Friday, May 24, 2024

The 2024 China core trend forecast

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Twenty-twenty-three was a big year of change in China. We saw the post-covid reopening of the nation; amid a rise of localized luxury and fashion campaigns as many Chinese consumers chose to shop and travel domestically as payment and e-commerce systems became more efficient for locals.

Amid these changes, thanks to social media and a globalizing mainstream — from the proliferation of K-pop to the internet culture leading the Y2K revival, Chinese consumers have taken a cue from global trends, as well as adding their own takes via the contribution of New Chinese style, or cartoon-influenced Kidulthood looks.

Jing Daily takes a look at five major core trends that will have a lasting influence well into 2024:

With the rise of China’s guo chao movement as well as the resurgence of hanfu and qipao traditional wear, nostalgic cultural styles and motifs are increasingly being fused and woven into contemporary wear.

“New Chinese style” continues to have its moment. The movement doesn’t have a clear definition, according to Chinese media — but it can be loosely defined as styles that incorporate elements and aspects of traditional Chinese design with modern aesthetics.

We’ve seen this through the incorporation of traditional textiles such as mulberry silk, into contemporary cuts; as well as the usage of mandarin collars on modern jackets and shirts. New Chinese Style has even begun to influence global design, for instance netizens observed that Gucci’s 2023 “Twinsburg” Spring/Summer show carried a number of “Chinese elements” such as floral and bird motifs, as well as silk buttons.

As Jing Daily has reported, this style is here to stay and will continue to evolve into the new year, as the hashtag (#新中式穿搭) has over 814 million views on Xiaohongshu.

Bilibili user Chelle applies fake tattoos and heavy makeup to transform into an ABG. Photo: Bilibili

The phenomenon of the “Asian Baby Girl” or “ABG” (#ABG女孩) hashtag in China has surged since 2020, amassing over 9.8 million posts on Xiaohongshu, a local lifestyle platform — and as Chinese international travel resumes, and with the rise of globalized and multicultural cultures via social media and in real life, the ABG trend can only continue to evolve in 2024.

This movement has sparked numerous beauty and style tutorials across Chinese social media platforms, showcasing the elements of the ABG look: cropped graphic tees, baggy pants, pleated skirts, trucker hats, knee-high socks, white sneakers, tattoos, piercings, bold eyeliner and eyebrows.

With the global influence of K-pop and the rise of Asian celebrities like Blackpink’s Jennie and Chinese rapper Vava, the appeal of the ABG style often lies in signaling a lifestyle associated with having lived or been educated abroad — according to some netizens.

As women’s financial and social agency sees greater awareness and acceptance across China, for some Chinese consumers, the ABG trend will likely continue to see relevance given its association with women’s independence, worldliness and freedom of self-expression in the nation.

Photo: Loewe, Montblanc
Photo: Loewe, Montblanc

As China’s youth embrace “exquisite poverty,” in addition to “lying flat” — speaks to the Gen Z and millennial rejection of societal pressures to overwork and excel. As a consequence, the trend of kidulthood, or channeling and celebrating one’s inner child via fashion and self-expression, continues to be relevant among younger generations. According to Chinese Xiaohongshu, the hashtag “cartoon style (#元气卡通风) has over 45 million views.

In June 2023, China’s youth unemployment rate skyrocketed to 21.3%, significantly higher than the US rate of 7.5%. Dissatisfaction is also on the rise among those employed — due to long hours and low pay, prompting burnt-out individuals to either quietly resign, outright quit their jobs, or seek unconventional ways to earn extra income.

We foresee kidulthood as a continued means of escapism and form of respite, amid these uncertain times in China and the world.

Image: Xiaohongshu
Image: Xiaohongshu

2023 saw the global return of old money style across. From the New England-esque American aristocracy presented at Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2023 ready-to-wear collection, to the subtly confident rise of quiet luxuryunderstated old wealth is not just popular in the West. In China, “Old Money Style” (#老钱风), amassed 49 million views on Xiaohongshu by mid-2023, drawing inspiration from the quiet luxury movement.

Chinese media forecasts that related trends such as revised plaids, off-season suedes and bright polo shirts will see popularity in 2024. Brands that embody old-school prep and old money style including Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Hermes are seeing greater relevance in the nation.

Savvy netizens are also sharing tutorials on how to do Old Money Style without breaking the bank. Across Taobao, a search for Old Money Style leads to quiet luxury looks that cost under $20 each. Ultimately, we predict a continuation of the trend in both fast fashion and luxury — although there will be a greater emphasis on the importance of investing in genuine statement pieces.

Image: Sohu
Image: Sohu

While in the west, we are seeing new Y2K-related trends such as the controversially-named “Opiumcore,” China has come up with its own spin on the aughts. The diversification and evolution of China’s Y2K look will result in greater mixing and matching between retro and futuristic elements, according to local media. “Casual, sexy, but cold,” consumers who channel Y2K in China seek respite from modern day life, needing moments of escapism via edgy, fun fashions.

In China, American models and influencers such as Bella Hadid will continue to influence local iterations of the trend. On Xiaohongshu, the “Bella Style” (Bella风 or #跟着Bella学穿搭) boasts more than 36 million views. We predict localized versions of the trend as Chinese consumers seek out baggy pants, crop tops, long denim skirts, cargo mini skirts, that flatter Asian figures.

  • New Chinese Style: Traditional motifs fused with modern aesthetics continue to influence fashion, exemplified by over 814 million views on Xiaohongshu for the hashtag #新中式穿搭, signaling a lasting trend.
  • Asian Baby Girl (ABG) Phenomenon: The ABG trend, boasting over 9.8 million posts on Xiaohongshu, evolves with globalized influences like K-pop, reflecting women’s independence and worldliness in China.
  • Kidulthood: Amid rising youth unemployment and dissatisfaction, the trend of celebrating one’s inner child through fashion, seen in the 45 million views of “cartoon style” on Xiaohongshu, provides escapism for China’s younger generation.
  • Old Money Style and Quiet Luxury: Quiet luxury, inspired by old money style, gains traction with 49 million views on Xiaohongshu, with both fast fashion and luxury sectors embracing the trend and emphasizing investment in statement pieces.
  • Y2K Revival: China’s unique spin on the Y2K trend blends retro and futuristic elements, with influences from American models like Bella Hadid, as seen in over 36 million views for “Bella Style” on Xiaohongshu, catering to local tastes for edgy, fun fashion.

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