Chinese Golden Youth Inspires Luxury to Encompass its Cultural Heritage

Fanny Tang

By Fanny Tang09 novembre 2023

The affluent Chinese youth, characterized by their dual traditional and globalized identities, are increasingly seeking luxury products that resonate with their cultural heritage without compromising quality or authenticity. They now aspire to find key elements of their culture in the products they consume.

Han Dongjun, Chen Feiyu, Wang Junkai, Huang Jingyu, and Huang Xuan, five Chinese actors and Dior ambassadors in China, caused a sensation at the launch of the Dior Men Pre-Fall 2021 collection in Beijing (Twitter - @dramapotatoe)

In Chinese culture, a Western education is often perceived as a symbol of prestige and status. This notion is rooted in the central idea of "face" or honor, where sending one's child to study abroad reflects a family's financial capability. The concept of "face" (面子 Mian Zi) or honor is central in Chinese culture and significantly influences the consumption choices of the affluent population. Acquiring goods from internationally recognized brands is not only a matter of personal taste but also a means to maintain or elevate their social standing. Additionally, respect for elders and the value placed on education are deeply ingrained values that shape their lifestyle. "In our perception as Chinese, we believe that the Western educational system offers better opportunities," explains Oscar, CEO of L'Atelier Peony by OSCAR, a luxury marketing expert specializing in the Chinese market. Despite the increasing recognition of Chinese universities, the belief that international education provides better opportunities persists. Investing in quality education abroad is considered a "necessary luxury" to ensure the success of future generations in an increasingly interconnected world. "From a young age, I was encouraged to thrive in a trilingual environment, and studying in international schools allowed me to interact with people from different cultures early on. Today, I consider the world my home," testifies Wilson Wong, CEO of CBWells Group.

The Dior Men Pre-Fall 2021 campaign (Dior.cn)

This global education and the exposure it provides to different cultures significantly shape the perspectives and choices of Chinese youth. From art to fashion, lifestyle, and investments, their approach diverges from previous generations. The new generation seeks aspirational experiences, quality, and value.

The Need for Cultural Recognition

Traditional Chinese embroidery "打籽绣" (Dǎ zǐ xiù) was reserved exclusively for the imperial family during the Qing dynasty (Sohu.com)

The new generation in China remains a significant, complex, and diverse market for the luxury industry, presenting both an opportunity and a challenge for luxury brands. These young consumers seek authenticity and compelling brand stories. They are not just consumers but individuals seeking a balance between tradition and modernity, cultivating ancestral values and global aspirations. They are also influenced by the digital world, relying heavily on influencers, online reviews, and social media to inform their purchasing decisions. Li (name modified for anonymity) holds a deep appreciation for traditional Chinese values, stating, "I generally like brands with Chinese influences. I believe it is essential to preserve our cultural heritage, influence others, and raise awareness among those who may not be familiar with China."

In the world of fashion, brands like Dior and Loewe have responded to this need by bridging tradition and modernity. This is evident in the incorporation of traditional Chinese embroidery in some Dior collections and the use of colors inspired by Chinese ceramics in Loewe's designs.

When Fashion References Chinese Cultural Heritage

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