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An FAQ on Chinese New Year 2023 fashion campaigns + 32 of 'em | Following the yuan
If you want to pay more attention to the largest-luxury-market-to-be, CNY campaigns are a good pace to start.
As someone who started covering fashion with the subject of Chinese New Year campaign, I have a soft spot for it: it’s always a good listicle opportunity, which means easy work; it’s fun when it’s boring, so that I can just sift through beautifully done digital catalogs; it’s more fun when marketing pitfalls present themselves.
If you want to pay more attention to the largest-luxury-market-to-be, which timeline was stalled by Covid (Bain & Company previously said China would get there by 2025), CNY campaigns are a good place to start. And 2023 is a good year to start.
This will be an interesting year for China’s luxury and fashion market with TBD questions: with restrictions behind them, will people be in a happier mood to spend? China just opened borders, will consumers from the mainland flood back to Hong Kong, their old-time favorite shopping destination? Will travel retail in the tropical Hainan Island, and countries that are friendly with Covid restrictions — which does not include South Korea or Japan, according to Beijing — revive?
Here are some questions that I’ve been asked or I’ve asked myself over the years, and my unfiltered, working answers:
Q: When is Chinese New Year?
Short answer is to Google: Chinese New Year + [year]
Just like how Hanukkah is on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar (I googled that), Chinese New Year/Lunar New Year falls on different dates every year.
On the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, the holiday is always the beginning of a new year and it’s typically somewhere around January or February. One year it was the same as Valentine's.
Chinese people have to look up dates every year, too! So no pressure!
Q: Why do brands have different names for it? Is it Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year, Spring Festival or Year of [insert one of the 12 animal names]?
It’s usually one of the first two, and it depends on the target audience. If a brand comes up with a capsule collection (a condensed seasonal collection) that mainly targets mainland China or Chinese living abroad, they call it Chinese New Year.
If they also want to attend to people with Chinese heritage, who identify as citizens elsewhere, then Lunar New Year makes more sense. For example, H&M calls its 2023 New Year campaign in Southeast Asia Lunar New Year.
Spring Festival 春节 is more commonly referred to in Chinese.
Year of the Rabbit is a good add-on to an existing terminology.
To be extra, luxury brands usually give special names to their CNY campaigns. For example, Prada named its 2023 CNY campaign “Memories of Beauty”.
Q: What are the common elements for brands’ Chinese New Year campaigns?
It’s usually a mix and match of:
The red color (can be cliché, which is probably why some chose pink for 2023)
Chinese cultural symbols (e.g. paper cutting and calligraphy, good way to pay tribute)
Big IP (Looney Tunes, Mickey Mouse, etc. but there’s a high chance for duplication, see below)
Self-created illustration/cartoon figures (can be less memorable unless art stands out)
Short films/objects (to show that you’re so high brow you don’t care about sales)
Wild card (once in a blue moon, a brand goes all out)
Q: Do brands launch Chinese New Year campaigns every year?
Not necessarily and not necessarily in the same format.
For example, Bottega Veneta went all out in 2022 for the Year of Tiger with a digital artwork on the Great Wall. This year, they launched an artsy short film.
Q: What are some of your favorite campaigns this year?
Okay, no one really bothered to ask me this, but I’d just like to say, I LOVE Canadian outdoor brand Arc’teryx’s campaign that marries sports and art in a short film.
I’ve been following the Canadian climber Alannah Yip on Instagram and I love that the brand chose her and artist and surfer Zinan Lam, both with Chinese heritage, to represent the spirit. The only critique is I want them to offer more products for the collection! Like a chalk bag-inspired phone bag?
Some unsolicited background: I first bought things from the brand 10 years ago when it was a niche brand for the climbing community (that means I’m cool in case you don't see it). Then, after its parent company Amer Sports was acquired by China’s Anta Group in 2019, and with capital fuelled by Sequoia, it aims to have 120 stores in China before 2024.
Now every time I walk past an Arc’teryx store, I think to myself: this is what money can do. 🤩 Money is amazing. 🤩
Q: What are your favorite fashion items among all the Year of Rabbit campaigns?
Again, no one’s asked me this. But I’d just like to share a few low-key items despite haven’t been wow-ed by any... Sorry about the various currencies, but we aren’t buying anyway right?
Ganni - Relaxed bunny t-shirt US$95
Sandro - Rabbit Print Tech Jacket HK$3,690
Celine - Teen Triomphe Bag in shiny calfskin light pink NT$ 125,000
Q: What else is there for the Year of Rabbit?
Look for yourself!
Here’s a list of 32 fashion brands’ Lunar New Year 2023 (Year of the Rabbit) campaigns, did I miss any? Thanks to's exhaustive list on 2023 outlook reports for inspiration!
Bottega Veneta: https://www.bottegaveneta.com/en-sg/lunar-new-year
Loro Piana: https://hk.loropiana.com/en/c/lunar-new-year
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