China’s hottest summer trend? How Xiaohongshu made ‘jorts’ a thing

What Happened: Hot girl summer? More like hot jorts summer. The dad-approved denim shorts have become a closet staple over the past year, sported by fashion icons like Hailey Bieber and Gigi Hadid and featured on the runways of some of the biggest luxury brands

Even China is not immune to the jorts phase. On June 29, lifestyle sharing platform Xiaohongshu launched a campaign to promote the over-the-knee jean shorts. Those who used the hashtags “vintage denim shorts” (#复古丹宁短裤) and “trendy things” (#潮流小东西) in their posts were rewarded with online traffic support, along with the chance to be featured on Xiaohongshu’s fashion account.

Although traction was slow during the first few days of the campaign, with “vintage denim shorts,” garnering just a hundred thousand views or so, the hashtag hit 1.3 million views by July 13. Local creators and brands alike — including Levi’s, Lee, and Seoul-based denim brand SJYP — joined the fun by styling the baggy ‘90s pants with other old school items like shoulder bags, slogan tees, and retro soccer jerseys.

Levi’s and Lee jump on the jortscore trend. Photo: Xiaohongshu

#Jorts, which has over 520 million views on TikTok, is part of a larger “new vintage” style taking over China and the rest of the world. The trend involves buying new clothes that look nostalgic, which appeals to those who want to achieve a retro look without thrifting or shopping secondhand.

The Jing Take: Viral aesthetics taking off in China is nothing new. What is interesting, though, is the active role social media can play in helping them land successfully in the local market.

Xiaohongshu has over 80 official accounts that cover a range of topics, including beauty (@美妆薯), travel (@生活薯), food (@吃货薯) and fashion (@潮流薯), the latter of which promoted the jortscore trend. These accounts not only spotlight the hottest Gen Z happenings, but they also educate consumers on niche and emerging movements. 

Xiaohongshu has dozens of accounts dedicated to promoting trends and activities in different categories. Photo: Xiaohongshu

Pickleball is a prime example of this. With the racket sport being relatively new to China (Shanghai opened its first pickleball court in April 2023), the account @运动薯 launched a campaign earlier this year to boost its awareness. Like with jortscore, users who posted about the activity using the campaign hashtag could receive traffic support and other prizes. 

As of writing, “pickleball together” (#一起匹克求) has over 4.7 million views. Xiaohongshu’s efforts not only put pickleball on China’s radar but also helped build a community around it, with the platform hosting in-person events for users to try their hand at the game. Moreover, sportswear players that joined the campaign, such as Lululemon, Anna Sui Active, and Li-Ning, naturally benefited from the rise in organic searches.

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Given these functions, Xiaohongshu is more than just a social media platform. It’s an information hub that keeps brands up-to-date and connected with young consumers. There are even accounts (like @商业广告薯) dedicated to supporting creators in business development. 

Because the platform actively guides content creation, it takes the guesswork out of where eyes will be — which is one of the hardest parts of social media marketing.

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.

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Fashion, Marketing