For luxury and fashion brands, tapping into China’s fast-growing group of influencers is key to connecting with local audiences.
While top influencers, some of whom were featured in WWD’s 2021 influencer list, continued to act as gatekeepers for brands, a slew of fresh faces quickly emerged, garnering likes on Chinese social media platforms and satisfying user demand. internet for news and novelty.
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These influencers, otherwise known as KOLs in China, also reflect the evolving taste and style of the country’s increasingly youthful fashion consumers.
Here, WWD takes a look at nine rising Chinese fashion influencers who have carved a niche for themselves and captured the attention of fashion and luxury brands.
Ming Ma, a digital artist known for designing VR filters and fashion installations, began her career as an influencer in China after studying at the School of Visual Arts and The New School in New York. Ma has amassed more than 68,000 followers on Xiaohongshu and a combined 80,000 followers on her personal and artistic Instagram accounts. Known for her quirky style and constantly changing hair color, Ma has been featured in social media campaigns for Miu Miu, Valentino, Bottega Veneta, Ugg and Mac Cosmetics.
Beijing-based Chelsea Kwok is known for her retro style and stylized images that are often reminiscent of classic Hollywood movies. Besides being a certified cool girl, Kwok is also known for her newly launched Spring Patio dinner at the popular Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping mall. With more than 130,000 followers on Instagram and Xiaohongshu combined, Kwok has worked on social campaigns with Loro Piano, Burberry, Valentino, Loewe and Hermès.
A model and fashion designer, Xue Chen began her modeling career while studying fashion at the London College of Fashion. Chen previously collaborated with Balenciaga, Off-White and Miu Miu before returning to China at the height of the pandemic in 2020. With more than 110,000 followers on Instagram and Xiaohongshu combined, Chen has used her influence to develop her own fashion brand Cfierce. Short for “sweet and fierce”, the brand is influenced by Japanese anime and British hardcore punk and has over 200,000 followers on Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce platform.
Founder of lounge brand Homeism and fashion consultant, Ling started her career in New York but returned to China at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Known for her monochromatic and casual style, Ling has more than 860,000 followers on Instagram and Xiaohongshu combined. Ling is a frequent collaborator with Burberry, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Totême and Audi. She recently started producing her own social media campaigns for Burberry and Audi.
A former fashion magazine editor known as “miaorenshisan” on Xiaohongshu, Jun Huang began his career as an influencer with a perfume-focused video series early last year. With an engaging storytelling style, the series has helped him attract more than 40,000 followers on Weibo and Xiaohongshu combined. Calling his social media account an intellectual venture, Huang has recently collaborated with Guerlain, Frédéric Malle, Chanel Beauty and Harrods on social media activations and hosted VIP salons to share his fragrance knowledge.
A former model casting agent based in Shanghai, Hang Chen is a self-taught photographer who launched a Xiaohongshu account called “Streetsnap Shanghai” in late 2020. With an eye for capturing the charming moments of fashionable pedestrians in Shanghai, Chen has quickly become the most popular street-style account on platform with more than 120,000 followers. In 2022, Chen collaborated with Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Maison Margiela on product-based social media campaigns.
With more than 1 million fans on Xiaohongshu, Weibo, Douyin and Instagram combined, Zhuang, better known as Tansuan, quickly became famous on social media for her Y2K style close to e-girls, enhanced by doll-like facial features. Zhuang is a frequent collaborator of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier, Kenzo, Max Mara and Ganni.
Chen, or Garlic Princess, is a singer and rising style icon among China’s Generation Z. Known for her jazzy hip-hop renditions of pop songs, Chen has amassed over 40,000 followers on Instagram, over 1.3 million followers on Douyin and more of 380,000 followers on Xiaohongshu. During the pandemic, Chen, 22, took a break from her academic career at New York University and made her debut on “Girls Like Us,” a Chinese singing competition. She has since signed to 88rising and decided to focus on her rising music career. Chen’s eye-catching Y2K style has caught the attention of brands such as Valentino Beauty, Chinese designer brand Windowsen and a number of domestic fashion brands.
The Stochastic Volatility podcast was founded by three former journalists — Shiye Fu, Zhiqi Zhang, and Jianguo Leng — in 2020. With insightful commentary on women’s issues and social issues, Stochastic Volatility quickly became the most popular podcast on Little Universe, China’s largest podcasting platform. With over 1.2 million followers on Little Universe and the Podcast app combined, Stochastic Volatility has collaborated with Kering, Blancpain, Neiwai and Lexus on in-depth audio content.
Launch Gallery: China’s Rising Influencers to Watch in 2023
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