How to approach Lunar New Year as a luxury brand
Reading time: 8 min
On the 10th of February, much of the world will celebrate and welcome in the Chinese Year of the Dragon. In the weeks and months running up to this date, many luxury goods manufacturers will have been very busy. They’ll be about to launch brand-new, limited-range collections of products to capitalise on the event, aiming to generate sales and build brand awareness in Southeast Asian markets.
In this article, we’ll examine:
- The significance of the Lunar New Year
- Highlights of the 2024 Lunar New Year luxury brand releases
- What strategies lay behind these brands’ releases
- How your brand can take advantage of Lunar New Year
The significance of Lunar New Year
The Lunar New Year is celebrated across several countries in Asia and around the world by members of the Asian diaspora.
Traditionally associated with the Chinese, this festive period actually transcends borders with many nations in Southeast Asia embracing the event with their own unique traditions. ‘Tết’ in Vietnam and ‘Seollal’ in Korea are stand-out examples of how Lunar New Year has its own distinct customs and practices in other parts of the continent.
Culturally, Lunar New Year is the time for family reunions. A key tradition is the gifting of red envelopes containing money (hóngbāo), mass public celebrations and elaborate feasts featuring traditional and symbolic national dishes. To Western cultures, the most visible symbols of Lunar New Year are fireworks, lanterns and lion dances.
The Lunar New Year has a 12-year cycle with each year being associated with a particular Chinese zodiacal animal. In 2024, it’s the Year of the Dragon. The animal in a given year features in the storytelling and symbolism of the celebration and throughout the coming 12 months.
In recent years, Lunar New Year has become like Christmas in the West – a major consumerism event.
Over the period, consumer spending on presents for loved ones surges. Many luxury brands view the Lunar New Year, together with Singles Day, as a sales opportunity and a chance to deepen their engagement with consumers in Eastern markets.
15 Highlights of 2024 Lunar New Year luxury releases
Fifteen Lunar New Year luxury collections that caught our eye here at Verb for 2024 are:
1. Alexander McQueen
Alexander McQueen celebrates the Year of the Dragon with a new flower print inspired by the snapdragon. The vibrant red and pink design adds creativity and vibrancy to these stylish traditional bags and wallets, all featuring the lucky colour of red as the primary or secondary colour. The launch of the collection was accompanied by a video campaign featuring snapdragon petals in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu.
Click for more information on the Alexander McQueen 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
2. Bottega Veneta
Bottega Veneta has introduced a striking Year of the Dragon-themed collection for Lunar New Year. It features festive updates to their range of Andiamo, Sardine, and Orbit sneakers. Clients also have the opportunity to purchase a bespoke Jodie with a dragon-tail handle.
Click for more information on the Bottega Veneta 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
Burberry’s Lunar New Year collection blends traditional checks with vibrant red hues for good luck and prosperity. The collection features houndstooth checks, seasonal rose prints and new eyewear styles, offering a fresh and typically Burberry take on these classic fashion elements.
Click for the Burberry 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
Chopard presents the Urushi Year of the Dragon watch, a vibrant masterpiece adorned with lacquer, gold powder and mother-of-pearl inlays that reflect and celebrate Chinese traditions.
Click for the Chopard 2024 Lunar New Year Minori Koizumi watch.
5. MCM x Bape
Continuing a partnership between the two brands that started in 2019, this limited-edition Lunar New Year collection blends streetwear edge with innovative luxe aesthetic.
Click for the MCM x Bape Lunar New Year Collection.
Fendi’s collaboration with Hiroshi Fujiwara has created a playful Pokémon-themed collection for the Year of the Dragon. Items in the collection feature dragon-type Pokémon on superbly-crafted bags and clothing.
Click for the Fendi 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
Gucci’s collection, featuring 121 items, intertwines iconic motifs with dragon symbology. Clients can choose from an offering of knitwear, handbags and leather goods with interlocking dragons, designed to symbolise harmony and prosperity.
Click for the Gucci 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
Loewe celebrates the Lunar New Year with exclusive $14,000 hand-carved jade pendants, symbolising prosperity and luck. The pendants were created by master jade carvers, Xiaojin Yin, Qijing Qiu and Lei Cheng.
Click for the Loewe 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
9. Loro Piana
Loro Piana’s capsule collection for the Year of the Dragon features pastel-coloured clothing and accessories with dragon motifs. The pieces are made from exclusive yarns and inspired by oriental culture.
Click for the Loro Piana 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
Moncler’s capsule collection for the new year includes versatile pieces including beanie hats, short down jackets, polo shirts and long-sleeve T-shirts. Look out for the Trailgrip sneaker in a reflective, dragon-skin-inspired design, celebrating the mythological creature.
Click for the Moncler 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
11. Polo Ralph Lauren
Polo Ralph Lauren welcomes the new year with iconic designs in red and blue, decorated with dragons. This year, there are special knit outfits for children in its Lunar New Year capsule.
Click for the Polo Ralph Lauren 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
12. Mulberry x Mira Mikati
Mulberry introduces an exclusive capsule collection with Mira Mitaki including designer bags, ready-to-wear, and accessories. The special edition collab encapsulates the joyous spirit of the Year of the Dragon.
Click for more information on the Mulberry x Mira Mitaki 2024 Lunar New Year Collection.
Tod’s Lunar New Year limited edition bags blend calfskin leather with linen blend canvas, featuring distinctive T-stitching and versatile handles. Each shopping bag has an oval pendant bearing the Tod’s logo and a removable internal pouch, one of which showcases a branded dragon for added festivity.
Click for Tod’s 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
14. Tory Burch
Tory Burch’s collection focuses on luck and festivity with its dragon-themed charms and stylish silhouetted details. The range has been publicised by model Lina Zhang and her children.
Click for the Tory Burch 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
Valentino greets the Chinese New Year with its symbolic red colour, adorning classic pieces from ready-to-wear to Garavani shoes and bags, wishing good fortune for the new year.
Click for more information on the Valentino 2024 Lunar New Year collection.
What strategies lay behind these releases
Look behind each of those collections and you see that luxury brands use a combination of different strategies to achieve their Lunar New Year branding and revenue targets.
Being culturally relevant
Perhaps the most important is cultural relevance to the target market.
Many of the brands have infused red, a traditional Lunar New Year colour and a colour that symbolises prosperity and luck, into their ranges. Alexander McQueen, Valentino and Burberry pieces heavily featured strong, confident reds this year.
Many brands also used the dragon motif like Bottega Veneta, MCM and Polo Ralph Lauren.
The dragons on each item have their own unique appearance and style that relates back to the brand. This is a clever way of paying homage to the rich histories of the region they’re promoting their products to as well as spinning on their own unique styles.
Second, collaborations with artists or other brands native to the target markets often lead to innovative and fresh takes on traditional themes.
We’ve written before about the history and effectiveness of luxury brand collaborations, especially successful East x West luxury collaborations.
Fendi’s partnership with Hiroshi Fujiwara to create a Pokémon-themed collection is a prime example, blending pop culture with Lunar New Year symbolism.
Third, a form of hyper-exclusivity.
Exclusivity and limited runs are significantly important in stoking demand for luxury brands. Capsules, very limited-time or limited-run ranges of products that have never been available before and will never be available again (except for the luxury resale market) create a sense of uniqueness and introduce urgency into consumers’ decision-making on purchasing.
Loewe’s hand-carved jade pendants and Chopard’s Urushi Year of the Dragon are excellent examples this year of hyper-exclusivity, standing out as exquisite, one-of-a-kind pieces for a very restricted strata of their clientele.
Fourth, the world-class craftsmanship clients expect from luxury brands.
We love the striking details in Gucci’s interlocking dragons and Tod’s blend of linen and calf-skin leather, two high-quality materials. What makes this even more special for target audiences is that they have been specifically created with the same care, love and attention to appeal to their culture specifically.
How your brand can take advantage of the Lunar New Year
Before any other consideration, your product range, of course, has to be right. It must appeal to the cultural likes and sensitivities of the particular Southeast Asian market you’re appealing to.
The next step to generate revenues and build a brand presence through the New Year is through variety, promotion and distribution.
The diverse range of products offered by Loro Piana and Moncler shows the level of imagination, effort and investment these brands are making to broaden their appeal. Particularly on-point is both brands’ clever mix of more accessible pieces and higher-end items at varying price points that different segments of the market will appreciate.
This is particularly so from a present-buying point of view. Loro Piano offers socks, jackets, scarves, trousers and t-shirts, making it easier for a person to gift a family member or friend with an item they know they want. If they had restricted their range to trousers this Lunar New Year, they would have denied consumers a choice of seasonally appropriate garments like jackets and scarves in what can be a cold time of year in that part of the world.
Digital and social media engagement through storytelling
In both the East and the West, social media is a key promotional tool for reaching and engaging with audiences. More so than any other time of the year, Lunar New Year is a superb opportunity for brands to connect and demonstrate commitment to a market through digital storytelling that’s culturally relevant.
Brands like Fendi and Gucci are superb at this in general and that can be seen in the collections they’ve released for this year. Gucci has worked a Lunar New Year narrative into their promotion by working with Chinese celebrities Tian Xiwei and Zhou Yiran.
Fendi’s collab this year is inspired. They’ve created a collection to take advantage of the universal appeal of the Pokémon franchise at the same time as collaborating with Fragment’s Hiroshi Fujiwara. Among their choice of characters to be featured in this collection is Dragonite, an orange dragon, reflecting the animal being celebrated this Lunar New Year. This content created to promote this range with its clever marriage of elements will be shared and appreciated widely on social media.
The ephemeral nature of both social media content and the limited availability of these ranges will combine to generate a buzz and a sense of urgency to buy among Fendi and Gucci’s clients, as will the other ranges featured in our article. Those that invite user participation and encourage sharing should prove particularly successful.
Preparing for Lunar New Year and beyond with Verb Brands
Verb Brands has worked with luxury providers for over 10 years and we can take your brand international thanks to our advanced localisation strategies and APAC services. To learn more about how we can support your Lunar New Year plans, wider Asian marketing strategies, or APAC capabilities, please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.