A new report from Terry Nguyen at Vox explores a new phenomenon among Western brands — one which has led to an extensive collaboration between Disney and Gucci, as well as a gorgeously minimal sneaker design from Nike. It seems that these companies have realized that Lunar New Year offers them another holiday for which they can develop and sell products — and it’s a challenge that they’ve accepted.
This year’s Lunar New Year — the Year of the Rat — begins on January 25, with celebrations to follow for the next 15 days.
As Nguyen writes at Vox, numerous companies and retailers have embraced the idea of a holiday where even more items can be sold. “As with most holidays, Lunar New Year has become an opportunity for retailers to sell shoes, jackets, or handbags on the premise of being culturally observant,” Nguyen writes.
The fact that the Lunar New Year features a shifting array of Chinese zodiac characters in a 12-year cycle also means that companies can get creative when riffing on a year’s particular sign. The impending Year of the Rat, for instance, is why Mickey Mouse has featured prominently in the Disney x Gucci collaboration.
Nguyen also describes a handful of related collections that take a similar approach: “Rag & Bone has a pizza rat sweater, and Moschino released products with its Mickey Rat logo (which looks like Mickey Mouse but with a long jagged snout).”
It remains unclear if these efforts will resonate with consumers or if they’ll end up regarded as something closer to a footnote in marketing history. But for observers of interesting sartorial design, there’s plenty to observe and appreciate here.
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