7 Fashion Trends to Look for in China in 2024

Here’s how Chinese fashionistas are putting a local spin on global trends — and how you can refresh your wardrobe for the new year!

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3:54 PM HKT, Fri January 12, 2024 3 mins read

New year, same question: what pieces should I add to my closet to channel a new year’s energy? At the beginning of 2024, a wardrobe refresh is as essential as New Year’s resolutions. SS24 runway shows have provided us with a glimpse of the 2024 fashion scene: while introducing new elements, designers are adding sparkle to the trends we already love. Low-waist maxi skirts, butterflies, bows, and metallics are complementary to the nerd-adjacent preppy style. And socks that really pop are here to surprise. Though these trends are shaped by international brands, expect people in China to put a creative spin on things by injecting unique Eastern aesthetics and showcasing local brands. My fashion-inclined friends, consider this roundup as your guide to prepare for the new year.

Back to the 90s

Faye Wong

Faye Wong killin’ it and a 90s-inspired look from Marni.

SS24 fashion shows indicated that 90s fashion is here to stay, and Wong Kar-wai’s recent TV debut, Blossoms Shanghai, offered a peek into the unique world of Chinese fashion in the 90s. If the renowned director’s films were visual poetry infused with evocative colors, his first TV show demonstrates the classic glamor and poise exuded from 90s fashion. As the show hints at, the trifecta of this retro vibe comprises a turtleneck, a blazer, and a maxi skirt. Think Faye Wong, China’s eternal 90s it girl. This nostalgia comes with highly-saturated, vibrant colors, floral prints, maxi dresses, and turtlenecks.

Metallic, homespun charm

Diesel and M essential metallic

Diesel’s metallic dress and a dragon-inspired take from M essential.

In 2023, the final season of Succession fostered heated discussion of the Roy family on Chinese social media. Shiv’s outfits, which showcase simply cut, well-tailored pieces in neutral colors, have become a fashion bible for Chinese girls looking to jump into old money style. But in the Year of the Dragon, it’s time to embrace some ostentatiousness. Dragons have long been associated with power in China, and what’s better than honoring this symbolism through shimmering metallic fabrics? Armani’s shiny trousers and Diesel’s glossy dress have proved the metallic magic, but M essential’s embellishments have taken things a step up. Spraying sprinkles in the shape of a dragon on a silky qipao dress, the Chinese brand infused the allure of extravagance into exquisite Oriental aesthetics.

Take a bow

Shushu/Tong bows

Bows from Shushu/Tong.

Balletcore, represented by ribbon hair bows, was a hit on Xiaohongshu in 2023. Taking bows to the next level in 2024, brands like our beloved Shanghai-based Shushu/Tong are dotting them on fabrics. As spotted on 2024 spring runways, this dainty accessory or detail adds a romantic, elegant layer to every look, radiating ultimate feminine energy that softens the overall silhouette. It’s not an overstatement that bows are gonna dominate the new year. In 2024, let’s take a bow.

Butterflies in the spotlight

Dior butterfly

Dior’s butterflies.

Butterflies are everywhere in Dior’s Cruise 2024 collection. The luxury fashion house initiated a butterfly rendezvous by incorporating the element into accessories, shoes, bags, and garment pieces. To Chinese fashion lovers, Dior’s use of butterflies has a spiritual meaning: they symbolize transformation, rebirth, and renewal, a reminder that we can elegantly move beyond any challenge. Following Dior’s example, we can expect to see more butterflies in the Chinese fashion scene as a gesture to bring good luck.

Hippie preppy

Hippy Preppy

Preppy with varying amounts of hippie, from Dries Van Noten (left) and Vivienne Westwood (right).

A remix of chaos and academia, subversive preppiness – highlighted by matching cropped shirts with mini skirts or shorts – is a rebellious twist to the original preppy style. Back in 2022, when the ubiquitous cargo skirt was cut and shredded, paired with a matching cut-off shirt and sweater, Miu Miu ushered us into this new era of preppy style. This year, Miu Miu and other brands like Gucci reinforced the trend in their SS24 shows. As more young Chinese women defy traditional feminine beauty standards by rejecting high heels and adopting buzz cuts, the subversive preppy style is a bold challenge to good girl aesthetics. What’s better than releasing the rebellious girl inside in the new year?

Nerdy but not a nerd

The Knockout glasses

The character Gao Qilan, played by actress Cheng Longni in The Knockout, got many interested in nerdy glasses.

Suddenly, everyone is wearing rectangular frames. The 2023 crime show The Knockout (狂飙) made the “high intelligence look” go viral in China, thanks to the way that character Gao Qilan oozes composed charm from behind her glasses. Also, as seen in our social media feeds through fashion icons like Bella Hadid and Gabbriette, geek chic clearly had momentum in 2023. Given the rise of the nerd-adjacent style chaperoned by Miu Miu and the global recognition of Gentle Monster, the Korean eyewear brand that has transformed glasses fashion, more and more people will don plastic frames in the new year to spice up their daily wear and have fun with the office-lady-meets-academic look.

Plus Socks

Almond Rocks and MSGM socks

Almond Rocks’ fun, flashy socks and a sock-forward look from MSGM.

Fashion pass or faux pas? The debate over wearing socks with sandals has lasted for years, but as seen in the SS24 catwalk, fashion houses have decided to line up behind socks. Moschino and MSGM paired knee-high socks with open-toed sandals, while Shushu/Tong took a step further by layering over-the-knee stockings on ballet flats. The Chinese sock brand Almond Rocks has already foreseen the trend by launching colorful and bubbly sock collections. Take this as a sign to grab new pairs of socks and get creative with the socks and sandals combination!

Banner image by Haedi Yue; other images via noted brands.

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