7Up, skaters and the pet economy: Chinese collaborations of the week

In addition to the world headlines of Balmain’s Pokémon collection and Kanye West publicly slamming both Gap and Adidas for allegedly breaching contractual agreements, China had a quiet week in terms of brand collaborations.

When fashion month kicks off on September 9, we’re sure to see the country’s strong set of independent designers adopt other brands for their collections to expand both product categories and marketing reach. But for now, we’re looking at a smaller roundup geared towards Gen Z.

American brand Lee Jeans Lee X-Line China-exclusive diffusion line launched 7Up merchandise; gaming giant Genshin Impact has partnered with Heytea; ACU and Li-Ning have produced a limited-edition sneaker celebrating Chinese heritage; and skate label Avenue & Son tapped Chinese-favorite French label Fred for a line of jewelry — an exemplary move by the Western name to tap into a local subculture.

On top of all this streetwear-dominated news, Los Angeles-based Starwalk is the latest to jump into China’s pet economy with a collaborative ready-to-wear capsule featuring pet accessories. assorted on sale in Shanghai.

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LEE X-LINE X 7UP

A photo from the Lee X-Line x 7-Up campaign aimed at Chinese Gen Z. Photo: Lee X-Line

RELEASE DATE: September 1st

DIRECTION: Streetwear x Consumer Goods

VERDICT: Attracting Gen Z with soft drinks, Lee Jeans’ exclusive line in China, Lee X-Line, is designed for its teenage clientele. As an online-only brand, it pushes for exclusivity at an affordable price, making this 7Up collaboration a seamless choice as a globally recognized consumer goods brand.

ACU X LI-NING

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ACU Shanghai frequently drops sneakers, having previously collaborated with brands such as Vans and Nike. Photo: ACU x Li-Ning

RELEASE DATE: September 1st

DIRECTION: Local streetwear brands celebrating national pride

VERDICT: Limited to just 333 pairs, these sneakers are an instant collector’s item. Featuring Shan-Shui (a traditional style of Chinese painting) art print, the shoes are sure to be a hit with Gen Z and Millennial streetwear enthusiasts in China due to their celebration of Chinese culture and their limited availability.

GENSHIN IMPACT X HEYTEA

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Heytea has a winning collaborative strategy, with the Fragment Design project going viral in April 2022. Photo: Heytea Weibo

RELEASE DATE: September 5 to 7

DIRECTION: Video Games x Consumer Goods

VERDICT: The marriage of two Chinese powers is traditional magic. The merger of household names has understandably been well received, with Heytea’s Weibo post currently holding around 13,000 likes and 3,100 comments. Consumers are known to always line up for Heytea because it’s so popular. And, despite not being released until the end of 2020, Genshin Impact had first-year revenue of $2 billion, according to Sensor Tower. It’s a hassle-free collaboration.

FRED X AVENUE & SON

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A photo from the Fred x Avenue and Son promotional event. Photo: Avenue and son

RELEASE DATE: September 6

DIRECTION: Discover new product categories

VERDICT: Parisian jewelry brand Fred may be an unusual fit for popular local skate brand Avenue & Son, but China is one of its biggest consumer bases. In 2020, the market accounted for around 25% of Fred’s total sales, so he’s sure to call on local talent to keep the focus there. As noted in a Daily Jing interview In 2021, the brand enjoys collaborating with all kinds of athletes – embracing China’s thriving skate scene is sure to win over Gen Z.

STARWALK SOLDIER X WISDOM PANEL

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Brands are increasingly tapping into China’s pet economy. Photo: Starwalk x Wisdom sign

RELEASE DATE: August 31 to November 24

DIRECTION: Type “chongwu jingji 宠物经济” (pet economy)

VERDICT: Chinese pet brands are increasingly entering streetwear, with Starwalk’s latest capsule showcased in a three-month pop-up store in Shanghai TX Huaihai. Merchandise includes t-shirts and shorts, as well as leashes and food bowls. In the era of social networks, matching your streetwear to your dog clearly interests Chinese consumers.

Check Collaborations and drops archive here.

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