What Happened: On July 8, the head designer and founder of Off-White and the menswear artistic director for Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, opened a personal account on China’s popular social commerce platform Little Red Book. The founder published a video introducing himself, which quickly attracted 11,000 followers. In the video, Abloh asked: “Let me know what lives are interesting to you. I’ll report live all the time on my phone, just capturing what I see and what inspires me.”
Additionally, he teased the news that a special collaboration with graffiti artist Katsu — aka “OFFKAT” — will be revealed during the Off-White Beijing fashion show.
The Jing Take: This move marks the streetwear label founder’s first appearance on any local social media platform in China. However, it is no surprise that he opted to make his debut on Little Red Book. The platform has more than 100 million active users, of which more than 70 percent are post-90s born, and its post-95 cohort accounts for over 50 percent of its users, making it the perfect target for luxury.
China, which is set to become the world’s largest luxury market by 2025, is an unmissable opportunity for a hype brand like Off White. However, in recent years, the fashion label has lost its appeal with young local consumers, who are easily distracted by the country’s wide selection of emerging designer brands. The fact is, domestic shoppers have little loyalty to hype names. Most of the time, they enjoy these labels to remain ‘niche,’ so they can flaunt their unique fashion sense. But once those brands become mainstream, this demographic will quickly reject the brand — without hesitation.
Abloh’s new profile was a smart tactic for garnering the attention of local netizens. Off-White can already be found on Weibo and WeChat. Therefore, the addition of a new label platform probably wouldn’t raise the same level of interest. But his personal debut should help his brand garner significant exposure. However, it will be an uphill struggle. Foreign celebrities are far less relevant to Chinese audiences. And if the designer intends to incite local consumers to purchase Off-White again, he will have to rely on domestic KOLs.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.