Why Shushu/Tong and Charles & Keith Collab Has Taken Over Xiaohongshu

What do Singaporean footwear and accessories brand Charles & Keith and the independent Chinese label Shushu/Tong have in common? They’re both habitual stars of Xiaohongshu feeds. And now, the brands have released a collaborative capsule featuring two handbags and two pairs of heeled pumps, launched on January 11. For Chinese bloggers, it’s a match-made in Xiaohongshu heaven.

Xiaohongshu users and bloggers wearing the Charles & Keith x Shushu/Tong handbags and shoes. Photo: Screenshots

Inspired by the beauty of a single rose, the designs have Charles & Keith’s mid-price point and established silhouettes combined with Shushu/Tong’s contemporary feminine identity. “We used flowers and bows, which are recurring motifs we’ve employed in our previous collections,” explained Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang, owners of the Chinese brand Shushu/Tong. “The rose takes center stage in this capsule; its beauty, prickly complexity, and uniqueness are part of our design DNA.”

Singapore fashion brand Charles & Keith has collaborated with its first Chinese label, Shushu/Tong — and as both labels are popular among Chinese bloggers on Xiaohongshu, it has been a huge success in China.

Since Lei and Jiang launched Shushu/Tong while still studying at the London College of Fashion in 2015, it has become recognized for presenting a particularly Gen-Z, cutting-edge style. Now that they’ve carved out a niche for themselves, the designers are getting invited to reimagine existing brands through collaborations, having released two in 2021 with Estée Lauder and Chinese streetwear brand Peacebird — and now, its most recent with Charles & Keith.

This is the first Chinese collaboration for 26-year-old brand Charles & Keith. Yet, it has previously released numerous co-branded capsules, working alongside designers like Molly Goddard from Britain, the Dane Cecilie Bahnsen, and Syrian-born Rami Al Ali. Co-founder and chief operating officer Keith Wong told Jing Collabs & Drops that the success of the brand’s co-branded capsules lies in both parties retaining as much creative freedom as possible.

“It’s always very much a collaborative effort, whereby design teams on both sides work closely to develop a product line that aptly reflects the personalities of both brands, from shapes, styles, and materials, to motifs,” said Wong. 

Designers Lei and Jiang agreed: “We were given plenty of space to exercise our creativity during the collaboration process throughout the development of the product. The creative chemistry between our teams made this whole process beautiful.”

Wong emphasized that it is always important that the brands and artists Charles & Keith choose to work with have an aesthetic that translates fluidly into their trademark shoes and bags. Thus, Shushu/Tong’s versatile floral aesthetic was an ideal fit.

Shushu/Tong reimagined Charles & Keith’s iconic Mary Jane pumps.

When analyzing social listening data on Weibo and Xiaohongshu, using the marketing tool Vfluencer on both brands following this launch, we found that the two saw an expected spike in mentions when the collaboration was announced. Yet, Wong was quick to note that the marketing benefit wasn’t their central aim. “Our customers are at the heart of anything we do,” said Wong. “When we approach any collaboration, it comes from a sincere desire to develop novel products of beauty that will spark excitement and be appreciated by customers. For my team, collaborations like these are a beautiful way to connect with like-minded creatives and promote the cross-pollination of ideas in the fashion industry.”

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Collabs and Drops, Fashion, Global