How Chinese Label Shushu/Tong Subverts Feminine Stereotypes

The Social Edition is our weekly series which deep dives into luxury initiatives in China’s social media landscape. Every week, we highlight brand campaigns distributed on Chinese digital platforms — WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, Douyin, and beyond.

Our coverage spotlights global luxury brands, global beauty brands, and local Chinese brands. The latter gives insight into some of China’s most successful campaigns, which often come from local players, and are outside of the beauty and fashion space.

In this week’s roundup, we look at three campaigns, including Ferragamo’s new spin on its monogram, Shanghai-based designer Shushu/tong’s exploration of femininity, and Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle 20th anniversary celebration.

Did Ferragamo’s Monogram Collabs Hit Their Mark In China? 

BRAND Salvatore Ferragamo
CATEGORY Luxury
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat
MEDIUM Image, Short-video, Offline Event

OVERVIEW 
Salvatore Ferragamo has initiated the third installment of the brand’s program reinterpreting its monogram, “Gancini,” with indigenous cultural elements from different areas by collaborating with young artists. In February, the house partnered with lantern craftsman Huang Hongyu to roll out handmade lanterns that draw inspiration from the monogram. The artworks were exhibited in the Shanghai Center Boutique to celebrate the Lantern Festival. In March, the project moved to Hong Kong and featured local artist Afa Lee. This collaboration spotlighted bing sutt — a traditional cold drinking house commonly found in Guangdong and Hong Kong. The brand opened a pop-up bing sutt decorated with Gancini from March 12 to 18 in Hong Kong.

NETIZEN REACTION
The program has flown under Chinese audiences’ radar since it was released in February this year. Despite leveraging traditional cultures from different regions, such as lanterns and cold drinking houses, the brand failed to fully kick off its digital initiatives and optimize the campaign’s social exposure. Aside from posts featuring its brand ambassador Lin Yun and products with the iconic Gancini monograms, the brand’s social content, including videos sharing the artists’ inspiration and their artmaking processes, haven’t received many views on Weibo and WeChat.

VERDICT
Traditional craftsmanship and indigenous culture have become go-to aesthetics for legacy luxury houses looking to facilitate their localization strategies. Still, the way they represent and diversify local talents to engage audiences is crucial for distinguishing the brand from others. Although Salvatore Ferragamo tapped into China’s lanterns (a safe choice), the house did not develop an impressive narrative that intertwined the craft and the house’s heritage or how it related to Hong Kong’s bing sutt culture. Today, young Chinese consumers expect unique and dynamic art and luxury collaborations, so brands must think beyond cliché Chinese cultural motifs to gain traction.

Shushu/Tong Tackles Femininity In Its Spring 2021 Collection

BRAND Shushu/Tong   
CATEGORY Fashion
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat, Tmall 
MEDIUM Image, Offline Pop-up
FEATURED TALENTS Ju Xiao Wen (3M Weibo Followers)

OVERVIEW 
Shanghai-based designer brand Shushu/Tong launched its Spring 2021 campaign named “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” on March 11. Starring supermodel Ju Xiao Wen and shot by photographer Zeng Wu, the campaign depicts a girl dancing in a glass room. Additionally, the brand collaborated with local retailer LABELHOOD in Shanghai to launch a pop-up store — “In The Wonderland” — which was furnished with floral wallpaper that echoed prints from the new collection.

NETIZEN REACTION
The visual presentation and storytelling of the campaign have been greatly admired by fashionistas. Netizens were also impressed by the collaboration between model Ju Xiao Wen and photographer Zeng Wu, commenting that how the girl in the campaign was shot reflects the ideal imagination of Shushu/Tong. Posts sharing visits to the pop-up store, from fashion KOLs such as @Hu Ban and @Fumin Girl, also garnered organic engagement on Little Red Book.

VERDICT
The theme of the campaign explores the ways in which female identity is constructed in the current socio-cultural context. Despite featuring girlish silhouettes, colors, fabrics, and prints, the brand investigates the dynamic perception of femininity, which extends beyond stereotypes and social constraints. The well-received visual language of the campaign demonstrates Shushu/Tong’s authentic understanding of today’s young consumers who increasingly show preferences for niche, retro, and avant-garde aesthetics.

Perfumer Taps Chinese Artists For Anniversary Campaign

BRAND Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle  
CATEGORY Perfume
PLATFORMS Weibo, WeChat
MEDIUM Image, Short-video, Offline Exhibition
FEATURED TALENTS Rebuilding The Rights Of Status (228K Weibo Followers) | Jiang Qiong’er (93K) | Philip Tinari 

OVERVIEW 
The French perfume brand Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, which is owned by Estée Lauder Group, just rolled out a campaign celebrating its 20th anniversary. The brand collaborated with three China-based artists: the band Rebuilding The Rights Of Status Band, Shang Xia’s creative director Jiang Qiong’er, and the UCCA’s director Philip Tinari. Their goal was to explore the precision, minimalism, and avant-garde chic echoed in the brand’s vision of “perfumes born from total creative freedom.” In addition to the digital initiative, a retrospective exhibition will open to the public at Shanghai IFC Mall on March 19.

NETIZEN REACTION
The three artists’ episodes were centered around three scents created by different perfumers. Their conversations embody the featured scents through complicated and compelling storytelling, reinforcing consumer awareness of the products. Though the brand is considered niche, it has created over 3,500 posts on Little Red Book in China, and the brand’s Weibo followers commented that the selected artists match the scents perfectly.

VERDICT
The rising demand for niche and luxury perfumes in China has attracted international competitors trying to tap into the trend (Euromonitor has predicted that these import brand-dominated segments will grow by 18 percent). However, balancing brand exclusivity with market expansion has been a challenge for disruptors. In Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle’s case, the label opted to feature artists with strong follower profiles and unique tastes in art, fashion, or lifestyle rather than famous names with large social following numbers. This approach doesn’t just enrich the scents’ narratives; it also helps maintain the brand’s loyal consumer base.

Categories

Art & Design, Fashion