Will Aesthetic Diversification Help Winning Consumers in China?

Calvin Klein’s billboard in New York. Source: Internet

On June 27th, Calvin Klein launched a huge billboard in New York, featuring model Jari Jones who has multiple identities: KOL, black, transgender, lesbian, and model. On that day, Jari Jones quickly became the third global trending topic on Twitter and was immediately reported by media worldwide, triggering heated discussion even inside of China.

Fashion brands are now striving to be “ordinary-like”

A more diversified selection of models by Calvin Klein
A more diversified selection of models by Calvin Klein
Source: Instagram

In recent years, in order to establish a more inclusive brand image and capture potential consumer groups, fashion brands like Calvin Klein have focused on diversity: plus-size, transgender, proud flesh and height are being infused into their branding strategies. Many brands have tried to use more models that resemble the ordinary peoples’ appearance to bring fashion closer to ordinary consumers.

Victoria’s Secret, which is famous for its models’ golden ratio and ideal body shape, has been criticized for its unitary aesthetic standard and it even cancelled its annual show last year. When it comes to lingerie brands, there has been a raising awareness of comfort level instead of being sexy among young female consumers. More Chinese female consumers would like to choose lingerie brands which emphasize more on diversified values on women’s body.

Victoria’s Secret recently made Zhou Dongyu its greater china ambassador
Source: Victoria’s Secret’s official Weibo

With China domestic lingerie brands like NEIWAI promoting a sense of embracing bodies of all age groups and shapes, consumers are being better educated, thus further pushing lingerie brands’ endeavors to promote the social value of inclusiveness. Victoria’s Secret recently announced Zhou Dongyu and Yang Mi, famous Chinese actresses of different styles, as new brand ambassadors, redefining the term of sexy of contemporary, modern females. In the TVC campaign, Zhou Dongyu shared her interpretation of sexy and encouraged women to stick to the way they are.

Winning the affection of consumers

The aesthetic standard of “thin, beautiful and high” can no longer fully adapt to the evolution of the fashion industry. To some extent, the negative impact of COVID-19 on the whole fashion retail market has accelerated the transformation – brands need to stimulate consumption and attract more consumers to ease the operating pressure.

Of course, fashion brands’ bold attempts in advertising also aimed at obtaining greater benefits. From a business point of view, this advertising strategy is more helpful for consumers to shorten the time they need before making a purchase decision. The sense of equality and beauty transmitted through the overall advertising will have a lasting impact on its subsequent sales strategies. On the surface, this is to convey the idea of diversity, but in fact, it is to win the hearts of consumers, recruit new clientele and eventually drive up sales.

China domestic lingerie brand NEIWAI’s campaign
Source: NEIWAI’s official WeChat

Victoria’s Secret and Calvin Klein are not alone in adopting this approach; a growing number of fashion labels are joining in. From the widely praised Fenty lingerie runway show featuring women of all shapes and sizes to Chinese domestic lingerie brand NEIWAI’s latest campaign “No Body Is Nobody”, restricting clothing sizes is no longer a trend pursued by the fashion industry. Advertisement advocating diversity and inclusiveness and plus-size products not only stimulates consumption, but also, to some extent, encourage more open and diverse social values.