Luxury fashion brand’s unique cultural collaboration in Asian markets

Luxury brands are innovating their approach to adapt to the changing times. Setting a new stage for collaboration like before. Leading to an increase in engagement with various customer groups and increased revenue. The evolving dynamics in the luxury branding sector are breaking the quintessential traditional luxury rules. Making luxury no longer an elusive concept. The collaboration is here to prove that luxury fashion houses are more than open to exploring new ways of engagement that resonate with the new age consumers. Especially when it comes to bringing the younger generations interested in their brands.

Luxury fashion brands are partnering with artisans, artists, cultural associations and institutions, and even other brands. Which is offering luxury brands a road to new market segments as they bring in a sense of inclusivity. Over the past decade, these collaborations have become an integral part of business development and digital outreach strategy for luxury brands.

Let’s look at some of the leading partnerships in the luxury sector in the recent past:

Fendi’s Hand in Hand exhibition in Beijing, 2023

The Italian luxury house this year embarked on an artistic journey at the Temple Beijing, China. Fendi partnered with the local artisans of China for a reinterpretation of the iconic Fendi Baguette. Making this their unique comeback to China post-Covid-19. With an aim to reconnect with its local audience and foster a dialogue on cultural exchange. The spotlight was on Axi Wuzhimo, the 61-year-old artisan. An embroiderer from southwest China who was donning a traditional attire representing the Yi ethnicity.

Hand in Hand exhibition by the global luxury house was on their third stop in China, after Rome and Tokyo. Fendi co-curated this showcase in China with singer Ji Ke Junyi and art collector Kylie Ying. The exhibition presented a harmonious blend of traditional Chinese elements and contemporary art. What was most notable was the fusion of Italian and Yi ethnicity cultural heritage that gave birth to some extraordinary handbags. The exhibition featured two iconic handbags from Fendi, the baguette and the peekaboo.

Fendi’s Hand in Hand exhibition was beyond the realms of a fashion showcase. It was considered a cultural journey that bridged the artisanal and cultural crafts of Italy and China. It was open to the public until June 16, 2023.

Dior Indian cultural exchange for pre-fall 2023

The French luxury house early this year launched its pre-fall collection in India embarking on its Indian cultural exchange. The Dior 2023 pre-fall collection was showcased at the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai. The event engaged an array of international and Indian celebrities like Maisie Williams, Freida Pinto, Liza Koshy, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, and Rekha amongst others.

This also marked Dior’s collaboration with the Mumbai-based atelier Chanakya School of Craft. Chanakya is deeply rooted in preserving the training artisans with a variety of Indian fine embroidery styles. Experts in their field, this has not been their first collaboration with Dior. The work of the talented Indian artisans set against the backdrop of Gateway of India became the talk of the town for weeks. Magnificent evening jackets, elegant silk dresses, and skirts featuring desi-inspired patterns and motifs.

Dior’s aim with this was not simply to showcase their new collection honouring Indian crafts, but also to raise funds for charity through this event. They managed to bring luxury, fashion, culture, and philanthropy into one night.

Interesting fact: This is not Dior’s first rendezvous with India. The book ‘Homi J Bhabha: A Life’ talks about Dior’s showcase in India over 60 years ago. The luxury fashion atelier had models walk down the ramp in 1962 at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai

GucciFest in Tokyo, 2020

The Italian luxury house celebrated a unique festival of film and fashion in Tokyo. This 2020 collaboration was a week-long virtual extravaganza infused with artistic expression, international collaboration, and a deep appreciation for Japanese culture. Called the GucciFest, it captured the hearts and minds of many global critics and audiences.

Film and Fashion Fusion. GucciFest was essentially a series of short films in collaboration with Japanese director Akinola Davies Jr. These films were about showcasing the latest creations from the luxury house and a creative exploration of contemporary fashion. The Japanese director added a distinct Japanese influence that emphasized the brand’s cultural inclusivity.

The Japanese influence. Gucci’s choice of direction, storylines, and display of their ensembles via the GucciFest were an acknowledgment of the influence of Japanese culture as being the key theme. This series of short films was rich with Japanese heritage. They included many elements from Japanese culture like simple design elements and the incorporation of traditional Japanese aesthetics. At a global scale, the GucciFest drew in fashion, film buffs, and cultural enthusiasts. The digital format allowed a global audience to access the short films. Many leading fashion critics called it a celebration of creativity, cultural fusion, and a step in the evolution of luxury fashion.

Prada x China’s Women’s National Football Team, 2023

The Italian fashion house Prada signed an official partnership with China’s women’s national football team known as the Steel Roses. This unique collaboration came in time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Steel Roses have won the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 and have been rising in popularity. With this championship in their bag and a Prada partnership, the internet has been abuzz. On the Chinese microblogging website Weibo, the announcement generated significant buzz with the hashtag ‘This time, Prada picked the right person/ team’ that trended over 470 million views.  There is an official Prada uniform for the team that features a black Prada blazer and matching dress pants, a crisp button-down shirt, and sleek Prada loafers.

The collaboration extends beyond the football field. It underscores Prada’s commitment to aligning with Chinese cultural and sporting excellence. Helping and leading to enhance their market presence in the country with a cultural connection.

Other examples in the Asian market are:

Givenchy’s collaboration with Mr. Bags’ Voyou Bags, 2023

The luxury house partnered with a famous Chinese influencer Tao Liang, known as Mr. Bags, to create a limited-edition run of the Voyou bag.

Fendi’s collaboration with Kengo Kuma’s Eco-friendly accessories, 2023.

A partnership of the global luxury fashion house with renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma for a menswear collection line. Using eco-friendly materials reflecting Japan’s craft techniques and sustainability.

Embracing cultural exchange is becoming a new focus for the luxury sector. It’s a way to connect with a diverse audience and use the power of cross-cultural dialogue. Strengthens the brand’s international appeal and resonance with a global audience.