Fashion brands

Can fashion brands find their groove in the street dance scene in China?


Key points to remember:

  • China street dance is the Chinese reality show with the highest commercial value in 2021 to date, attracting nearly 30 brand sponsors in the fashion, beauty and consumer goods industries.

  • While luxury brands still haven’t officially sponsored Chinese reality shows, global names like Calvin Klein and Burberry have found ways to exploit China street dance boom thanks to co-branding.

  • Street dancers make promising KOLs as they not only embody creativity and discipline, but also align with China’s plans to showcase breakdance ahead of the 2024 Olympics.

With global dance battles on hiatus during the pandemic, all eyes have been on China. On August 14, the show competition China street dance returned for a fourth season, inviting professional dancers from around the world to fight for the league title. Aired on Youku and YouTube, the premiere peaked at 4.63 million views – a new record for Chinese variety shows in 2021 – and reached fans in more than 100 countries.

This warm welcome should come as no surprise given the star power of the show’s four team captains, including The Untamed EXO actor Wang Yibo and Lay Zhang. Competitors also come with impressive credentials; in fact, it is difficult to find an actor who is not already world champion. From Japanese lockdown legends GOGO brothers and Hilty & Bosch to French hip-hop king Bouboo, the new season has been compared to a NBA All-Star Game, with 100 international talents waacking, b-boying, and krumping their way to the top.

Corn China street dance it’s not just about showing off new moves – it’s also about serving up fierce looks. Testifying to its influence on fashion, Youku’s dance program even launched its own streetwear brand, SDC, in 2020. When the new season ended in August, SDC’s Tmall flagship store saw its visits increase to 12 times that of the previous month, with an average of 2.35 accessories purchased per person, according to local media.

As China puts its unique stamp on street dancing and exports it around the world, it is also raising fashion, jewelry, and a new KOL cohort with it. Below, Daily Jing examines why luxury brands should join the movement.

The Power of Reality TV (and Wang Yibo)

When it comes to influencing consumer spending, a report from CNBData puts STreet Dance from China in seventh place for 2020, behind other variety shows like Fourtry, Youth with you 2, and Chuang 2020. Since then, however, it has grown into the Chinese reality show with the highest commercial income, attracting nearly 30 brand sponsors including Vivo, Tmall and Shu Uemura. Among them, Champion would have become the leading international fashion brand to sponsor the show.

However, high-end brands are clearly absent from this list. Like Laurence Lim Dally, the founder of Cherry blossoms The intercultural branding underlines that luxury has been slow to officially associate with Chinese reality TV, because these sponsorships “seem very commercial”. In other words, the ads are anything but subliminal: competitors play in the ads, logos decorate the decor, and products aren’t so discreetly placed in a corner during interviews.

Still, some luxury players are finding creative ways to put themselves in the spotlight. Last year, Burberry has become the first luxury brand associate directly with a national variety show when offered free of charge China street dance gifts for the purchase of its goods. And this year, on Little Red Book, the tag “Wang Yibo Same Outfit” (王一博 同 款) gained ground thanks to Internet users identifying the pieces worn by the star and recreating her look. In the first episode, Ambassador Chanel rocked Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, Etro and Maison Kitsuné as he boogied the stage, proving that luxury brands don’t necessarily need streetwear crossovers or official sponsorships to break into. this scene.

Little Red Book users share photos of Wang Yibo’s outfits from the show, which often include luxury brands like Chanel and Givenchy. Photo: Screenshots, Little Red Book

Jewelry has also not fallen behind this trend. Calvin Klein, for his part, recently launched a trendy gift box in partnership with China street dance which includes specially designed pendants, featuring the word “SWAG” and an image of a B-boy. Meanwhile, Chinese brand BABAMA invited the “God of freestyle street dance”, Bouboo, to highlight its line of earrings and necklaces with an industrial look. Thanks to these collaborative tactics, brands have been able to capitalize on both young consumers’ love for the salon and on the country’s $ 100 billion jewelry market.

Calvin Klein (left) launched a gift box co-branded with China street dance, while BABAMA (right) has teamed up with the show’s fan-favorite contender, Bouboo. Photo: Calvin Klein, BABAMA

Street dancers could become fashion’s next KOLs

But as China’s entertainment industry comes under scrutiny, brands looking to break in should be on high alert. In the wake of the deluge of idol scandals, authorities began to ban celebrity popularity lists by cleaning up “chaotic” fan clubs and regulating merchandise sales, among other measures, making KOL appointments more and more popular. and more delicate.

Given this, street dancers can be promising alternatives for brand promotion. Although not as numerous as the “little fresh meat” idols (Season 1 winner Han Yu has 3.2 million Weibo followers while pop stars like Cai Xukun have 36 million) , they contribute more to a brand’s storytelling than just being a pretty face.

In addition to creativity and self-expression, “street dancers in China embody technical performance, determination and a strong sense of competition,” Dally explained. “As such, they can appeal to both male and female audiences, while K-Pop icons are aimed primarily at women.” KUMY and Angel Chen are two local clothing brands that have already taken notice, employing China street dance participants in their advertisements to express themes such as being unique and breaking boundaries.

A positive point in the repression of companies in China?

Additionally, Dally predicts that the risk of censorship with street dance performers is lower because they are athletic, which puts them in tune with China’s recent sports craze. Not only does the country plan to grow its wider sports sector to a value of $ 774 billion by 2025, it is actively cultivating street dancing in build more studios and include the activity in some of its biggest sporting events.

And this dynamic will only accelerate as the Paris 2024 Olympic Games approach, where breakdance will make its debut. As China, no doubt, braces for gold, luxury brands should fight just as fiercely to climb to the top of the next boom in street dancing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.