The power of Chinese fashion trendsetters

Chinese celebrities and fashionistas are some of the key influencers on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site similar to Twitter. Fashion houses are increasingly tapping this group of influencers to bring greater awareness to their brands on Weibo. Many are spotted at fashion shows around the world at the invitation of top labels.

Yao Chen Known for her role in the 2005 sitcom “My Own Swordsman”, actress Yao Chen has made regular appearances on Chinese tabloids and fashion magazine covers. She is also often seen at leading fashion events around China, including the recent 10th Bazaar China Charity for Life event in Beijing. This year at Fashion Week, Yao Chen was spotted in the front row at Vera Wang’s Spring/Summer 2013 show.

The actress shared a picture of her and the designer in the backstage on Weibo and captioned, “The wedding gown queen Vera Wang is such an outstanding Chinese designer. She is small in person but so cool-looking. She looks like a little princess – with pride and innocence. Each wedding gown of hers is art, carrying the ultimate dreams of every woman.” With more than 24 million fans on Weibo, Yao Chen’s post was shared over 7000 times and generated nearly 2000 comments.

Zhang Zilin As the first Chinese woman to win first place in the Miss World competition, former model Zhang Zilin became a household name when she took the crown at the world-class pageant in 2007. She has also since become a familiar face in the fashion world in China. During her stay in New York, Zhang Zilin attended the Michael Kors, Tory Burch, Donna Karan, and DKNY shows. She then described and shared each designer’s collection with her 2 million plus followers on Weibo. The microblog netizens educated each other about these brands, as Michael Kors and Donna Karan aren’t yet common names in China, and left comments such as “Ah this show is the one designed by that judge in Project Runway! I like his design.” And “Donna Karan, the New York style! Who doesn’t love?!”

Li Chen With a booming acting career thanks to his role in the 2012 hit TV series “Beijing Youth”, actor Li Chen attended the Tommy Hilfiger’s Spring/Summer 2012 show. “The backstage is like a preppy school club while the front stage is filled with sporty badges and Grand Prix grids. This season’s Tommy Hilfiger show showcased the perfect combination of tradition and innovation,” he posted on Weibo. The famed star now has over 5 million Weibo fans.

Han Huo Huo An iconic Chinese fashion figure known for his androgynous look, stylist Han Huo Huo, whose name means “fire” in Chinese, was a fixture in the front row at Paris Fashion Week. His style is so unique and influential, Hong Kong luxury department store Lane Crawford has even created a webpage, All Fired Up, dedicated for him to make sartorial recommendations to online shoppers. Adding onto his reign in the fashion realm, Han Huo Huo released his first book earlier this year. “Fire Bible” is a collection of photos showcasing his favorite styles as seen on Chinese models, fashionistas, and celebrities.

Qin Hai Lu Spotted in a retro floral-printed dress, golden skull red python shoes, and a Jaeger LeCoultre dating series women watch, actress Qin Hai Lu stunned at Milan Fashion Week. The Chinese actress, with over 15 million Weibo fans, won the prestigious Hong Kong Golden Horse Best Actress award in 2001 for her performance in the film “Durian Durian”.

In gratitude for her front row seat at the Gucci Spring/Summer 2013 show, Qin Hai Lu wrote, “I hope the sharp designs and lovely colors will keep the whole of this summer alive!” on Weibo. Sharing her trip in Milan with her fans, she also posted about her showroom visits to Tod’s, Fendi, and Damiani.

These Chinese trendsetters are a boon for international labels if they want to reach their millions of Chinese fans. Chinese consumers eagerly following their idols’ every move on social networks like Weibo

adapted from Malaysian Insider / China Daily /  photo China Daily

Chinese actresses Zhang Yuqi, Huo Siyan and Li Xiaolu at DIOR show in Paris