Happy New Year Of The Dragon

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Ralph Lauren Chinoiserie Campaign. Image: Ralph Lauren

Happy Chinese New Year from The Maosuit! The lunar year started at midnight Sunday with millions of tons of fireworks being let off across the entire country. Timed according to the new moon, and also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is the biggest event of the calendar, with most people returning home to their families in what becomes the biggest human migration on the planet. The Chinese Zodiac is made up of twelve animals with 2012 being the year of the Dragon.

The Dragon is the only mythical creature in the Chinese Zodiac and as an iconic symbol of China, it is said to be the most magnificent of the twelve animals. Chinese place special emphasis on Dragon Years, deeming them to be excellent for births and marriages and full of luck and enthusiasm.  Businessmen often choose Dragon Years to expand or begin new ventures, with confidence and optimism running at unprecedented highs.

Two weeks ago, I outlined my predictions for the Chinese fashion industry in 2012, but in particular, how does the Chinese New Year and Dragon affect fashion companies in China?

With hundreds of millions of workers across the country travelling home, Chinese New Year effectively shuts down factories and most types of labor intensive work for up to a month. Therefore companies producing garments, fitting out new stores, etc. in China need to take special consideration and work this into their schedules.  Often retailers will choose Chinese New Year as a time to open new stores with their spring/summer collections. The traditional New Year’s gift is a red envelope full of money, and so in the days proceeding New Year millions of Chinese flock to shopping centers to spend their gift money. This year New Year falls very early in the Western Calendar and although signaling the arrival of Spring, in North China its still bitterly cold and so retailers may delay new store openings for an extra month. More and more, Chinese New Year presents an opportunity for millions of Chinese to travel overseas and so retailers in main shopping areas of Paris, New York and other preferred destinations, should experience massive increases in sales to Chinese customers this week.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about the Year of the Dragon for fashion brands is the opportunity to incorporate dragon designs and motifs in to their special collections. 2011 was the Year of the Rabbit, not an animal that conjures many cool or sexy images to associate with fashion. Yet, as showed in the pictures below, many brands including Coach and Rolls Royce have already released special Dragon related products and I suspect we will see many more before the year is out.

To celebrate Chinese New Year please enjoy the series of pictures below that show how brands have been incorporating Chinese culture and design into their advertising and collections over the last several years.

Dolce & Gabbana Photo Shoot for Prestige Magazine Dec. 2011. Image: Giuliano Bekor

Ermenegildo Spring/Summer 2008 Campaign. Image: Zegna

Lady Dior Shanghai Advertisement (2011). Image: Dior

Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2011 Campaign. Image: Louis Vuitton

Rolls Royce 2012 Year of the Dragon Model. Images: Rolls Royce

Chanel's Chinese Take Away Handbag (2010 Collection). Image: The Purse Blog

Coach's Year of the Dragon Tote Bag. Image: Coach

Louis Vuitton Fan, 2011 Collection. Image: Louis Vuitton

Nike Sneaker Antique Chinese Style Shelf in Nike Store Beijing

Stussy Chinese Style Chair Set in Stussy Store Beijing

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