This week’s industry-shaking news of Raf Simons shuttering his eponymous, 27-year-old brand has triggered preemptive nostalgia for his winning collaborations. Since launching their first pair in 2013, Raf Simons and Adidas’ sneakers have paved the way for the independent designer x sportswear crossover movement.
On Weibo, the hashtag #rafsimons# has over 100k views. However, you can scour historical searches to realize just how much the Raf Simons’ Adidas collaborations won over the hearts of Chinese sneaker fans over the years.
Other, more optimistic, headlines this week include Clot’s Be@rbrick panda and American footwear giant Skechers announcing a new line with local brand Pros By Ch dedicated to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Independent designer-nurturer Labelhood has also revealed a new collaboration with exciting talent Nan Knits.
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CLOT X BE@RBRICK PANDA
Launch date: November 25
Trend: Streetwear x Art Toy
Verdict: Partnering with one of China’s most popular toy makers Medicom Toy on Clot x Be@rbrick, a new set of collectibles, is a great way to support panda conservation in China. It amps up the public identities of Clot and Be@rbrick in terms of good morale while enhancing both brands’ cultural capital. The design is based on Clot’s panda mascot Ning Ning and leans into a new product category that further hones the existing symbols within the brand. The Be@rbricks collab also increases the overall value of Clot’s clothing and accessory collection.
SKECHERS X PROS BY CH
Launch date: November 10
Trend: Sportswear x Local Brand
Verdict: Resurrecting the ’90s, Skechers and Pro By Ch have achieved the full retro aesthetic with their local co-branded sportswear and sneaker line. It’s been launched to celebrate the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which is hugely popular in China, with the nation being the largest sponsor this time round. Despite Skechers boasting 744k fans on Weibo, and Pros By Ch, established in 2014, having 37k, there are currently just 716 views of the hashtag #skechers x pros#. Though, for Skechers, working with a niche local name will definitely resonate with consumers, and the World Cup connection ensures it will get into mainstream view. For Pros By Ch, this partnership brings exposure to new like-minded consumers. Score for both teams.
NAN KNITS X LABELHOOD
Launch date: November 14th to November 30th
Trend: Retailer x Independent Designer
Verdict: Independent Chinese label Nan Knits has been invited by Labelhood Leihu to decorate two spaces of the retail store for winter. The psychedelic art-inspired space allows consumers to really perceive the brand’s artistic identity, with everything constructed from rainbow knit fabrics. Domestic retailers have become the best way for local brands to showcase their collections and intimately connect with new fanbases. Even though Nan Knits is still relatively unknown, the distinct, unique designs are winning over Generation Z and their love of knitwear.
Address: LABELHOOD Leihu Flagship Store , No. 2, Lane 764, Changle Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai Time: November 14th to November 30th Address: Fumin, Jing’an District , Shanghai Road 184