Tesla Taps HeyTea, K11 x Bunney, And Angel Chen’s Latest: China Collabs Of The Week

Amid the post-Chinese New Year joy-hangover and news that the recent COVID-19 wave in China is receding, brands are feeling optimistic. 

Following the release of the women’s fashion month schedules, February promises exciting developments for China’s independent designers, too – from disruptive label Didu and Yu Prize-award winner Chen Peng again showing in Paris, to names such as Huishan Zhang, Yuhan Wang, Susan Fang, Pronounce, and Chau Rising hitting the London schedule. 

On the collab side, though, consumer goods collaboration king and household name Heytea has been celebrating China lockdowns being over via a partnership with luxury US carmaker Tesla, through which it is promoting its cherry beverage via a prize draw that offers fans the chance to test-drive one of the company’s high-tech electric vehicles.

Other highlights of the week comprise: Angel Chen designing bottles for Johnnie Walker, including for the Blue Label design, plus illustrations for the Lunar New Year John Walker & Sons XR 21 and John Walker & Sons King George V limited edition bottles; and, K11 inviting London-based jewelry brand Bunney to design some sturdy Lunar New Year envelopes.

For our verdict on the featured Chinese collaborations, read on below. If you would like to receive these updates straight to your inbox, then subscribe to our Collabs & Drops newsletter here.

K11 x Bunney

k11 x bunney

K11 and Bunney have created the first ever waterproof red envelopes, which naturally taps into today’s forever-thriving utility-wear trend. Photo: K11

DATE: January 18

TREND: Local Retail x Western Brand

VERDICT: Making the most of London-based jewelry brand Bunney’s renown, K11 released sustainable Year of the Rabbit red packets. Known as hongbao in Mandarin and laisee in Cantonese, these red envelopes, seen as a symbol of good luck, are used extensively during the Lunar New Year for gifting. The collaboration is a great way for the brand to connect with its global Chinese fan base, resonate with Chinese culture, and produce a collectible all at once. Consumers across social media responded positively, though the release has been somewhat eclipsed by Daniel Arsham’s trending exhibition at K11. 

Johnnie Walker x Angel Chen

Angel Chen's Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Rabbit Limited Edition BottleIn

Angel Chen’s Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Rabbit Limited Edition BottleIn. Photo: Johnnie Walker

DATE: January 23

TREND: Alcohol Brand x Independent Designer

VERDICT: Johnnie Walker global brand director Julie Bramham, said in a statement: “The energy and layers of color that Angel brings to her designs are a visual interpretation of the incredible blending expertise that Emma Walker and her team use to create those perfectly balanced layers of flavor in Johnnie Walker Blue Label.” This launch shows how fashion design can be translated into other product categories, and emphasizes the versatility of independent Chinese designer Angel Chen. 

In a similar way to Feng Chen Wang and Shushu/Tong, Chen is becoming known as a rising collab star worldwide. From Canada Goose to Shiseido, she has excelled by partnering with leaders in other industries to express her own skills and vision. Furthermore, the partnership makes sense for Johnnie Walker as Chinese consumers have embraced premium whisky products over the past few years. China has since 2019 seen the world’s fastest demand growth for whisky produced in Scotland.

HeyTea x Tesla

heytea x tesla

HeyTea and Tesla make the most of their widespread fans in the mainland. Photo: HeyTea Weibo

DATE: January 30 to February 1

TREND: Alcohol Brand x Independent Designer

VERDICT: As a household name in China boasting 1.229 million fans on Weibo, any collaboration that Heytea launches makes noise on China’s social media platforms. From January 30 to February 1, consumers can enter a prize draw on the Heytea Go app to win a one-month Tesla test-drive, and smaller prizes, such as a one-week test drive, and coupons to taste the new Heytea cherry beverage. 

Tapping a popular drinks brand is a great way for Tesla to reach China’s mainstream population. Not everyone who buys Heytea will be able to afford a Tesla, but at least this way, everyone becomes more acquainted with the brand and it can generate some cultural capital through familiarity. Moreover, China is the world’s second largest consumer of luxury products and services, so reaching more people will equate to sales.

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