Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang Forms Unexpected Alliance With Chinese ‘TikTokers’

Some netizens have applauded the campaign for showcasing traditional Chinese clothing, while others find it cheesy and uncool

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12:18 PM HKT, Wed August 24, 2022 1 mins read

To promote his pre-fall 2022 collection, fashion powerhouse and Chinese American designer Alexander Wang has teamed up with the four qipao influencers behind @Simeizi, a viral account on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.

Wang, whose designs are coveted by high-profile celebrities such as Rihanna, Lucy Liu, Kylie Jenner, and Julia Fox, created his eponymous label in 2005 when he was just 21 years old.

A controversial figure, Wang has been accused of sexual misconduct more than once in the past few years. However, he has made a roaring comeback to the fashion scene, and April 2022 saw his first fashion show in three years.

The Alexander Wang brand, which is synonymous with androgynous fashion, elevated streetwear, and the color black, blends traditional Chinese style with contemporary American fashion for its latest collection, which includes qipaos with Wang’s signature minimalistic touch.

As mentioned earlier, a famous foursome from China starred in three campaign videos for Wang’s pre-fall 2022 collection.

The influencers, who have over 4.4 million followers on Douyin, are known for their short videos in which they carry out highly staged activities, from playing mahjong to dancing to traditional Chinese songs, all while wearing figure-hugging qipaos and high heels.

Despite their popularity in China, the fashion campaign has received mixed reactions. While amassing more than 200,000 likes on Instagram and TikTok, the three videos have scored a dismal 200 likes in total on Douyin. That said, it is fair to note that Wang has a larger following on Western social media.

Traditional Chinese fashion and beauty have experienced a surge of popularity in the West, where hanfu influencers like Mochihanfu and makeup brand Florasis have gained millions of views for their content.

While some netizens have praised the Simeizi ladies for their beauty and for promoting traditional Chinese aesthetics, others find the campaign cheesy and have labeled them tu (土) or tuwei (土味), meaning ‘uncool’ or ‘unfashionable.’

Online comments across different platforms range from “You spend too much time on Douyin, Wang,” to “Alexander Wang keeps doing tuwei stuff!”

It is true that Wang is not new to ‘memefication’ or featuring ‘uncool’ influencers in his fashion campaigns. Only a few months ago, the brand featured Liang Xiaoqing, known in China as the ‘auntie model.’

Though Liang is only 29 years old, she has spent a decade modeling for brands that target middle-aged or older women. She recently made waves again on the Chinese internet thanks to a bizarre video in which she strikes 40 poses in 10 seconds (see above).

“The legitimization of tuwei killed me!” reads a comment on the video of Liang.

History has a way of repeating itself, and Wang’s campaign featuring the Simeizi girls has also gone viral. Despite being roasted on the Chinese web, the campaign proves that short video platforms like TikTok and Douyin are increasingly influential in the world of high fashion.

Whether more designers will embrace the short video format and infuse tuwei in their campaigns remains to be seen.

Additional reporting by Beatrice Tamagno; cover image compilation via Instagram

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