It’s time for #GENERASIAN
#Generasian- Placing China’s Millennials on a Pedestal
Entering a new global movement where hiding our origins was something of the past.
Photo by Hugh O’Malley, makeup by Cristina Bodea, wearing AFL
I recently watched a 2015 Chinese “Gossip” movie, called the Perfect Partner, staring seriously major celebs ( i.e think of the equivalent of Jessica Alba and Ashton Kutcher) where the handsome protagonist of the movie bluntly states in a conference room “ We all know the American dream no longer exists, now it has come forth to the start of the Chinese dream” , although you can say ‘its just a movie who cares’, this movie is showcased to millions of people on a nationwide level where it is not only a strong statement but also an actual movement that is currently occurring in China slowly encrusting itself in the mindsets of millennials. In general, during my University experience in Canada, there was a large influx of Chinese students going abroad to seek for better education and jobs, but now they’ve started to stay in their country for education, or if they do decide to study abroad for experience, they are almost definite to come back after a year or two.
#Generasian; the millennial generation of uncertainty, challenge and probably the generation with the largest cultural and political gap between the early 80’s and late 90’s.
‘My parents and most of their generations ( in their late 50’s) were born very poor under a severe communist rules, its really crazy to see my life now and the large contrast I have in between my parents and I . Most of us are a single child where all of our parents focus, energy, and money have been centered around us. They have also been brought up with very traditional rules where its sometimes hard to connect with them, I can really see a large generation and perception gap between my parents and I.’ says a millenial Chinese Fashion blogger during a media lunch.
“Post 90’s, it’s a totally different generation, It’s the ‘Me Generation.’ It’s about my identity, it’s about my feelings, it’s about how I see the world. They’re not just a younger version [of the existing consumer]. That’s why I was adamant I wouldn’t call it Vogue Girl or Teen Vogue [because] I don’t want people to mistake me for just doing a younger Vogue. Young Chinese consumers like the readers of Vogue Me have significant spending power but they also have very different attitudes and values in comparison to the next generation up. Typically,they are less wedded to brands and more open to mixing global brands with local labels and at a variety of price points“. says Angelica Cheung to BOF and McKinsey (2016 Report).
Indeed, with Alibaba owning over 80% of China’s total e-commerce (B2B ,B2C and C2C with Taobao and Tmall), 70% of total e-commerce transactions being from smart phones only, 11.11 record breaking sales of +10 billion RMB created in less than an hour theres no wonder why so many brands today are seeking to tap in to China’s millennial spending power. Moreover, todays competition between TMALL and JD is one of the most dynamic ones in e-commerce history ( a B2C corporation versus a platform) along with Didi vs Uber, where China as of last year has become to be officially the largest investor in R&D and digital technology creating centralized hubs most concentrated in Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Beijing.
Laura Biagiotti FW16/17
Going from the initiation of Anna Wintour’s Met Ball “China through the Looking Glass”, WHITE Milano showcasing White East and entering its first tradeshow in China this season, Cheung creating VOGUEME for the post 90’s generation, as well designer labels and brands placing China on a global pedestal; from renown Designers showcasing their F/W collection inspired by China’s traditional culture (i.e. Laura BIAGIOTTI) to recently Victoria’s Secret showcasing their iconic show with a record number of Chinese models strutting down this year’s annual show wearing dragon-like-themed outfits paying some tribute to China culture (which did not receive positive feedback on China’s social media channels).
An Instagram post by Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show model Xiaowen Ju, with three other Chinese supermodels in the show Ming Xi, Sui He, and Liu Wen.
Indeed, we can also see a geographic correlation between the rise of China’s economy with emerging Chinese designers that have been recognized by key media and influencers on a global level going from Guo Pei, Uma Wang, Mashama, Annakiki to Yangli, Simon Gao, Jinnn, and Angel Chen who’ve all presented during the 4 international fashion weeks in the objective of conquering the international market while penetrating successfully / credibly into the local Chinese market.
Global retailers and luxury powerhouses such as Shiatzy Chen, Shanghai Tang ( Richemont Group), Shang Xia ( Hermès) and Qeelin ( Kering Group) are also heavily investing into the new coming trend “Made in China” trend where most have been taking traditional western elements and combining them with historical Chinese craftsmanship in order to lure China’s future generation.
Shanghai Tang FW17/Homewear
On a smaller scale, many emerging young designers are also joining the “made in china” movement creating more sustainable and customizable production. ByFang, Yuzhe Studios, Mozaik, Heirloom, and Arete are only some examples of young labels promoting this trend where we can see a significant consumer transition from Logos to Designer brands year over year.
“Hopefully along with the other artists and designers creating new and original work in China, “Proud to be Made in China” will be a common phrase in the future” says Alex, co-founder of YUZHE Studios.
“Millenial power on the rise leads to China’s future consumer becoming more austere, individual and lifestyle-conscious” – Bain &Co states. Chinese Millenials are taking more self-focused decisions with the need for exclusivity and personal individuality.
There’s no doubt that today’s global fashion era has been centered around the current #generasian of China, the question is how long will it last?