Alexander Wang

Did Alexander Wang’s unfashionable marketing work?

A keen sense of social media hotspots has become a lever for fashion brands to turn around.


According to the Fashion Business News, the American designer brand Alexander Wang recently invited the short video creator @ Simeiko, who has more than 4.45 million fans in Tiktok, to present the early autumn 2022 series of new products with three unique short videos, which attracted wide attention and attracted more than 3 million views and 100000 likes on Alexander Wang’s official Instagram account, nearly 100 times the number of views of other videos under the account.


The short video creator Si Meizi, who originated from Tiktok, is a four person female group. She has attracted wide attention because of her short films of national style cheongsam and traditional female etiquette teaching. So far, she has more than 4.45 million fans and more than 44 million admirers. The fan picking video, which was remade by Alexander Wang, is also the most liked and widely recognized among the four beauty accounts, representing their typical video style and storyline pattern.


According to Alexander Wang’s official introduction, this collaboration is a reinterpretation of Simeko’s previously popular “Etiquette” series of short videos, colliding the elegance of Chinese ancient style with contemporary American fashion, highlighting Alexander Wang’s respect for traditional Chinese etiquette.


However, this kind of creative collision has encountered a cold reception in the domestic market.


According to the statistics of the WeChat official account LADYMAX, the three videos released by Alexander Wang’s Tiktok account have received less than 200 likes, less than 300 likes from Xiaohongshu, and more than 200000 views from Weibo. Different from the enthusiastic interaction of public opinion on Instagram platform for such creativity, domestic social media seems not friendly to unfashionable marketing like Alexander Wang.


Many critics have expressed their disapproval of entertainment oriented communication methods like Alexander Wang, believing that they are not conducive to the fashionable brand style of Alexander Wang and also tarnish the image of cultural exporting countries. However, some supporters claim that the combination of Alexander Wang and Simeiko has made use of the humorous context popular in European and American social media to give Chinese culture a free ride on fashion creativity and Internet communication, potentially spreading its influence.


Alexander Wang is not unfamiliar with such controversies, and such public opinion may already be within his expectations.


Four months ago, Alexander Wang invited a domestic model specializing in Taobao middle-aged and elderly clothing, Liang Xiaoqing, to shoot three short films, which sparked controversy. Liang Xiaoqing used various poses in the video to showcase Alexander Wang W Legacy leather backpacks and new spring/summer clothing.


Different from this Simeiko video, Liang Xiaoqing, who has a huge contrast with her actual age, has a certain popularity base in social media in Europe and the United States. She once set off a wave of imitation in the overseas version of Tiktok because of her amazing ability of “100 posts per minute”, and again led the Internet carnival with the blessing of Alexander Wang. The videos she shot for the brand have been broadcast more than one million times on Instagram platform.


At that time, these three videos also sparked a lot of discussion and sharing in China, causing the brand’s popularity in the Chinese market to soar. With further in-depth coverage by domestic media, Liang Xiaoqing’s positive attitude towards life and professional dedication have become known to more domestic netizens. According to WeChat Index data, the search popularity for the keywords “Alexander Wang” and “Wang Daren” has significantly increased in the past 7 days of video release, with a daily increase of up to 134% and 2372% respectively.


The two intensive unfashionable marketing shows Alexander Wang’s intention to gain market attention. At the critical juncture of his comeback, Alexander Wang must have believed in the classic saying “All public is good public”.


Since the first sexual harassment scandal was exposed in December 2020, multiple victims have exposed Alexander Wang’s unknown side through their Instagram account @ shitmodelmgmt, causing a stir in the fashion industry. The public opinion of the incident continues to ferment, and the number of followers on Alexander Wang’s own Instagram account has also continued to decline. The number of followers on Alexander Wang’s brand account has decreased by nearly 30000 within three days, and the brand’s operation on social media has also become cautious.


During the year of being boycotted by public opinion, Alexander Wang experienced a period of embarrassment and silence. However, since the beginning of this year, Alexander Wang’s comeback plans have gradually emerged.


On April 19th of this year, Alexander Wang held a fashion show called Fortune City in Los Angeles, and also held various activities to promote Asian American culture, food, and music. It was open to the public and media, allowing Alexander Wang to hold another physical fashion show after a full two years.


From this crucial comeback fashion show, the market vaguely saw that the seasoned Wang Daren was attempting to regain his identity and become a cultural representative of the Asian community in the increasingly sharp national conflicts of American society, which is undoubtedly the best strategy to offset the scandal and salvage the market.


In connection with the unfashionable videos of two Chinese models in April and recently, Alexander Wang’s comeback strategy has become increasingly clear, that is, the main Asian culture traceability.


Although some comments criticize it for consuming Asian culture and pleasing the Asian community. However, judging from the impressive actions of South Korean actress CL Lee Choi lin wearing Alexander Wang on the 2021 Met Gala red carpet and Hollywood actress Liu Yu ling filming her commercial blockbuster, Alexander Wang’s Asian card has already taken effect.


In addition to the aforementioned Asian celebrities, mainstream European and American actresses who had previously avoided sexual harassment incidents have also started to wear Alexander Wang again, including rapper Nicki Minaj who wore Alexander Wang Julie high heels to shoot a new album cover. Julia Fox, a model who gained fame for her bold and avant-garde styling, has recently become one of Alexander Wang’s muses. To show his support, this new social influencer, wearing the brand’s new base lingerie, personally took to the streets of New York to stage for Alexander Wang.


The attention on social media has brought a timely rain to Alexander Wang, and at the same time, he is also working hard to regain his best state in business and creativity.


It is reported that Alexander Wang has signed a contract with the Fulton Market Building in Manhattan to lease a space of 46000 square feet as the global headquarters and showroom, capable of accommodating over 200 employees, for a lease period of 15 years.


Last month, Alexander Wang launched the affordable home clothing collection Bodywear. The increasing demand for home clothing in the post pandemic market has become a consensus, and the new home clothing series reflects Alexander Wang’s efforts to update and iterate the creative direction after a period of creative slack in relying solely on celebrity effects and popular clothing to expand sales.


This Bodywear collection includes men’s and women’s clothing, all made of 100% cotton ribbed material, available in two styles: classic comfort and low rise fashion. In order to promote the Bodywear collection, Alexander Wang not only invited multiple industry friends, supermodels, and internet celebrities to participate in shooting creative advertising blockbusters, but also specially created a taxi wrapped in underwear on the streets of New York, invited Julia Fox to promote it, and played interactive games with pedestrians.


A series of excellent visual packaging has given the new series good market feedback both domestically and internationally. The parallel collection of ready to wear and home clothing may reveal Alexander Wang’s ambition to target the iconic American brand Calvin Klein after his comeback.


Alexander Wang, who has made a preliminary comeback, can be said to have once again seized the opportunity to turn things around and to some extent washed away the negative effects of the scandal. As a popular designer brand in the 2010s, although Alexander Wang has already created the largest brand among designers of the same period and has no one, it can maintain its operation with a lazy best-selling strategy. However, in order to survive in the fierce market competition for a long time and improve qualitatively, it requires greater growth potential.


Asian identity is undoubtedly a clever comeback strategy.


Regardless of the true motivation behind Alexander Wang’s Asian strategy, storytelling, especially self storytelling, is the main theme of contemporary designer brands, whether it is for the sake of maximizing profits or as a creator constantly exploring cultural origins internally. Especially after the Eastern European identity narratives created by Gosha Rubchinskiy and Demna, and the establishment of African identity narratives by designers such as Thebe Magugu and Grace Wales Bonner, Asian identity narratives have always been a gap in the field of fashion creativity.


Unlike some designer brands that rely solely on celebrities and social media to become popular, Alexander Wang, the dark horse who once served as the creative director of Balenciaga, actually has a solid foundation in the field of fashion creativity and has gained authoritative recognition. His brand not only surpassed many contemporary American designer brands of the same period, but also experienced a mismatch between designer brands. More new generation avant-garde designers have not established a relatively mature brand system like Alexander Wang after a brief period of market attention.


Therefore, as a brand, Alexander Wang still has the foundation and opportunities to continue to improve. As a creator, Alexander Wang still has room for breakthroughs in creativity after several years of laziness.


The creativity surrounding Asian identity can be the theme of Alexander Wang’s next chapter. The combination of Chinese culture and American modernity is not only a blank space in fashion creativity, but also determines whether Alexander Wang can develop from an American contemporary designer brand to a global brand.


However, the correctness of Asian American strategy does not mean the feasibility of unfashionable marketing.


Unfashionable marketing is no stranger to Chinese consumers. In August 2020, Balenciaga released the limited handbag series of Qixi on social media, and its unique shooting style and product font caused controversy throughout the network. The microblog topic of # Balenciaga Qixi advertising soil # reached 210 million in just two days, and the WeChat index soared by 316% day on day.


Although many netizens believe that this advertisement is a mockery of Chinese aesthetics, it has not prevented Balenciaga from becoming the winner of a frenzy of luxury brand holiday marketing. From the simplest market perspective, unprecedented discussions have brought tremendous promotion to Balenciaga Hourglass hourglass bags. From the core of brand culture, this marketing is also a continuation of Balenciaga’s aesthetics.


However, it is also unfashionable marketing. Balenciaga and Alexander Wang are not the same. Balenciaga’s sword takes a radical approach to extract the elements of earthy studio style from the early ancient times. On the one hand, it is a reinterpretation of Balenciaga’s absurd aesthetics, and on the other hand, it is necessary to make new ideas in the homogenized Qixi marketing, which in fact fully takes into account the needs of the target market.


Alexander Wang’s unfashionable marketing is more based on following social media hotspots, targeting young European and American markets and Asian groups. While this type of topic marketing can be a one-time attempt, it does not align with Alexander Wang’s consistent brand philosophy. The irony and absurd realism behind unfashionable marketing can not be verified in Alexander Wang’s design all the way.


Most European and American netizens prefer this kind of work more out of fun and curiosity than appreciation. This cultural output leans towards entertainment rather than culture itself, which limits the cultural influence of the output party. Even in an entertainment environment, traditional culture becomes an objectified and gazed upon spectacle, which is the fundamental contradiction that triggers controversy among netizens.


It can be said that Alexander Wang’s exploration of Asian culture is still superficial, and he cleverly avoids the topic itself, making it difficult to truly resonate with the target group.


He established a superficial Internet contact with Asian groups in European and American markets, but such contact can be said to be a “laugh off”. However, Alexander Wang did not establish a true cultural dialogue with the Chinese market from beginning to end. The Chinese market has only become a destination for brand sales, while at the same time, he attempts to draw landscape materials that can cause viral online dissemination to the European and American markets, but these fragmented materials are seriously disconnected from the current Chinese market.


This has also resulted in the wide spread effect of Alexander Wang’s Chinese unfashionable marketing videos at home and abroad. In addition, compared to the short film by Liang Xiaoqing in April this year, the popularity of the Simeizi video, which draws inspiration purely from the Chinese market, has been greatly reduced. According to the statistics of the WeChat official account LADYMAX, the response of the Shimeizi video on the overseas version of TikTok was not satisfactory, with 8000 views and less than 300 likes.


This reflects the rapid decay of a marketing technique and also exposes that Alexander Wang’s sandwich stance has not brought about sustained and constructive consumer relationships.


Whether it’s achieving breakthroughs in Asian themes in creativity or dominating the huge markets of China and the United States in business, Alexander Wang needs to come up with substantial content if he wants to make a comeback.

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