For luxury and fashion brands, the key to connecting with their local audience base is to constantly monitor China’s fast-growing influencer pool.
Although top influencers, some of whom were featured in WWD’s 2021 influencer roundup, continued to act as brand guardians, a number of new faces quickly emerged to gain popularity on China’s social media platforms and satisfy netizens’ needs 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 ever-younger fashion consumer.
Here, WWD takes a look at nine up-and-coming 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 her VR filter designs 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 over 68,000 followers on Xiaohongshu and a combined 80,000 followers on her personal and artistic Instagram accounts. Known for her signature style and ever-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 often echo classic Hollywood films. Aside from being a certified cool girl, Kwok is also known for her classy spring terrace at the popular Taikoo Li Sanlitun shopping mall. With over 130,000 followers on Instagram and Xiaohongshu combined, Kwok has collaborated on social campaigns with Loro Piana, Burberry, Valentino, Loewe and Hermès.
Model and fashion designer Xue Chen began her modeling career while studying fashion at the London College of Fashion. Chen previously worked with Balenciaga, Off-White and Miu Miu before returning to China amid the height of the pandemic in 2020. With over 110,000 followers on Instagram and Xiaohongshu combined, Chen has used her influence to grow her own fashion brand, Cfierce. Short for “cute and wild,” the brand is influenced by Japanese anime and British hardcore punk and has over 200,000 followers on Taobao, a Chinese e-commerce platform.
Founder of loungewear brand Homeism and fashion consultant, Ling started her career in New York, but returned to China at the start of the 2020 pandemic. Known for her monochrome and relaxed style, Ling has more than 860,000 followers on Instagram and Xiaohongshu combined. Ling is a frequent collaborator of Burberry, Prada, Bottega Veneta, Totême and Audi. More recently, she has started producing her own social media campaigns for Burberry and Audi.
Jun Huang, a former fashion magazine editor known as “miaorenshisan” on Xiaohongshu, launched his career as an influencer early last year with a series of perfume-focused videos. 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 endeavor, Huang has recently collaborated with Guerlain, Frédéric Malle, Chanel Beauty and Harrods on social media activations and hosted VIP salons to share his olfactory know-how.
Hang Chen, a former model casting agent based in Shanghai, is a self-taught photographer who launched a Xiaohongshu account called “Streetsnap Shanghai” in late 2020. With a flair for capturing the glamorous moments of Shanghai’s fashionable pedestrians, Chen has quickly become a street favorite. -a stylish account on the platform with over 120,000 followers. In 2022, Chen collaborated with Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Maison Margiela on product campaigns on social media.
With more than 1 million fans on Xiaohongshu, Weibo, Douyin and Instagram combined, Zhuang, better known as Tansuan, has quickly become famous on social media for her Y2K-adjacent e-girl style, enhanced by her doll-like features. Zhuang is a frequent collaborator of Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier, Kenzo, Max Mara and Ganni.
Chen, aka Garlica Princess, is a singer and rising style icon among China’s Gen Z generation. 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 than 380,000 followers on Xiaohongshu. During the pandemic, 22-year-old Chen took a break from her academic career at New York University and debuted in the Chinese singing competition “Girls Like Us.” She has since signed with 88rising and decided to focus on her burgeoning 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.
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 podcast. 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.
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