The spring 2023 menswear calendar served as the playground for some of the biggest names in luxury in the world – Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada and Fendi, to name a few. With their dramatic sets and bold collections, the brands pulled out all the stops to orchestrate a show on and off the runway.
And there were good reasons to go big. With prolonged shutdowns in China leaving stores and distribution facilities closed from March to May, many fashion players reported declining sales in the country and reduced expectations for their business there this year. But rather than looking solely to global markets for growth, companies are resisting headwinds and moving forward, well aware that China is still on course to become the world’s biggest luxury market. by 2025.
Thus, several trends emerged during the season. Notably, luxury houses have recruited Gen Z talent, from actors to athletes, to generate greater hype on Chinese social media. Meanwhile, local designer names like Feng Chen Wang and Joeone have taken a different approach, stunning audiences with their Chinese-inspired designs.
To find out which brands have left a lasting impact in China, influencer marketing platform left handed looked at the earned media value (EMV) of this season’s men’s releases. Based on that data, here are the luxury names that generated the biggest impressions and how they rose to the top.
keep things young
Luxury fashion has always fetishized the beauty and ephemerality of youth. But now, with Gen Z all over the world on their driver’s seat, this trend has become even more apparent. Louis Vuitton was the prime example of how to do this well, eventually ranking #1 in EMV in China at $12.3 million.
For starters, his Chinese boy band announcement Teenagers at the time as ambassadors just a day before his Parisian show falls on cue. Harnessing the star power of the group’s seven Gen Z members, the legacy house saw 64% of its total EMV driven by this casting choice alone. Louis Vuitton has also teamed up with the 18-year-old snowboard champion Su Yiming to invite his fans to watch the show via the livestream, surfing on the craze for post-Olympic sport in China. Offline, LVMH’s flagship brand continued to bring the youth theme to life with its decor – a bright yellow toy racing circuit with giant red balloons.
Interactive invitations are chargeable
Like Louis Vuitton, Prada has relied heavily on its lineup of celebrity guests and KOLs to generate social media buzz in China. However, it made preparing for his show in Milan more exciting. The Italian luxury house asked eight Chinese influencers to interact with the public and invite them to the show, including brand ambassador Cai Xukun, actor Li Yifeng and Olympic table tennis champion Ma Long. Together, they raked in $2.65 million in EMV. In total, this move helped Prada generate $7.2 million in EMV, triple the EMV of No. 2-listed Fendi.
Local names spark interest
No stranger to the global spotlight, based in London Feng Chen Wang adopted a relatively low investment strategy to appeal to the Chinese market. According to Lefty, it was the only brand to direct all of its traffic to Xiaohonghsu, hosting a live stream on the eponymous creator’s personal account. This differed from major brands such as Prada, which hosted live streams on Weibo, Douyin, WeChat Channels, WeChat Mini Program and Tmall. But since Xiaohongshu has a high concentration of contemporary fashion enthusiasts, the move makes sense for the Chinese designer brand, famous for its futuristic unisex designs. What’s more, it clearly paid off: in his Paris Fashion Week debut, Feng Chen Wang ranked in the top 13 of the EMV.
Specializing in men’s pants, Chinese brand Joeone debuted at Milan Fashion Week and cracked the top 7 of EMV ($503,000). With only 22 influencers at work, the discussions were mainly about the design: the collection was inspired by the famous Chinese painting “A Thousand Miles of Mountains and Rivers”. With edgy silhouettes fused with ancient Chinese elements, Joeone delivered a fresh aesthetic that was well received by Chinese and global fashion critics.
Although selling in China has been difficult over the past quarter, these events show that brands can still find ways to engage local consumers overseas. By choosing the right ambassadors, leveraging various social media platforms, and showcasing thoughtful collections, luxury companies can prepare for their comeback and attract new fans along the way.
Download Lefty’s Report – China’s verdict on S/S23 Men’s Fashion Week HERE.