Chinese consumers are following suit as their favorite celebrities cut ties with foreign brands.
Last week, several international brands such as H&M, Nike, Adidas, Puma and New Balance made accusations against China of forced labor on Xinjiang’s ethnic Uighur minorities, thereby refusing the use of cotton from the region.
The allegations led to a public backlash and furor in Chinese social media. Following this, some 40 celebrities including Yang Mi (楊冪), Ni Ni (倪妮), Dilraba Dilmurat (迪麗熱巴), TFBoys‘ Jackson Yee (易烊千璽), Wang Yibo (王一博), William Chan (陳偉霆), and Eason Chan (陳奕迅) terminated their lucrative contracts with these foreign brands. Public statements regarding their support of Xinjian cotton were publicized on their social media in a high-profile move.
Celebrities Support Chinese Brands, Li Ning and Warrior
To voice their support for Xinjiang cotton, more celebrities have started wearing Chinese brands, igniting the popularity of these locally-produced fashion labels.
Share prices of Li Ning, an athletic brand created by the Olympic award-winning gymnast of the same name soared. Leveraging on the positive hype, artiste Xiao Zhan (肖戰) was quickly promoted as the brand’s official spokesperson. Celebrities Deng Chao (鄧超), Zhang Zhehan (張哲瀚), Huang Yi (黃奕) and Cecilia Cheung (張栢芝) were sported in the brand’s attire and sneakers.
Besides Li Ning, other Chinese brand Warrior shoes were another favorite among fashion icons Yang Mi (杨幂), Janice Man (文詠珊), Gong Jun (龔俊), and Chris Lee (李宇春). Known for her chic couture-meets-streetwear style, Yang Mi was recently spotted in black and white checkered canvas shoes from Warrior in her latest drama The Two-Eight Law of Love <愛的二八定律>.
Recognized as a fashion influencer, Janice Man, who had been a fan of Warrior’s white canvas shoes even before the Xinjiang controversy, also swung fans to support the brand.
Warrior WOS33 shoes were snapped up so quickly on e-commerce platform Taobao in various hues and sizes, such that the inventory could not be replenished fast enough. Chris Lee and Gong Jun’s styles, priced around 100 Chinese yuan, were especially popular with their classic pairings and minimalist chic yet retro looks.
However, some accused Warrior of plagiarizing American brand VANS’ designs, though Warrior had a history dating way back to 1927 while VANS only entered the market in 1966, on top of the subjectivity of design.