As this Sunday marks the start of the Lunar New Year, the West’s major fashion houses – like the bunnies emblazoned on handbags, shoes and clothing to mark the occasion – are also hoping for an unexpected boost during the festive season. Season.
“In 2021, all the luxury brands were winning, but 2022 was a very difficult year – a real roller coaster for all brands with lockdowns… and very low consumer sentiment,” said Hong Kong-based Emke Waters. “There are still brands that are doing very well, but not many that are doing well, especially at the end of (last) year,” said Oliver Wyman-based partner, in a video call.
Mulberry’s Lunar New Year collection features Dutch cartoon bunny Miffy. Credit: Mercedes BV
Mannequins wearing rabbit heads in the window of a Lowe’s store on New Bond Street in London, United Kingdom. Credit: Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg/Getty Images
But a recent report from Oliver Wyman found that despite the upheaval, 19 percent of Chinese people still plan to travel during the holidays. Of these, 88% do so domestically and half travel to visit family, not for leisure.
The slow return of travel could also eat into disposable income for fashion. According to Waters, Of the 1.5 million people who spent money on luxury goods in China in 2021, half will do so for the first time. One of the reasons is, “Because they are. does not Travel” meaning that they now “have to make the same trade-off” between travel and marketing.
Stay or go?
However, the long-term question is not necessarily That is Chinese consumers are starting to buy again – it is. where They do.
Before the pandemic, 70% of the country’s luxury spending was done overseas. In addition to the prestige associated with picking up goods in cities like Paris and Milan, travel was also a way to avoid domestic prices caused by high income taxes in China.
Prada’s sister brand Miu Miu eschews the traditional color red this year, a color that has previously dominated luxury labels’ Lunar New Year campaigns. Credit: Miu Miu
There are fundamental changes in the way both Chinese consumers and labels operate. While much of China’s luxury spending has shifted to mainstream stores amid the pandemic, Western brands have spent the past three years investing in mainland boutiques.
“The offering in mainland China has improved significantly in terms of the in-store experience,” Waters said, adding that the amount of luxury spending overseas, not domestic, will never go back. “
Brands were finding new ways to connect with customers and host fashion shows locally. In the year In August 2020, when Louis Vuitton normally unveils its spring-summer collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, the French brand instead hosted a star-studded show on the banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. The likes of Dior and Prada have hosted major shows in the country since the outbreak began.
According to Bohan Qiu of Shanghai-based creative agency Boh Project, which works with fashion brands and mainstream consumers, this year’s collections reflect the fact that labels are increasingly catering to a Chinese audience.
“For many years, all the brands have come out with these big animal zodiac prints and everything is in red,” he said by phone from France, where he is attending Paris Fashion Week. It’s not “wrong” but I feel that it’s not very modern anymore. I don’t know anyone, including myself, that I saw buying an animal zodiac (luxury item) for the year.
Promotional footage from Prada’s Untold Lunar New Year campaign, “Memories of Beauty.” Credit: Prada
“If you put a really obvious animal print on things, in addition to designs that are a little more whimsical or whimsical, it feels like lazy marketing these days,” he added.
The Bottega Veneta campaign focuses on the theme of coming home. A train painted in Italy’s signature green paint will travel across China with the message “On the way home, Happy New Year”. Credit: Bottega Veneta
Not only are relatively timeless designs more likely to transcend the annual fashion cycle, but they also demonstrate a better understanding of what today’s luxury consumers want, Qiu said.
“The culture is still important, but how do we look at it in modern ways?”
Top Image: Campaign image for Gucci’s Year of the Rabbit capsule collection.