G2963.

Skateboarding continues to embody self-expression, but it is shedding its original “edgy” image. In China, skate culture has transformed from a subculture into a sport and fashion status symbol. The popularization of skateboarding in China has made it easier than ever for consumers to physically engage with various aspects of the sport. In Shanghai, the Avenue & Son’s flagship store at Taikoo Li Qiantan is integrated with the brand’s street-structure skate park. 

The Gucci Cruise 2024 collection shown in Seoul. Photo: Gucci

Celebrity influence and future elite skaters

The growing popularity of skate culture in China could soon have the potential to shake up mainstream culture. A significant factor will be the growing appeal of elite skaters. International stars like British-Japanese Sky Brown, who won a bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at just 13 years old, is a brand ambassador for Tag Heuer. She currently stars in Volvo’s “For Life” campaign. Although her media presence in China is limited, her success in Paris 2024 could prominently elevate her global status. 

Sky Brown, 14, is one of the youngest professional skateboarders in the world. Photo: Tag Heuer

And if China can produce a skateboarding equivalent of Eileen Gu, there will be nothing to stop the sport from trending up. As Millar notes, the future of skate culture is set to take off. 

“It is big! It is just developing. There are great skaters in China, they are very disciplined. I think there will be some world beaters coming! The skateparks are very good, and there is an industry as well as a population to sustain it.”

Glyn Atwal is an associate professor at Burgundy School of Business (France). He is co-author of Luxury Brands in China and India (Palgrave Macmillan).

Prada Miu Miu sales hype

How Prada And Miu Miu Became The ‘Hottest’ Brands Of The Year (So Far)

Once considered the youthful, affordable alternative to Prada, Miu Miu has since emerged from the shadows of its big sister and made a name for itself among the who’s who of fashion.

In the first three months of the year, retail sales of the Italian luxury label led by Miuccia Prada surged 42 percent year on year following a successful Fall 2023 fashion show and a star-studded Spring 2023 campaign. Together with the Prada brand, which recorded a 21 percent year-on-year sales increase at constant exchange rates, Miu Miu helped its parent company surpass the 1 billion euro revenue mark. 

These results come as no surprise considering the strong momentum of both brands, even during the pandemic. According to The Lyst Index — a quarterly ranking of fashion’s top brands and products based on searches, product views, sales, and social media engagement — Prada was the “hottest” brand in the world in Q1 2023, followed by Miu Miu.

Here’s a closer look at how Prada and Miu Miu have recalibrated their strategies over recent quarters to become powerhouses of their own accord.

Picking Asian stars that augment visibility and mitigate risk

The two fashion giants have turned to big-name stars, particularly from the Asia Pacific region, to stay in the headlines. Prada was the brand that generated the most media impact value (MIV) during February’s Milan Fashion Week, with half of the top 10 posts featuring South Korea celebrities such as Song Kang and members of K-pop girl group Twice, according to marketing platform Launchmetrics

Success in Milan was further boosted by brand ambassador Cai Xukun, a Chinese singer-songwriter who attracted $3.6 million in earned media value during the week, according to He later went on to dazzle fans at the 2023 Met Gala in a sequinned Prada suit. 

Cai Xukun wears a custom Prada suit to the 2023 Met Gala. Photo: Prada

However, the house has learned not to rely too heavily on these high-profile faces. In 2021, Prada was forced to drop actress Zheng Shuang as a brand ambassador after her surrogacy and child custody battle incited a public backlash. The following year, it cut ties with actor Li Yifeng after he was arrested for patronizing sex workers, which is illegal in China.

Given its bad luck with its celebrity picks — plus Beijing’s ongoing scrutiny of the entertainment industry — Prada has diversified its endorsements by adding more athletes to its roster. Last week, the house appointed Olympic Chinese basketball player Yang Shuyu as its latest face. She became the house’s second sports star ambassador after Chinese table tennis player Ma Long. Prior to this, the brand had worked with Yang and other national athletes on a Douyin campaign that leveraged the wave of national pride that emerged before the Winter Olympics. 

Prada’s latest ambassador, Yang Shuyu, is known for helping China score a bronze medal in the women’s 3×3 basketball tournament in the 2020 Olympics. Photo: Prada

“Two drivers of collaborating with athletes over traditional entertainment celebrities is that they tend to be involved in fewer scandals (though they aren’t scandal free), and their image aligns more with Guochao as they quite literally represent China in their respective sports,” notes Allison Malmsten, marketing director of Daxue Consulting. “A more wholesome character like Yang Shuyu is a safer bet for the Prada brand.”

The Pocket Bag and other products of the moment

Meanwhile, Miu Miu climbed to the second spot on the Lyst Index in Q1 — its highest ranking ever — largely thanks to a lineup of strong products, including its Spring 2023 Pocket Bag and a second collaboration with New Balance.

Over the last few quarters, Miu Miu has established itself as a trendsetter, arguably ignited by its viral mini skirt in 2022. Embodying a provocative early noughties aesthetic, the low-rise, pleated mini skirt quickly sold out after being plastered across global magazines and proliferating on Instagram feeds. The item even boosted demand for mini skirts to a three-year high, according to Lyst. 

Miu Miu was named Lyst’s Brand of the Year in 2022 thanks to its viral mini skirt, ballet flats, and handbags. Photo: Miu Miu

The womenswear label later proved it was no one-trick pony when it launched satin ballet flats on the Fall 2022 runway. Online searches for Miu Miu’s ballet flats surged 1,100 percent in Q3 2022, while searches for the ballerina style skyrocketed by 1,566 percent on Pinterest. The hype made its way over to China too, where the hashtag #balletshoes on Xiaohongshu generated over 88 million views.

“The brand’s ballet flats quickly became its most popular product on Lyst following their release, having been worn by the likes of Sydney Sweeney, Bella Hadid and Rosalía. A simpler, Gen Z-friendly version of its 2016 counterpart, it plays into the balletcore and ‘indie-sleaze’ trends that have been dominating the year,” states the Lyst report, which named Miu Miu the hottest brand of 2022.

Boosting organic engagement through unique experiences

Offline, Prada and Miu Miu were among the first to jump on the opportunity to host events in China when lockdowns were lifted. 

“We were proud to be the first luxury brand to host a physical runway show in China in 2022, repeating our Men’s and Women’s Fall 2022 collection,” noted Prada Group’s executive director Lorenzo Bertelli in a call with investors in March 2023. 

In addition to runway shows, both have developed unique experiences across fashion, art and music spheres to deepen their connection with local consumers. In April 2023, Prada hosted a weekend market at its restored mansion in Shanghai, where guests could purchase seasonal flowers, fruits, and vegetables wrapped in the brand’s green and white wrapping paper. Attracting nearly 3,000 guests, the two-day event garnered 870,000 mentions on Xiaohongshu.

Prada’s weekend market at the Prada Rong Zhai in Shanghai attracted nearly 3,000 guests. Photo: Prada

“After its vegetable market, Prada has brought us a market again, showing us the Italian lifestyle of relaxed luxury,” wrote one Xiaohongshu user. “When you are tired, you can lie down on the grass quietly, listen to music, and start your rare weekend off in a relaxed and joyful way. This is true luxury.”

That same month, Miu Miu landed in the scenic water town of Wuzhen for a dinner party and screening of the 25th film in its Women’s Tales series. This was followed by a panel discussion featuring film director Han Shuai, award-winning actress Ma Sichun, and artist Peng Wei on the role of the female narrative in contemporary Chinese films. 

“It’s great to see events gradually returning to China,” said attendee Jeff Lee, a Shanghai-based stylist, in a previous interview with Jing Daily. “Since the pandemic, we haven’t really been going to the cinema – watching the film at night sitting outside in the spring weather was a very meaningful experience for many.”

This combined strategy of high-profile endorsements, viral products and diverse events ultimately helped the Prada Group achieve its best year in business last year — and this was during a period impacted by multiple lockdowns in China. That said, Prada Group isn’t alone in its robust performance, with competitors like LVMH and Hermès similarly boasting a record year and even higher revenues.

While Prada and Miu Miu can claim the title of “hottest” brands in the world for now, what goes up must eventually come down. With Chinese consumers not particularly loyal to individual brands, as Nielsen reports, just how long the two can defend their positions and stay at the center of culture will be the challenge of the year.

fendi x heytea

Fendi x Heytea, LePop’s Hot IP, And Li-Ning x Disney: China Collabs Of The Week

Since its founding in 2012, China’s bubble tea boss Heytea has not only soared in popularity as a purveyor of refreshments, it’s garnered some valuable street cred among Gen Z consumers. The main way it’s achieved this feat? Collaboration.

And this week has seen the launch of the drink chain’s hottest tie-up yet: Italian luxury house Fendi has followed Tesla, joining forces with the beverage brand for its latest local release.

For our verdict on that, along with the inside track on Li-Ning’s Disney disappointment and LePop’s sportswear collaboration, check out the below. 

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Fendi x Heytea


Netizens have already started posting about Fendi x Heytea. Photo: Weibo

Date: May 17

Verdict: On Weibo, Heytea has changed its icon to a yellow-and-black Fendi collaborative logo, a precursor of their collaboration, which launches tomorrow. It’s not the first time the leading tea brand has entered the realm of luxury, having also worked with Hiroshi Fujiwara (2022) and Tesla (2023), as well as beauty brands like LVMH-owned Fenty Beauty (2020) and L’Oreal (2018). 

Official details are yet to be revealed, but across Xiaohongshu, consumers have posted previews of coasters, reusable cups, and badges. So far on the platform, the hashtag has attracted 1.1 million views.

Heytea holds esteemed popularity among Gen Z consumers in the mainland. It even boasts 414,700 followers on Xiaohongshu, a platform whose mainstay is posts of outfit inspiration. There, the collaboration’s teaser photo has received 1,856 likes, which compares well to the 100 to 1,000 likes that the average post garners.

WOW!Dragon x New Balance

new balance lepop

Sportswear brand New Balance has joined Lepop IP WOW!Dragon on a collection. Photo: WOW!Dragon x New Balance

Date: May 16

Verdict: One of LePop Group’s original trend intellectual properties (IP), WOW!Dragon has produced a hat and footwear collection in partnership with sports apparel brand New Balance. The cartoon dragon’s launch was already anticipated due to it already having been promoted as part of last month’s 2023 Beijing International Collectible Toys and Art Creative Exhibition.

A unique choice for a household name like New Balance, this partnership demonstrates the trend of foreign sportswear brands connecting with niche audiences by tapping narrow and unusual interests. That said, the art toy market in China is booming, trend IP figurines gaining growing interest. LePop’s leading Marsper IP collaborated with Gucci back in 2021, which went viral, so it’s not surprising that others are keen to follow the same strategy.

Marsper has 286,000 Weibo fans, dwarfing WOW!Dragon’s 786. Yet, it seems LePop is set on enhancing engagement through collabs – already this year, it’s worked with both Vans and artist Lucas Beaufort.

Disney x Li-Ning 

Chinese actress and singer Li Yitong in Li-Ning x Disney

Chinese actress and singer Li Yitong in Li-Ning x Disney. Photo: Li-Ning Weibo

Date: May 13

Verdict: The new Mickey Mouse collection from Disney and Li-Ning has gained traction on Weibo mainly as it features actress Zhong Chuxi, whose community of fans on the platform is 7.97 million strong, and singer and actress Li Yitong, who currently has 16.437 million. However, the tie-up’s posts have received around just 3,700 likes on average — it’s far from a blockbuster launch.

This low level of engagement is likely down to the fact that Disney and Li-Ning frequently bring out new products, like the Way of Wade sneakers featuring the Toy Story IP, and the Kermit the Frog sneakers.

This one is something of a flop for Li-Ning in terms of social media engagement: the collaboration’s official hashtag has zero organic posts on Weibo, and on Gen Z-loved Xiaohongshu, its hashtag has only 120,900 views. 

Perhaps, the lack of noise around this collection is down to Li-Ning’s following being more focused on stylish, high-tech sports and streetwear, rather than playful, cute IP. 

H&M Finds Redemption In China With Runaway Success Of Collaboration With Mugler

What Happened:To the surprise of Swedish fast fashion giant H&M, its collaboration with French independent designer brand Mugler was a runaway success in China – the clothing retailer greatly underestimated the capsule’s popularity in the country. 

Featuring form-flattering catsuits with oversized shoulders, leather outerwear and spiral multi-seaming baggy jeans, H&M made the sensual collection available in only two of its offline stores in the mainland market, at Beijing’s Chaoyang Joy City and Shanghai’s Century Link malls, and via its website and WeChat mini program.

H&M x Mugler collaboration featured form-flattering catsuits, oversized shoulders leather outerwear, and spiral multi-seaming baggy jeans. Image: H&M

Some shoppers waited in line overnight outside the stores for the chance to buy the collaboration. H&M’s Shanghai Century Link store was forced to shut temporarily as eager shoppers clashed with each other. Meanwhile, H&M’s official Chinese website crashed shortly after the release of the collection on May 11 at 10am due to a surge of visitors attempting to purchase the limited supply items. 

Social media platforms Xiaohongshu and Weibo were flooded with screenshots of the crashed H&M website posted by netizens. All the collection’s products had sold out online by 5pm on May 12. On Weibo, the hashtag #HM mugler attracted over 600,000 views, with users keen to find out who had succeeded in bagging an item from the coveted collection.

Clothing from the collaboration quickly appeared on used goods platform Xianyu, with some vendors charging a high premium.

Some homegrown shoppers waited in line overnight outside the offline sales points in the country to get the chance to buy H&M x Mugler capsule collection. Image: Xiaohongshu Screenshot

The Jing Take:

A similar scenario occurred when H&M collaborated with Irish designer Simone Rocha in March 2021. Fans could not purchase the collection’s girlish tulle dress and pearly-embellished accessories for a period of two hours as H&M’s China website, app, and WeChat mini program simultaneously crashed. 

Rocha and Mugler’s popularity clearly indicates young Chinese consumers’ rising appreciation of and appetite for independent designer brands. According to a Chinese market research agency, the size of China’s independent designer fashion market was $8.1 billion in 2020 — an almost five-fold increase from $1.7 billion in 2011 – and it is expected to expand to $12.1 billion by 2025.

Simone Rocha x H&M collection launched on March 11. Image: H&M

H&M’s latest collaboration is a boon for niche labels. The multinational retailer serves as an excellent springboard for these niche independent designers to test the market and rapidly build mainstream awareness. However, this approach is not without risks. Once made affordable through H&M, consumers may not be willing to pay collaborating designer brands’ usual price tag. One way to mitigate this is to offer consumers a taste of the designer’s pieces via simplified designs.

H&M is winning big from this partnership. Since it was the subject of a public backlash in March 2021 surrounding cotton produced in Xinjiang, the fast fashion giant has faced a challenging time in China. The consumer boycott led to a sales decline, and prompted the shuttering of stores. But the hugely popular collaboration with Mugler indicates a turnaround is under way.

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.

Ada Who? Inside China’s First Virtual Human Legal Dispute

What Happened: A court in China’s Zhejiang province recently ruled on the country’s first legal dispute regarding virtual humans.

The case involved virtual human Ada, a hyperrealistic 3D influencer created by Shanghai-based Xmov Technology in 2019. Using human actors and artificial intelligence (AI) motion capture to influence her movements, the metahuman debuted at the Qingdao Journalist Festival in November 2019. Three years after Ada’s unveiling, an unnamed Hangzhou-based technology company was accused of including footage of Ada in a video posted to its Douyin account without crediting Xmov as the creator.

Subsequently, Xmov filed legal proceedings against the company for false publicity and infringement. The Hangzhou Internet Court ruled in favor of Xmov, with the undisclosed defendant ordered to pay $72,337 (500,000 RMB) in damages. 

Xmov Technology’s virtual human Ada uses human actors and artificial intelligence motion capture to influence her movements. Photo: Xmov Technology

The Jing Take: China does not have specific laws or regulations relating to virtual humans and their intellectual property, which means there are lots of gray areas. As the mainland’s metahuman market continues to take off – iMedia research forecasts it will expand from $960 million (6.67 billion RMB) in 2021 to $38.5 billion (270 billion RMB) in 2030 – the history-making case brings to light the risk of false publicity and infringement that the digital influencer industry faces.

China’s virtual human market is the world’s largest. Recognizing the industry’s lucrative potential to elevate the commerce sector through brand partnerships, live streams, and direct-to-consumer experiences, multiple tech and retail giants, including the likes of Alibaba and Baidu, have invested a huge amount of resources into the space. 

There’s a lot to play for, and this trial highlights the pressing need to establish relevant legislation, and sets a precedent for future cases relating to AI-generated content and human avatars. It’s also likely to sway more companies to amp up their efforts when it comes to protecting their virtual humans’ IP. 

The copycatting of IP is nothing new in the metaverse. Only earlier this year did a court in New York find Mason Rothschild guilty of IP infringement for producing and selling 100 MetaBirkin non-fungible tokens depicting the iconic Hermès handbag. 

The Rothschild case could prompt more brands to bolster the security of their trademarked assets to protect them from being exploited. 

On the one hand, these two cases show that existing laws are to some extent applicable in the virtual realm. On the other hand, without clearer laws governing activity in the Chinaverse, industry participants lack clarity around the extent to which their IP is protected. A lack of legal clarity could also encourage bad actors to target Chinaverse IP. 

Since the Zhejiang case, calls for tighter measures in China have emerged. 

Following the Xmov ruling, the State Council issued a plan to further develop IP laws, while China’s Cyberspace Administration has advocated for better regulation of AI technologies.

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 Mass Market To High-End, Switzerland Courts Wealthier Chinese Tourists Post-COVID

Switzerland Tourism is eyeing a different type of Chinese visitor from pre-COVID times, one with a focus on high-quality tourism and sustainability, according to Simon Bosshart, chief markets officer East for Switzerland Tourism.

While China was a mass market for Switzerland before the pandemic, with large groups traveling to various destinations in Europe, Bosshart sees high-end tourism, smaller groups, themed travel, and sustainable travel recovering faster in the post-pandemic world. 

According to Switzerland Tourism, Chinese tourists were the ones who spent the most before the pandemic, shelling out on average 380 Swiss francs ($420) per person per day. In 2019, Chinese guests made 1.8 million overnight stays in Switzerland, making them the fourth-largest market for the country. 

While the past three years have seen volumes drop by up to 98 percent, Bosshart says he believes China will become an important market once again. 

“There is a clear sign of recovery, as visa demand is back to 30 percent of 2019. Despite the current small size of the market, the potential is big as China is a huge market with ambitious people looking for authentic experiences, pure nature, and relaxing environments, which Switzerland can offer,” he says.

Younger, more aspirational: The changing profiles and priorities of Chinese tourists 

Experts in the travel industry echo the view, saying the Chinese outbound travel market is evolving towards more diversified and sustainable tourism experiences. 

Gary Bowerman, Asia travel and consumer trends analyst and director of the consultancy Check-in Asia, says younger and more aspirational Chinese tourists are increasingly comfortable creating their own itineraries while also being more eco-aware and keen on low-impact experiences.

Before the pandemic, Chinese tourists traveled in large groups to Switzerland. Photo: Switzerland Tourism / Oliver Baer

“There is a tendency to view the pandemic as a major inflection point that will herald a new era of travel,” Bowerman says. “To some degree that is true, because Chinese travelers had three years to rethink what traveling means to them and how they want to spend their vacation time in future. At the same time, young and aspirational Chinese tourists were already thinking like this in 2019, so we may see an acceleration of an emerging trend rather than the start of a whole new era.” 

Bowerman highlights boutique experiences and semi-customized travel will be important for European destinations as Chinese tourists will want the freedom to choose their destinations, modes of transportation, and hotels.

Oliver Sedlinger, CEO of Sedlinger & Associates, a tourism consultancy that specializes in the Greater China outbound travel market, says, “Seen from inside the market, it is obvious that an evolution is taking place and that demand for high-quality products and richer travel experiences is growing, be that for destinations, accommodations or activities.”

Chinese tourists represent an untapped market for Europe

Sedlinger also points out that only a small portion of Chinese citizens have traveled abroad yet, and there is still “a gigantic untapped potential” for future growth. 

“This will, of course, also include first-time visitors, who may wish to maximise their limited time and budget, and get a taste of many different European destinations, which is only natural and understandable,” Sedlinger says.

“However, from experience we also know that repeat visitors on their second trip to Europe already look for slower, longer and deeper experiences,” he explains. “Additionally, already today, there is a large number of very experienced Chinese travelers who look for something more specific and special, more experiential and authentic — something off the beaten track. There is clearly a strong and increasing demand for quality travel products.”

Sustainable, low-impact experiences on the rise

Bosshart, of Switzerland Tourism, emphasizes that sustainable travel is also a major focus for Switzerland’s tourism board. With European governments promoting sustainable travel and requiring tourism boards to promote it as well, Switzerland is putting a lot of effort into this area. 

While the wholesale business may be challenged, individual travel, especially “deep traveling,” is what people want, especially as the younger generation is concerned about sustainability, he adds.

Bowerman says: “Sustainable travel isn’t only about the tourists themselves. It is about how destinations design and promote a range of low-impact experiences that actively support environmental protection and reduce negative community impact.” 

With one of the most closely-knit rail networks in the world and impressive air and water quality, Switzerland leads the way towards a sustainable future. Photo: Switzerland Tourism

Optimism for China’s outbound tourism recovery  

Before the pandemic, China was the world’s largest outbound tourism market, with 166 million overseas trips being made and $255 billion being spent abroad by Chinese travelers, according to the World Tourism Organization.

Travel experts are confident that China will become a key market for international tourism again once many bottlenecks, especially on the supply side, are solved.

Sedlinger notes the Chinese travel industry is now showing energy and optimism after a three-year long hibernation. “I feel it is on a good track and will recover as quickly as supply allows,” he says. “China is a very dynamic and flexible market, and one of its strengths is that it can adapt quickly. The pandemic has caused a sudden interruption, but I see no reason why China should not become a major source market again very soon.”

“I think 2023 will be a recovery year for Chinese outbound tourism,” Bowerman adds. “In 2024, we could see an increase in the number of Chinese tourists visiting Europe, but changing patterns of travel mean they may spread their time across more destinations than before.”

brand story

The Art of Brand Storytelling: Greatness Versus Mediocrity

I have dedicated several columns recently on the critical importance of brand storytelling for luxury brands. The reason is that in most of the brand audit workshops I lead, when we look at the competitive landscape, there is a recurring theme: Most brands in a category are fundamentally telling the same story. You find this pattern in fashion, automotive, hospitality, fine watches, etc. The list goes on and on.

So, the question is, what makes a great brand story that creates desirability? In other words, what is the art of brand storytelling? How can brands achieve greatness and how can they avoid mediocrity?

A great brand story has the power to captivate consumers, ignite a strong emotional reaction, and foster loyalty and advocacy. Importantly, it’s not about an advertising campaign, it is about the core value of a brand. The one thing that a brand — independent of the category — wants to be remembered for. 

Once this is defined, an incredible energy typically unfolds in an organization because suddenly the direction becomes clear. And a brand story drives behavior. Marketing is about values, and when values are ambiguous or like everyone else’s in the competitive field, then there is almost no chance for a company to truly differentiate and to create an emotional response of clients that is specific to the brand.

The diagnosis for most brands: overreliance on product and creativity while missing the core foundation. The result? Insufficient client connection and underperformance in revenue and profits. On top of that, advertising costs skyrocket because lack of a script means inconsistent and often irrelevant content that is a recipe for disaster in this algorithm-driven social media world.

To understand the anatomy of a great brand story, it’s essential to recognize the core elements that make it impactful. A powerful brand story must be authentic, relatable, and emotionally engaging. It should evoke a sense of purpose and demonstrate how the brand’s values align with those of its target audience. Ultimately, an effective brand story acts as a bridge between the company and its consumers, fostering a lasting emotional connection.

This means that the brand story should never be internally focused, like “we produce the best cars at highest quality with best materials.” Or “our designer creates avant-garde pieces that combine best tailoring with unparalleled fabrics.” Or “our airline has the best seats and amenities.”

All these statements, even if they were factually correct, don’t tell clients anything about the ethos of a brand. It does not allow for differentiation, because — guess what — all companies in the competitive field will say something similar. From a client perspective this means ambiguity. Stories like these don’t give people a “why.”

Importantly, inward focused stories always feel arrogant. In today’s digital age with hyper-demanding clients, people decide for themselves what is the best quality. When a brand says this about itself, it’s almost like the boring person wants to convince someone else that they are cool by saying “I am cool.” Telling a story from a client perspective means to gain clarity about the role of the brand in the life of a client.

Nike is one of the best examples of great storytelling. Fundamentally, Nike sells commodities, shoes and apparel. But when you think about Nike, it feels much bigger. There is an emotional response. Because it celebrates its audience: “Everybody is an athlete.” This is a story about the audience, not about what the brand does. This is the rational part of the brand story.

In spring 2023, Nike brought together a collective of powerful women to celebrate boundless expression. Photo: Nike

Nike’s iconic slogan, “Just do it,” encapsulates its commitment to empowering athletes — hence everybody — and helping them overcome challenges. The brand’s storytelling revolves around real people facing genuine obstacles, making it both authentic and relatable. By consistently showcasing stories of personal triumph and perseverance, Nike effectively communicates its values and builds a strong emotional connection with its audience.

So, what is your brand story? What do you really sell? Which emotion do you want to evoke? If the narrative is not obvious, then you need to get to work.

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

Coach’s AR Mirrors, Adidas x Monkey Kingdom & More: Web3 Drops Of The Week

With artificial intelligence (AI) showing no signs of retreating from headlines anytime soon, Web3 advancements like augmented reality (AR) are at risk of being overshadowed. But AR platform Zero10 is investing in keeping the technology’s name on the radar. The startup has taken its partnership with luxury label and growing Gen-Z favorite Coach to the next level, and is utilizing the power of AR to drive traffic back into the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores. It’s a clever approach: deploying innovations that we’ve been told will drive us away from reality, as a means of pulling us back to it.

In other news, Adidas is extending its Web3 success to Asia, following a successful run in the West. The sportswear label has cultivated a knockout community in the metaverse thus far. Can it achieve the same level of triumph with netizens in the East?

Coach is deepening its relationship with AR tech platform Zero10. Photo: Zero10

Coach Taps AR-Platform Zero10 To Launch Interactive Try-On Mirror Display

What Happened: Deepening its relationship with AR tech platform Zero10, Coach has released a new AR try-on installation to catch the attention of passing shoppers. The mirror feature in New York’s SoHo district allows potential customers to sample the brand’s Tabby bag — a hero product — in virtual form. But it’s the creativity aspect that will draw customers in.

In addition to the bag, passersby will be able to virtually try on elements such as a pair of wings and glittery balloon bubble letters. The launch is a first-of-its-kind for Zero10 and extends into the interior of the store, where customers can share their experience wearing the AR bag via socials using the hashtag #InMyTabby.

The Verdict: Coach joined forces with AR tech platform Zero10 earlier this year, after launching a pop-up experience during Metaverse Fashion Week. The project resonated well with consumers and paved the way for a possible long-term relationship between the two brands. Now, this latest development is bringing the collaboration to the forefront of Web3 and the offline fashion crowd.

Earlier this week, Zero10’s official Twitter account posted a video of onlookers queuing to try out the installation, spotlighting how this new wave of tech-driven guerrilla marketing is captivating consumers. It’s a nice change from the NFT and metaverse-centric activations we’ve seen over the past year, and demonstrates new potential to draw audiences into the metaverse in a seamless, and arguably more palatable, way.

NFT collective Boss Beauties taps the trending Barbie brand for its latest collectibles drop. Photo: Boss Beauties

Boss Beauties Team Up With Barbie On a Virtual Collectibles Drop

What Happened: Web3 brand Boss Beauties dropped virtual collectibles in collaboration with Mintel’s iconic Barbie on May 10. Priced at $25, the assets celebrate the 250 careers featured in the Barbie line. Intended to remind collectors that “they can be anything” and to encourage more women to join the metaverse, the collectibles also provide access to perks including career conventions, Barbie events and gift sets. The two companies jointly donated $250,000 to the Barbie Dream Gap project and Boss Beauties Foundation.

The Verdict: Coming just in time for the release of director Greta Gerwig’s widely anticipated Barbie movie, set to hit cinema’s in July, the drop is destined for success with hype around the toy brand hitting an all time high. Barbiecore continues to trend across the globe, and its influence is now permeating the metaverse.

As for the Boss Beauties cohort, joining forces with the Barbie brand makes perfect sense. The collective prides itself on empowering women to enter the metaverse and is elevating the next generation to be whatever they want to be through impactful programs and consumer products. With Barbie’s core mission statement also championing girls to reach their full potential, it’s an undeniable match made in heaven.

Adidas’ latest tie-up with Asia-based NFT project Monkey Kingdom is yet to make noise across the continent’s socials. Photo: Adidas

Adidas x Monkey Kingdom Tie-Up Receives Minimal Noise Across Mainland China, But Holds Out Hope For Taiwan And Hong Kong

What Happened: Monkey Kingdom, an Asia-based NFT project founded in 2021 and minted on the Solana blockchain, has collaborated with Adidas Originals for the sportswear brand’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection, titled “Not-So-Serious Auction House.” The physical garment collection takes inspiration from hip-hop and 1970s culture, references Monkey Kingdom’s stylistic pixelated art, and reimagines the brand’s classic three-leaf clover logo.

Comprising jackets, polo shirts, dresses, and footwear (including Adidas Originals’ classic Superstar model), the drop went live across mainland China on April 27, and has since generated media attention from major publications like Tatler Asia. The drop will also be made available across Hong Kong and Taiwan starting late May.

The Verdict: The partnership not only allows Monkey Kingdom to expand its presence in the physical fashion world, but it also gives Adidas the opportunity to deepen its connection with Web3 enthusiasts in Greater China, following its virtual success across the West.

However, up until now, the collaboration has failed to take off with Chinese netizens, generating few likes and comment on Weibo. But with the tie-up set to drop in Taiwan and Hong Kong later this month, there’s hope for a bigger reaction from local streetwear and NFT enthusiasts of both regions.

Documents fragrance bookstore

Chinese Fragrance Label Documents Opens Scented Bookstore In Shanghai


Shanghai’s Yuyuan Road welcomes the grand opening of Documents Yuyuan Study — a first-of-its-kind bookstore by the local fragrance brand, offering a unique blend of books and fragrances. Themed around trees, the label curates an initial collection of nearly 200 books related to this topic, each accompanied by insightful introductions for readers.

Documents Yuyuan Study seeks to establish itself as more than just a bookstore. It aims to become a vibrant cultural hub, hosting a variety of events and activities that foster community engagement among those with a shared passion for literature, art, and cultural exploration.

Netizens’ Reaction

The brand’s followers shared positive comments about the innovative initiative. The opening announcement on Documents’ official WeChat account received nearly 9,000 reads and organic comments from users. Residents of other cities like Guangzhou also expressed hope to see the bookstore expand across the country.


The opening of Documents Yuyuan Study marks a significant milestone in Shanghai’s cultural landscape. By combining the allure of books with the sensory delights of fragrances, this innovative concept will captivate the city’s residents and visitors alike. Though Documents is not the first brand to tap literature and books in marketing and communication, it is the first to launch a permanent bookstore.

Documents curates an initial collection of nearly 200 books related to the topic of trees. Photo: Documents

Luxury brands have long been employing similar strategies to strengthen their emotional connection with consumers. In 2021, Valentino‘s limited-time bookstore on Shanghai’s Anfu Road attracted a considerable number of visitors. In March 2023, Aesop celebrated International Women’s Day by unveiling its inaugural Women’s Library at its signature store on Dongping Road, Shanghai, attracting a large crowd that queued outside for free books. The following month, Louis Vuitton hosted a pop-up bookstore event at its restaurant The Hall in Chengdu, offering a selection of books related to the brand’s travel culture.

With the proliferation of printing and publishing and the development of new media, literature has become an accessible cultural commodity. As a medium, books have the ability to convey brand values while quickly capturing the attention of target audiences. However, in the digital era, operating a permanent brand bookstore is no easy task. Clearly, Documents is not trying to drive fragrance sales through this endeavor, but rather create a cultural destination that provides unique experiences and fosters a sense of community.

China luxury spending tourism

62% Of Chinese Luxury Shoppers Are Buying At Home Vs. In European Capitals

The three-year-long pandemic saw Chinese nationals repatriating their luxury consumption, and now it seems there is no going back.

Even with international borders reopened, local shoppers are choosing to splurge at home. According to sales compiled by alternative data provider Sandalwood Advisors, 62 percent of luxury spending by Chinese consumers in April took place within the country, far surpassing the 41 percent recorded in the same period in 2019.

This trend is exemplified by the sales performance of domestic high-end retailers. In the first quarter of 2023, Taikoo Li Qiantan in Shanghai, a commercial complex opened in 2021, posted an impressive 107.3 percent year-on-year increase in retail sales and an occupancy rate of 94 percent. Meanwhile, Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li mall in Chengdu posted sales exceeding $1.15 billion (8 billion RMB) in the fiscal year 2022.

The renowned architectural design firm “Roarc Renew” has designed an exclusive hall for Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu’s 8th anniversary celebration. Photo: Sino-Ocean Taikoo Li Chengdu

Jonathan Siboni, founder and CEO of Paris-based data intelligence firm Luxurynsight, believes Chinese consumers are rethinking their lifestyles post-pandemic. “They no longer want to spend three hours queuing outside a store in Paris in the rain, but rather connect with a local sales associate who knows them and can advise them better.” 

An increasing number of luxury stores and marketing activations in the country, as well as global price adjustments, have also dampened Chinese consumers’ enthusiasm for shopping abroad. In a report by global real estate services provider Savills, China accounted for 55 percent of all new luxury stores openings in 2021 and 41 percent of openings in 2022.

Given this, Hermès managing director Guillaume de Seynes shared that the business’ top priority is boosting its brand presence in China. The company plans to open a boutique in a new Chinese city every year, though it hasn’t set a timeframe for the expansion. Last year, the French luxury house opened three stores in China — in Zhengzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai — and refurbished many of its existing landmark boutiques.

Hermès VICs lower-tier cities China luxury

Opportunities for Chinese consumers to shop abroad are still limited, prompting luxury brands to invest more in tapping VICs in lower-tier cities. Photo: Hermès

Another key factor that is persuading local buyers to consume at home is service. Consulting firm Oliver Wyman revealed that 70 percent of Chinese luxury purchases are assisted by salespeople. Luxury may further retain homegrown shoppers by providing a sophisticated shopping experience.

Big names have already sniffed out this opportunity and upgraded their retail presence in the mainland. Hermès, Sisley, and Louis Vuitton have all invested in three or four-story experiential flagship stores to immerse local consumers in their brand universe. Chanel and Dior have launched VIP-only boutiques in China’s prestigious shopping malls, while other brands have moved their regional headquarters from Hong Kong to Shanghai.


Sisley has invested in three or four-story experiential flagship stores to immerse local consumers in their brand universe. Image: Sisley

Louis Vuitton is also eyeing lower-tier cities. In 2021, the French maison revealed its plan to open a brick-and-mortar in each of China’s regions by 2025. As Laura Pan, professor of International Business at SDA Bocconi School of Management, told Jing Daily in a previous interview, “It is difficult to imagine luxury brands making their clients travel a few hours to their closest top-tier city to enjoy personalized experiences.” 

As Chinese luxury consumers become increasingly sophisticated, they expect more than just a transactional shopping journey. They wish to be valued by brands for their deep-pocket spending. Thus, brands must move closer to their desired targets to better serve them. Xiaohongshu has many trending posts by KOLs about their VVIC retail experiences, which include birthday surprises in private rooms and in-store trunk shows. 

In 2023, consumer confidence is set to improve and luxury retail sales should resume steadily. In fact, China’s economic confidence index is at its highest level in a decade, according to a 2023 Hurun survey of Chinese luxury consumers. 

As luxury brands continue to roll out new stores, enrich their offerings, and create localized strategies, a large proportion of Chinese consumption is expected to remain in China, even as international travel resumes.


Seoul Destination luxury shows

How The Destination Fashion Show Became Luxury’s Tool For Cultural Diplomacy

Within the span of roughly two weeks, two of Europe’s most exalted fashion houses will have landed in Seoul for high-profile runway shows.

LVMH powerhouse Louis Vuitton partnered with the Korea Tourism Organization and Squid Game director Hwang Dong-hyuk to showcase its Pre-Fall 2023 womenswear collection in the South Korean capital on April 29. And on May 16, rival luxury brand Gucci will present its Cruise 2024 collection at the city’s Gyeongbokgung Palace, kicking off a partnership with the historical edifice’s conservation body.

Today’s destination fashion shows — be it the Seoul presentations, Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 show in India, the upcoming Cruise 2024 show in Mexico City, Chanel’s Métiers d’Art 2023 outing in Senegal, or the Cruise 2024 presentation in Los Angeles — are about far more than showing clothes against a colorful backdrop.

They are an opportunity for luxury brands to use runway shows for cultural diplomacy, whether that’s by deepening ties with local markets or investing in regions outside typical luxury fashion locations — if they can do so in a passably authentic and respectful way, that is.

The ‘glocalization’ of luxury

Staging fashion shows in far-flung locales is a longstanding tactic for luxury brands that possess the requisite cash and clout. The late Karl Lagerfeld was especially prolific in that regard, staging Fendi’s Spring/Summer 2008 collection at the Great Wall of China, Chanel’s Cruise 2017 show in Havana, Cuba, and even taking a Chanel runway to Seoul back in 2015.

“Luxury nowadays is a global market,” says Mario Ortelli, managing partner of Ortelli&Co, a strategy and M&A advisory company that focuses on the luxury sector.

The choice of where to stage a show outside the big fashion week cities of Paris, Milan, New York and London is as much about finding a stunning backdrop as it is about connecting with international customers. In that regard, Seoul fits the bill.


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A post shared by Louis Vuitton (@louisvuitton)

“South Korea is a global cultural powerhouse,” says Kyuhee Baik, a Seoul-based member of Supreme’s global brand team who is helping lead the label’s expansion in Asia.

That translates both into soft power, like the popularity of K-pop sensations such as Blackpink or BTS, and financial clout, like South Korean cosmetic giant Amorepacific’s acquisition of Vermont-founded natural beauty brand Tata Harper last fall.

“As Korean culture becomes commonplace across households worldwide, it only makes sense for Western brands to engage,” Baik added.

Risky business

But brands also need to be careful not to parachute into a locale with which they have no connection.

“This is all about my vision of Cuba. But of course, what do I know about Cuba? It is very childish, my idea,” Lagerfeld told The Cut with his trademark bluntness at his 2016 Cuba Chanel show. Today’s brands and creative directors need to show not only sensitivity but authentic connections to their host destinations.

Destination fashion shows luxury

Karl Lagerfeld presented his Cruise 2016/17 collection for Chanel in Havana, Cuba. Photo: Chanel

Two risks are offending, or being out of tune with local sensitivities. “So you have to be very careful,” says Ortelli. “If you do it wrong, it can be seen as cultural appropriation.”

It’s not just traditional luxury brands weighing the value of presenting in foreign destinations. In February this year, Canadian outdoors brand Arc’Teryx staged a presentation in China’s Yunnan Province, which sits at the border of Tibet. The event was largely unpromoted in Western media, however, perhaps to avoid a potential blowback to images showing a Western mountaineering brand utilizing traditional Tibetan culture to sell its products.

Perhaps the most high-profile example of cultural offense in recent years was the scandal surrounding Dolce & Gabbana’s 2018 Shanghai show, which was canceled after a disastrously received ad campaign.

Brands have learned their lesson; Dior’s recent womenswear show in Mumbai, India, highlighted the maison’s partnerships with local artisans, while Chanel’s runway show in Dakar, Senegal in December last year came on the heels of the city’s own fashion week and kicked off an initiative by Chanel to invest in local embroiderers and craftspeople.

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Pre-Fall show for Christian Dior in March 2023 highlighted the craftsmanship of Indian artisans. Photo: Dior

Meanwhile, Dior’s cruise show in Mexico City on May 20 promises to “highlight the artistry and some of the emblematic figures of this country that has been dear to Dior’s heart since the beginning of the House in 1947,” the press release reads.

The benefits of the runway must, in other words, be a two-way street. “Ideally, the brand and host city should benefit from a continuing exchange of culture and commerce,” says Baik.

Seoul designers could benefit from an outside boost, she notes, given that Seoul Fashion Week is a fairly conservative, government-funded affair that doesn’t attract the influential buyers who frequent the European fashion capitals.

“These shows [like Louis Vuitton and Gucci] provide opportunities for local brands and designers to network with the international community and essentially open more means for exchanges,” says Baik. However, the spectacle of such shows also risks positioning emerging luxury markets like Seoul as an exotic “other.”

Intercultural sensitivity

“The rhetoric of ‘luxury’ as we know it today is a Western construct,” says Baik. “Staging these shows outside of their normal capitals is a novelty — almost (at its worst) like a nicely gift-wrapped ‘now you’re good enough.’”

In addition to cultural sensitivities, Ortelli emphasizes that brands must be aware of the carbon footprint they leave behind when they jet editors and personalities around the globe for a single evening.

French label Jacquemus faced criticism for hosting its Fall/Winter 2022 in Hawaii, when the state had been reeling from COVID-19 surges and some residents had urged tourists not to visit. The brand maintained that it had focused on inviting local VIPs and closely followed safety protocols.

Western brands don’t always need to go intercontinental for an “exotic” backdrop. Even before COVID-19 made international travel prohibitive, Jacquemus went to Provence to stage a memorable Spring/Summer 2020 show against the backdrop of rolling hills of lavender.

Jacquemus’ Spring 2022 show in Hawaii was the designer’s first show staged outside of France. Photo: Jacquemus

The increasingly frequent spectacle of destination shows is also an acknowledgement that runways are no longer simply industry events where editors and buyers convene to see next season’s wares. They are a marketing opportunity to create high-profile images intended to spread across social media and make waves for years to come.

However, that also requires brands to go bigger and bolder each year: Dior stepped up to this challenge with its men’s Pre-Fall collection 2023 shown in Egypt against the backdrop of Giza’s Great Pyramid. The show was perhaps more a nod to the stylings of Dune than anything connected to Egyptian heritage.

Wherever the location and whatever the initiative behind a fashion show, the spectacle needs to be worth the trouble. “The bar has got a lot higher,” says Ortelli.

Tesla EV china

Tesla Revs Up China Expansion As EV Rivals BYD, Geely Race Ahead

What Happened: According to the Chinese Passenger Car Association, Tesla’s Shanghai Gigafactory delivered 75,842 vehicles in China in April, outpacing Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. Tesla’s Model Y was the bestseller with 49,059 units sold, followed by the Model 3 with 26,783 units sold.

Earlier this month, the Elon Musk-founded electric vehicle (EV) giant raised the prices of several of its models in China. It hiked the prices of its top two models — the Model Y and Model 3 — by $290 (2,000 RMB), and the Model S and Model X’s prices by $2,751 (19,000 RMB). 

The move follows six rounds of price cuts from January to April this year, which prompted more than 40 local and global car brands to slash their own prices to stay competitive.

The Jing Take: The number of Tesla vehicles sold in China in April was down 14.7 percent from March, but this was still a huge improvement on April 2022, when the company delivered a meager 1,512 China-made Model 3 and Model Y cars. Nevertheless, Tesla’s Q1 net income fell 24 percent year on year to $2.51 billion due to the underutilization of new factories, higher costs, and lower revenue from environmental credits.

Moreover, when compared to EV sellers, Tesla has fallen behind local players. In April alone, BYD delivered 104,364 all-battery electric vehicles (BEV), mostly in mainland China. In terms of total global car deliveries, Tesla sold a record 422,875 vehicles in the first quarter while BYD sold 552,076 units, including BEVs and plug-in hybrid cars (PHEV). In March this year, BYD stopped producing combustion engine vehicles. 

Tesla has a tough road ahead in China. Besides BYD, China has no shortage of companies and startups that hope to dominate the world’s largest EV market. They include Wuling, Chery, Guangzhou Automobile Group, Nio, Xpeng, and Geely. Moreover, these players have started to encroach into the premium and luxury segment and have announced plans to take these models to global consumers. 

Last month, two-year-old Zeekr, the premium EV brand that operates under Geely, confirmed plans to expand to Europe where it intends to sell its Zeekr 001, a $44,000 all-electric luxury shooting brake that directly competes with Tesla’s Model Y.

The 2023 Zeekr 001 will be available for sale in Sweden and the Netherlands in the fourth quarter. Photo: Zeekr

Still, Tesla is revving up its investment in China, where the government aims to have 40 percent of vehicles sold domestically be EVs by 2030. The company plans to expand its presence in the country with a new factory in Shanghai focused on producing Megapacks, which are massive batteries the size of a shipping container that are used to stabilize energy grids. 

With China making up roughly 40 percent of Tesla’s sales, this comes at no surprise. From car designs to production capabilities, the EV maker must continue to accelerate in the mainland if it hopes to outpace competitors.

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.

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Anta, Li-Ning, Xtep: China’s Sportswear Industry Races Ahead

What happened: On Tuesday, Goldman Sachs published a report detailing the predicted rise of the Chinese sports goods companies it tracks, forecasting that they will grow income between 15 to 21 percent this year. Powerhouses Anta Sports, Li-Ning, and Xtep all boast especially good growth prospects, the report says. 

Last year, Anta’s revenue in China overtook Nike’s for the first time. Its revenue climbed 8.8 percent year on year to $7.8 billion (RMB 53.7 billion) in 2022, topping Nike’s $7.4 billion (RMB 51.4 billion), reports Yicai Global

China is gaining further significance in the sports world in more ways than this, though.

Luxury houses are increasingly turning to Chinese sports stars as brand representatives. For instance, Swiss watch leader IWC appointed Olympic gold-medalist Eileen Gu as its ambassador last year; this year, Alfa Romeo Formula One driver Zhou Guanyu was named as Dior’s endorser in China; and earlier this week, Prada announced it had appointed basketball player Yang Shuyu as its latest brand ambassador in the country.

Basketball player Shuyu Yang

Basketball player Shuyu Yang is Prada’s new brand ambassador. Photo: Prada

The Jing Take:  The factors propelling the predicted stellar growth of homegrown sports-related businesses are widely evident on a consumer level. 

For example, hype around domestic players such as Li-Ning is intensifying, and the trending “gorpcore” aesthetic is driving sales for brands such as Anta-owned Amer Sports’ Arc’teryx. Anta now owns leading German sports brand Fila, as well as Amer Sports, which owns not only the Arc’Teryx but also Salomon label, further boosting its revenue streams.

Furthermore, as these labels are owned by a Chinese business, they are better able to engage in local collaborations and fuel expansion in China through connecting with consumers on a more relatable and authentic basis. Examples of this approach include Arc’teryx working with Chinese hotel group Songtsam and Fila collaborating with Tmall Sports on co-branded digital collectibles last year.

Meanwhile, the trend of sportspeople becoming luxury brand ambassadors is a global one that will continue to soar thanks to fandom on social media and the rising popularity of healthy living. 

Another element contributing to the sports industry’s rosy growth outlook in China is the fact that the government backs it, rolling out initiatives such as the National Fitness Plan which strives for fitness facilities across all counties, towns, and villages by 2025.

Luxury brands should ensure that athleisure lifestyles and Chinese sports industry expansion are both on their radar. These will provide collaborative opportunities, potent area of growth and targets for future investment.

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Erykah Badu x Marni, Gucci x Kendrick Lamar, And Dua Lipa x Versace: Global Collabs Of The Week

As we head into the summer, we’ve seen another busy week of brand collaboration. The new Adidas “Home of Classics” campaign is sparking rumors of a Blackpink collection, while Aimé Leon Dore and New Balance are dropping Brown and Taupe 550 sneakers on May 10.

Other highlights of the week include Diesel stocking 300,000 Durex condoms to give out for free across their stores worldwide; Gucci executive Robert Triefus moving to Moncler Group-owned Stone Island on June 1; and Wales Bonner revealing a new Adidas Samba for SS23.

But this week, we look at celebrity-led collections, from American icon singer-songwriter Erykah Badu’s Marni collection, to Dua Lipa x Versace, and Kendrick Lamar’s Gucci-clad vinyl collectible. To receive these updates every Tuesday to your inbox, subscribe here to the Collabs & Drops newsletter.

Dua Lipa x Versace

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The British popstar will co-design a Versace collection for the first time. Photo: Versace

Date: May 23

Verdict: As exemplified by Louis Vuitton’s appointment of Pharrell Williams as its men’s creative director, fanbases sell fashion. From Kendall Jenner being the creative director of FWRD, to ex-Love Islander Molly-Mae Hague heading up Pretty Little Thing, KOLs have been taking the place of fashion designers for a while, so the Dua Lipa-designed  ‘La Vacanza’ collection comes as no surprise.

The fact it’s being sold immediately after the Versace show in Cannes later this month proves just how much the house plans on leveraging the online hype of the superstar’s name being associated with the collection. It comes at a good time, following Dua‘s long-term relationship with Versace, having even walked for the brand back in 2021. Insofar, the official Versace post has 341,986 likes on Instagram, which is on the upper end of the brand’s engagement spectrum.

Erykah Badu x Marni

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Marni continues to connect with consumers culturally through collaboration. Next up: Erykah Badu. Photo: Marni

Date: May 3

Verdict: After teasing the collaboration by wearing a white Marni dress to the 2023 Met Gala, Erykah Badu had dropped her official collection with the Italian luxury house. The capsule is made up of ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear, tapping the guest-designer trend that leverages the easy capital of celebrity fans. The social media campaign has just 42 organic posts under the hashtag #erykahbaduxmarni, but the feedback has been wholly positive.

American singer Erykah has 6.1 million followers on Instagram, having been active on the music scene since the late 1990s when she became known as the Queen of Neo Soul. Through this partnership with her, Marni is able to continue building cultural capital, following its Carhartt and Uniqlo collabs earlier this year.

Gucci x Kendrick Lamar

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The “To Pimp A Butterfly” vinyl. Photo: Interscope

Date: May 12

Verdict: An instant collector’s item, the Grammy-winning To Pimp A Butterfly album vinyl features a cover specially created by American contemporary artist Lauren Halsey and a custom jacket designed by Gucci. There are just 100 units available and each is being sold for $2,500 (17,300 RMB). They haven’t sold out yet, though all net profits are going to the Iovine and Young Foundation.

In both 2021 and 2022, Kendrick sold the most vinyls in the world, according to statistics shared by Billboard, so the star deserves to have a Gucci-clad collector’s vinyl more than anyone right now. He has 44.9 million monthly Spotify listeners, and Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers won the trophy for Spotify’s most streamed rap album of 2022.

real estate metaverse Web3

Forecast: How AI-Generated Content, Web3 And The Metaverse Will Shape The Future Of Real Estate

2022 saw ChatGPT’s explosive debut, igniting buzzy discussions across various industries. Innovative technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the metaverse have started to shape “real” business, including commercial property developments. 

To explore the extensive possibilities in real estate, Jing Daily collaborated with leading real estate company Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and Web3/metaverse brand consultancy to launch the NEXTech Roundtable on April 27. The virtual discussion focused on the impact of Web3 and metaverse technologies on commercial real estate and the opportunities they will bring the industry. 

Moderated by Wenzhuo Wu, Managing Editor at Jing Daily China, the webinar featured a conversation between Vincent Wong, Director of Operations at, and three panelists: Lou Chen, Senior Director, Proptech & Innovation Lead, Greater China, JLL; Simon Chen, Founder and CEO of architectural design firm X_Lab and metaverse architectural firm Mortise_Labs; and Sandy Jin, Founder and CEO of metaverse platform Vland. They shared their insights and predictions on digital trends in the commercial property sector, with a focus on virtual building design and social interaction in the metaverse.

Here are Jing Daily’s top four takeaways from the roundtable.

Artificial intelligence, blockchain and the metaverse are changing the landscape of commercial real estate

The rise of AI-generated content (AIGC) programs such as Midjourney and ChatGPT has stirred worries about whether AI will replace human labor. Nevertheless, concerning architectural design, Chen opined that AI currently functions more as a tool to assist designers. With the threshold of code writing, the architect profession will not disappear in the future, but will instead metamorphose into a role of AI code writing.

When it comes to virtual service platforms, Jin inferred that customers are more concerned about the role of non-player characters in games (NPCs) in the metaverse, based on customer and market feedback. 

“Traditionally, it requires interaction with users to maintain the operation of a space for a long period of time, which incurs certain costs if it is done by real people,” Jin explained. “But with the help of AI, NPCs can play the customer service or guide role, thus significantly reducing such costs.”

As Wong concluded, “These technologies serve as both production tools and potential cost-savings mechanisms for companies.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of virtual technology

The pandemic expedited the advancement of startups like VLand and Mortise Labs. In the post-pandemic era, numerous companies have employed a hybrid work model that combines virtual and physical spaces, owing to the advantages of virtual spaces such as low cost and eco-friendliness. In this context, what is the role of physical space today, and why is it still needed?

“The workplace today is no longer just a place for typing or creating presentation decks. It’s a place for employees to communicate and engage with each other — a social space. Consequently, the nature of the office has undergone a transformation. Hence, only those companies that prioritize their employees can attract more talent to join,”  noted Lou. 

“The workplace today is no longer just a place for typing or creating presentation decks. It’s a place for employees to communicate and engage with each other — a social space. Consequently, the nature of the office has undergone a transformation.”

In terms of commercial real estate, Lou held that given the lag in the real estate industry, “by the time a commercial product is completed, it may already be disconnected with users. Adapting to today’s diverse customer requirements is an urgent issue facing the commercial real estate sector.” With the use of new technologies like image recognition that shorten the product design cycle, the real estate industry can expect more efficient solutions that cater to the specific needs of various consumers in the future.

In an era of remote working, the physical workplace still plays a role in facilitating employee engagement. Photo: Shutterstock

Virtual technology informs more valuable use of physical space 

Due to technological constraints, it is still necessary for users to rely on hardware devices to facilitate interaction between virtual and real worlds. Also, as there is currently no lower-cost usage scenario, live streaming is predominantly used to bridge online and offline experiences. Nevertheless, virtual technology has already delivered considerable benefits to commercial real estate.

According to Jin, virtual spaces can better capture user movements than physical spaces, such as the time users spend in an area, the content they view, and other interactive actions, which can then be provided as valuable data to clients. 

Wong observed that while the popular belief is that the metaverse equals the virtual world, it is not a space but rather an era where there is no longer any barrier between online and offline. “When e-commerce was initially taking off, many believed it spelled the end of brick-and-mortar stores. However, what we see now is that these stores are thriving because they offer more than just a place to purchase goods.”

In fact, the advent of e-commerce and the internet has instead compelled businesses to devote greater attention to their physical locations, creating engaging experiences that attract consumers.

The future of virtual commercial property depends on content-building

Housing prices in real life are determined by the scarcity of land resources. In contrast, in the virtual world where resources seem unlimited, how does one go about assessing the value of virtual real estate? According to Chen, the value of virtual real estate is based on computing power — that is, the capacity for processing information and generating desired results — which is a scarce and limited resource. 

In essence, real estate developers privatize limited resources, upon which they superimpose commercial value. The so-called real estate developers in the virtual world, as Lou viewed it, are a different breed from their real-world counterparts. “I don’t think real estate developers in the traditional sense will become real estate developers in the metaverse. Their business behaviors remain the same. It’s just the roles that will change.”

Following Lou’s argument, Jin offered a different perspective, suggesting that future virtual-world real estate developers will likely be gaming or content companies. Online computing power may have limitations, but it’s still far less expensive than real-world land. Essentially, it has a relatively unlimited carrying capacity, or at least is a means to lower expansion costs. Be it brand operation or content building through gaming or content companies, the core focus continues to be engaging users.

Virtual spaces can better capture user information, such as what content they view and how much time they spend in a particular area. Photo: Decentraland

As the roundtable concluded, the participants envisioned the impact the metaverse will have on the future social ecosystem. “The key to the development of digital technology lies in tackling social problems, easing life burdens, enriching people’s existence, and transcending the confines of material pursuits,” Chen said.

As AI becomes more widespread and lowers the entry barrier to content creation, Jin predicts a mutual transformation between content creators and consumers in five to 10 years. “Users, AI agents and brands will coexist in the metaverse, culminating in a content co-creation ecosystem that fosters collaboration and interconnectivity.”

The ongoing evolution of Web3 and metaverse technologies will lead to the continuous improvement of the commercial real estate industry’s development models in the future, enabling it to deliver a greater diversity of services and experiences to consumers. This will simultaneously broaden the industry’s horizons, creating a wealth of continuous business opportunities for the market.