These Are the Most Controversial Fashion Campaigns in China

Picture of India Doyle
Updated: 1 August 2017
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One of the biggest consumers of fashion, the Asian market is a lucrative nut to proverbially crack. Brands such as Gucci have had great success, especially in China, where they have found that leveraging the power of influencers generates maximum revenue. But unfortunately for other luxury brands, this isn’t true across the industry, with many labels getting it wrong and facing a tirade of criticism. Culture Trip brings you the most controversial advertising campaigns in China over the last decade.

D&G loves China campaign

The Italian fashion duo are no stranger to controversy, famously stating that they found families with gay parents to be artificial, and recently sparring with Tim Blanks over his review of their SS18 menswear show, in which a swarm of famous figures and influencers took to the catwalk instead of models.

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In China, D&G’s advertising campaign in April 2017 sparked mass debate. The advertisements, shot by the Morelli Brothers, showed D&G models posing against iconic and local landmarks in Beijing, covering everything from the Great Wall to local markets. Critics of the campaign were furious that the photographs only showed models against undeveloped or poorer areas. As a report from Jing Daily flagged, these photos were quickly deleted from Weibo and WeChat.

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Dior x Angelababy campaign

When Dior announced that Chinese actress and influencer Angela Yeung Wing, also known as Angelababy, was to be the new face of the brand’s make-up campaign, the response wasn’t particularly good. The actress has been compared to Kim Kardashian, and long-term Dior fans believe that having Angela Yeung Wing, as an ambassador downgrades the standing of the brand. There were even calls from Chinese consumers abroad to boycott the brand until Angelababy had been replaced. At the moment she remains an ambassador, though wasn’t present at Dior Cruise in May – perhaps Maria Grazia Chiuri is rethinking who she wants to represent her new version of feminism.

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Ren Hang x Gucci

Esteemed Chinese photographer Ren Hang made a powerful impact on the fashion and art industry before he tragically committed suicide in March 2017. Hang made a name for himself with candid, stark images in which his subjects bodies were often distorted or obscured. Hang worked with major fashion brands such as Opening Ceremony, Loewe and J.W.Anderson, but it was his collaborations with Gucci that proved to be particularly striking. Hang worked with Gucci as part of their #GucciGram series, where his contribution saw bodiless women positioned in between Gucci travel cases.

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Sisley ‘Fashion Junkie’ campaign

Italian fashion brand Sisley came under mass scrutiny when they ran a campaign shot by Terry Richardson for audiences in China that featured models snorting powder dresses and looking determinedly wacked out. Needless to say such blatant allusions to taking cocaine sparked ample negative feedback, and showed that the shock factor was not necessarily the right approach for the market.

YSL ‘Kissing Habits’ survey

Taking an innovative approach to the use of WeChat, YSL decided to launch their new lipstick with a ‘kissing survey’ on the platform. Participants were asked to answer a series of questions about what they thought made a good kiss, and where they liked to be kissed by their partner. After answering the questions, the brand recommended a YSL lipstick based on the responses.

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