Closing this season’s Jing Daily Fashion Week Score, our index lands on the newest addition to the ranking: Shanghai Fashion Week. With all eyes on this fashion capital, the time has come for Chinese brands to showcase their prowess on their home turf. As China’s most developed fashion showcase, the event continues to grow in scope and relevance: Currently, the hashtag #
April’s theme, “Blooms of Spring,” was chosen to reflect the post-pandemic era, and the show’s focus, designers, and design have expanded exponentially to include the entire industry chain. Through showrooms, showcases, and exhibitions, this fashion week offers access to suppliers, new materials, marketing, sales channels, co-branding, livestreaming, consumer insights, and sustainability, making it a dynamic hotbed of innovation.
As one of the pillars of this event, its organizing committee has upped its support of local independent brands and designers this season. According to the organizers, the number of buyers at the MODE showroom for Fall 2021 increased significantly, with some agents seeing 153-percent growth compared to the previous season. Efforts were made to increase their visibility among consumers as well, via livestreamed B2C events starring KOLs Viya and Li Jiaqi. Viya’s event alone generated $55 million in sales revenue over five hours, showcasing 15 designers’ collaborative products.
Former ELLE China editor-in-chief and newly appointed SHFW ambassador, Xiaoxue, told Jing Daily, “Shanghai Fashion Week is a magical ecological stage that attracts professionals from all over the country — and even the world.” And with luxury titan Dior opting to present at the event this season, that certainly seems to be the case. Here, Jing Daily evaluates how brand collections resonate with a Chinese audience through multiple parameters to see which domestic name made the best impression.
The Jing Daily Fashion Week Score is based on the following parameters:
Model representation: evaluates representation of Chinese models on the runway.
Digital impact: evaluates Chinese netizen reception and engagement on leading social media platforms, including Weibo, WeChat, and Little Red Book.
KOL & celebrity visibility: considers the star power associated with the brand through strategic KOL and celebrity partnerships.
Special brand efforts: considers special programs or efforts on a brand’s part to speak to the Chinese audience. Company or brand contributions toward the on-going virus crisis are also considered.
Design context: a qualitative assessment of how the brand’s collection will speak to the Chinese audience based on current trends and preferences.
Brand history: considers existing brand history in China, including overall presence, social reach, number of stores, earning trends, and brand missteps.
Gen-Z icon Angel Chen unveiled her collection “Daughter of the Dragon” in a dark green bamboo forest — a strong contrast to her lime-yellow fur and rainbow tie-dye collection. The show also revealed her second season capsule collection in collaboration with Canada Goose and an accessories series created with local brand Ty’s Grocery. As is Chen’s style, the overall designs combined modern Chinese aesthetics with Western elements. The modern Chinese dancers Yang WenTao 杨文韬 and Zhang Can 张灿 were invited to the runway.
This designer brand now has much recognition in the local market, and her highly anticipated show drove impressive organic traffic online. Moreover, Angel Chen initiated special efforts to drive pre-show engagement, such as inviting netizens to watch the show with celebrities Liu Chang, Xu RuoQiao and Xuan Zi, and other KOLs, who enjoy a combined following of 28 million.
Shanghai-based Shushu/Tong, founded by the duo Lei LiuShu and Jiang YuTong, keeps growing in popularity. Its girlish, retro-future aesthetic has been receiving much attention from fashion industry insiders and local consumers alike. This season, the duo continues to redefine the boundaries between the different stages of womanhood via feminine details like ruffles, bows, and sequins.
As expected, the fashion show attracted massive attention from the media and KOLs. The mega-sized inflatable doll in the middle of the runway became an “Instagrammable” moment for attendees. Without making any special effort on social media or collaborations with celebrities, the brand has found significant organic traffic with fans. The highly distinctive designs have earned a loyal following who are often referred to as “Shushu Tong’s girls.”
Founded in 2013, Comme Moi emanates the aura of its founder, Lv Yan — an ex-supermodel with over 5 million followers on Weibo and great connections in the film and media industry. Top-tier celebrities like Liu JiaLing, Tong Yao, Zheng Xiyi, Hu Bing, Chen Zhengfei, Wei XingChen, and Sun YiHan, with a combined following of over 33 million fans, attended the show, and their presence drove a great deal of media attention.
Comme Moi promoted the garments from Spring 21’ on Tmall through its livestream “See Now Buy Now.” However, the broadcast reached only 1664 viewers. Designer brands are starting to test the new platform but still require time to educate their consumers. Soon, we may find netizens purchasing designer garments on livestreams will be mainstream.
“Why is a raven like a writing desk?” That sounds like an absurd question, yet it set the tone for Leaf Xia’s colorful presentation this season. Inspired by “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the designer romantically explored self-recognition under today’s social context filled with constraints and stereotypes. With her imagination unleashed, she set the presentation underwater; her aim here was to encourage fans to embrace possibilities rather than be deterred by boundaries.
Continuing the designer’s inventive approach, Fall 2021 was complemented by immersive digital images made in collaboration with Spanish artist Sonia Ortega Blasi. Tapping the graphic trend, a three-dimensional video visualizing the adventurous journey in submarine spaces accompanied the collection. However, one could only access the video via the brand’s WeChat account, which somewhat constrained the presentation’s distribution.
LVMH Prize semi-finalist Rui Zhou’s journey for this season started with American amnesiac Henry Gustav Molaison, who lost his ability to store or recall new experiences. The accomplished young designer interpreted this predicament by projecting fleeting moments buried in her memories into solid, tangible textures, also reflected in her use of color. Highly saturated peach and lake blue were integrated into the brand’s statement suspenders and sleeves. Continuing her exploration of materials, feather yarn and mohair with hazy textures were also newly introduced into the collection.
Furthermore, garment functionality has been increased from previous collections, seen through the introduction of more wearable silhouettes and pieces like blouses, trousers, gauze skirts, and coats. Both efforts will surely increase the brand’s appeal and ability to fit into everyday wardrobes.
After presenting Fall 2021 virtually at Paris Fashion Week, founder Sun DaWei returns to China to hold a runway show for the first time in his home country — just as it celebrates its fifth anniversary. The packed home crowd was welcoming and receptive to the brand’s collection of flower-printed and deconstructed trenchcoats and monochrome garments, which shifted in tone from bright yellow to saturated khaki.
This inaugural show was publicized on Harper’s Bazaar China (18 million followers on Weibo), and the post garnered over 334,000 views. Independent multibrand store HCH launched a ticket giveaway competition, further amplifying the designer’s reach among local audiences. However, a lack of celebrity presence and additional media affected the brand’s overall online engagement and exposure, as did a failure to use any KOL promotions.
Another designer to reference the pandemic, Wang Yuhan, revisited the landscape of her hometown from a new perspective shaped by the limitations of the world amid lockdowns. From her unusual and individual perspective, Wang looks to immerse female characters in landscape paintings by highlighting their unpolished beauty. The inclusion of elements like pines and deer suggests enduring prosperity and good luck in Chinese landscape painting, which brings a new appreciation of the localization of this collection.
Despite still being a relative newcomer, the brand has amassed a cult following among local fashionistas, thanks to its presence at multi-brand store LABELHOOD. Its approach to Chinese traditional culture, rooted in personal experience, helps improve its cultural relevance in the domestic market. The designer has further adapted its design to cater to local tastes by retaining signature silhouettes and elevating wearability.
With a collection that embodies both chaos and optimism, OUDE WAAG communicated a visceral brand image to local viewers. Fall 2021 embodied a new symbiosis between humans and the world in the post-pandemic era. Using richly textured fabrics like jacquard and velvet, the designer boldly played with densities seen in the combination of thick knit and suede. The brand’s iconic abstract prints were also spotted, as bright colors burst out of dark silhouettes, manifesting a powerful statement set against the backdrop of chaos.
According to positive comments from netizens like @xxubi and @G-GZP, what made it one of the most impressive shows of the season was how the brand “projected its creative expression multi-dimensionally beyond merely garments.” From lighting to music, the show eloquently echoed the powerful theme of the collection.
This season, Shanghai-based womenswear label YINGPEI STUDIO drew inspiration from Cindy Sherman’s renowned photography series Untitled Film Stills, which cast the artist herself in various stereotypically female roles. Using these, the brand explored how women react to their surroundings when being observed under various gazes, captured in the Fall 2021 presentation through vibrant female images.
This exploration can be defined as follows: On the one hand, the brand’s design flourishes, such as tassels, sculptural folds, silk headscarves, and woody colors align with a typical representation of females. But on the other, floral prints consisting of kittens with distinctly feminine characteristics offered a unique take on women’s self-identity and social roles.
Jason Wu’s first runway Shanghai Fashion Week outing invited people to join him for an “escape from reality.” Using colorful prints and light fabrics, the designer showcased the perfect wardrobe creations for a long-awaited holiday. The KOLs invited to the show helped the brand garner 11 million impressions online, particularly @窝是饭饭哟, who generated over 22,000 likes and 1,000 reposts.
In addition to the show, the online brand traffic was significantly boosted by its collaboration with local kidswear brand Balabala, which has been recognized by major local media publications. However, the company has yet to build a stronger presence on Chinese social media platforms, although these efforts indicate a sharp upward trend.
Reported by Wenzhuo Wu, Lisa Nan, and Gemma A. Williams.