What makes Shanghai a world leader in Fashion Week?

Key points to remember:

  • While the Big Four are still going strong, Shanghai Fashion Week now stands out with its extraordinary Gen-Z engagement, especially this season.

  • For Spring / Summer 2022, the event fostered multi-faceted partnerships with popular Gen Z lifestyle and social media platforms including Douyin, Xiaohongshu and Bilibili.

  • The season, live streaming has been taken to a new level through collaborations with video sites and the creation of an ecosystem with a more public presence on social media.

After two decades of existence, Shanghai Fashion Week (SHFW) is now starting to get ahead of the best fashion weeks by successfully marketing to its Gen Z and Millennials, now playing an increasingly decisive role in the fashion industry. future of fashion and retail.

Responding to the disruptive challenges in the age of TikTok influencers and Instagrammers is becoming a daily reality for fashion professionals, so staying on top of relevant marketing platforms is crucial. It is no coincidence that this season SHFW has been more than ever about empowering and caring for the young Chinese population. Partner Labelhood, the dedicated and independent program for young designers, is at the center of this evolution.

As the big fashion weeks around the world rethink how to better connect with the public, the emergence of a unique model in Shanghai is providing important lessons for the fashion industry on leading change and creating fashion. ‘initiatives that resonate with Generation Z.

With more than 110 parades on the official program, the new spring 2022 season (under the theme The Future is Now) at SHFW took place at its symbolic address of Xintiandi and a new location for strategic partner Labelhood: The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation Pavilion. (which was among the most iconic moments of the season on the catwalks).

Additionally, highlights from a bunch of showrooms and activations, including a special pop-up collaboration with Gen-Z content-sharing and social-networking site Xiaohongshu, helped this fashion week take off. stand out in terms of engagement with young audiences.

Here, Daily Jing presents what you need to know about the event.

Pop-up influencer community

The Xiaohongshu social networking platform, where users share notes on lifestyles, food and travel, has become one of the country’s fastest growing social networking sites along with Chinese youth. According to statistics from the data site qian-gua.com, 46% of Xiaohongshu residents are Gen Z between the ages of 18 and 24.

This season, those numbers have been used at the forefront of SHFW as it moves Labelhood’s vibrant digital content community offline through a series of pop-up retail stores and booth displays. Selective designer boutiques, jewelry and lifestyle brands, and even cafes were among the attendees. These Xiaohongshu blogger-owned boutiques offered the personal touch of “social media culture” to fashionistas and created an interactive space that drew a wider range of young visitors to the venue.

“I think Labelhood’s collaboration with Xiaohongshu is very relevant,” said Adam Wang, who works in branding for a large Chinese clothing company. “I saw the pop-up stores on the site and was very impressed.” Considering that Xiaohongshu is the leading Chinese social media site for fashion, setting up a designated Xiaohongshu space at Shanghai Fashion Week was a victory as it naturally attracts a young crowd and increases the visibility of Labelhood in online to a wider audience.

Live streaming, virtual idols and immersive shows

When it comes to live streaming during Fashion Weeks, the event has taken to a new level by adding more layers by collaborating with video sites and creating an ecosystem with a more complete social media presence. allowing to connect with the general public.

For its campaign with Douyin (the Chinese version of TikTok), SHFW launched a young designer stimulation program to support emerging designers in their branding; Additionally, for the MashaMa, Ivan Yong, DO NOT TAG, and SHUSHU / TONG runway shows, Douyin invited industry figures to provide live commentary from industry figures to help them decode their runway looks.

Azi, a member of the virtual idol group on the Bilibili video streaming platform, made a strategic appearance on the podium of the Zl II CI IEN label. The appearance of virtual KOL advanced SHFW’s tradition of exploring hot trends via digital pop stars – a strategy familiar to internet-native Gen Zers.

Chinese clothing brand ZI II CI IEN called on virtual idol Azi for their Spring / Summer 2022 show.

The immersive shows were another highlight of a season that seduced this population particularly inspired by experiential mediums. Labelhood’s opening performance on October 8, titled Romance of China, took place in a theatrical setting featuring four love stories from different historical eras. Meanwhile, on October 12, LILY Business Fashion moved its runway to immersive art collective teamLab Borderless Shanghai for its new collaboration series with STAR WARS.

Solidarity forums

Chinese Gen Z and Millennials are very committed to important social causes, and SHFW’s position on social issues has built even more bridges with the country’s youth. This season, the Fashion Week Committee looked at the central societal topic of this demographic: sustainable fashion and women’s empowerment.

According to a 2020 study conducted by the non-profit climate change advocacy organization China Youth Climate Action Network (CYCAN), 84% of respondents (all aged 18 to 24) admitted that they were aware of the urgency of the fight against climate change. The M SPACE forum, held at the MODE fair, featured an elaborate selection of panels and exhibits focusing on topics such as sustainability, the intersection of fashion and biodiversity and the future of sustainable fashion within the framework of the country’s peak carbon and neutrality targets.

At the same time, Labelhood has specifically dedicated two collaborative exhibitions to sustainable fashion: CONVERSE x Youtopia Create Next and Sustainable Fashion Lab x Youtopia by RISE The magazine canUjoin, which deals with the enduring aesthetic of the canU fashion platform, has been displayed at numerous event venues.

Converse partnered with Youtopia, a fashion art platform under Labelhood, for a creative show that encouraged waste reduction and reuse of old products.

Additionally, with an increasing number of female-centric reality shows and dramas hitting Chinese screens over the past year, there has been more talk of women’s empowerment and gender equality on social networks.

The program included the first Women’s-themed Forum (Her Power Fashion Conversation) initiated by the SHFW Ambassador and former Elle China editor-in-chief Xiao Xue. It shed light on important topics such as entrepreneurship, body positivity and women’s empowerment; guest panelists included Generation Z models such as Chinese model Liu Wen and Chinese lingerie brand Neiwai founder Lia Xiaolu, among others.

Young audience on the catwalks

Notably, there are always two sessions for the Labelhood fashion shows each season at Shanghai Fashion Week: one for professionals, the other is fully open to the public. Tickets can be redeemed for points earned through Labelhood purchases and this special arrangement has greatly contributed to the diversity and inclusiveness of audiences.

According to a Labelhood spokesperson, the audience for the second session was mostly between 18 and 25 years old. For Wang, this pioneering strategy cultivates an audience. “No other fashion week in the world has done this before,” he said, referring to the points-for-tickets system. “This opens a window for people outside of the inner fashion circle to get a glimpse of Fashion Week, which shows the week’s commitment to community building and will help improve B2C.” [business to consumer] Labelhood template.

Indeed, many students have attended Labelhood shows like Yadi Peng, a 22 year old media student. “Shanghai Fashion Week is like a festival, a celebration for every young person in the city,” she said. “Compared to the Fashion Weeks in New Zealand and Australia that I attended, I feel like the attendees are from diverse backgrounds and quite young. Some of them are bloggers, artists or work in public relations, media and advertising.

Claire Huang, a 23 year old graduate from Central Saint Martins and a micro-influencer on Xiaohongshu, (she was one of the ephemeral store owners in the Labelhood offline community space). As a newcomer to the fashion industry, Huang admitted that the opportunity to become a “participating member” has helped her meet buyers, potential clients and fashion professionals. “I learned so much about the industry,” she noted. “I think Shanghai Fashion Week is unique in its efforts to empower the younger community, both in terms of supporting young designers or just thinking about the needs of the younger generation in general.”

Founder of Labelhood, Tasha Liu is at the heart of this success: “We are very proud to define our own ‘Shanghai Model’ on the global stage at Fashion Week. We will continue to empower this new generation of designers and give a voice to a younger audience. With a strategic agenda that has received a positive reception from the younger Chinese generation, Shanghai Fashion Week posed a valid question to the industry’s Big Four: As Generation Z gradually conquers the world, how global fashion connect with them?

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