The Lunar New Year is always an opportunity for brands to forge collaborations with characters related to the appropriate sign of the Chinese zodiac, from 2022’s Year of the Tiger to 2021’s Year of the Ox and beyond.
This year, starting on January 22, is the Year of the Rabbit, considered the luckiest of the 12 zodiac animals. More examples than ever of character-based Lunar New Year collections are coming to light this year, thanks in part to the many rabbit characters from the worlds of entertainment and publishing that have gained fan followings over time.
Here are some instances of marketers, especially luxury brands, pairing with owners of notable rabbits for fashion capsules, both in Asia and globally:
- Moncler collaborated with Disney for a capsule of men’s, women’s, and children’s styles featuring Roger Rabbit. Sold through Tmall, WeChat, and Moncler’s online shop and boutiques, the collection includes letter jackets, tracksuits, windbreakers, sweaters, t-shirts, socks, shoes, and hoodies.
- Mulberry partnered with Mercis for a global collection of several styles of bags, travel and tech products, small leather items, and other accessories featuring Dick Bruna’s classic book character Miffy and highlighting the property’s well-known color palette. Miffy also has a collection with Tommy Hilfiger that encompasses 50 items including sweaters, letter jackets, denim jackets, baseball caps, polo shirts, windbreakers, blouses, knit hats, socks, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and bags, in Hilfiger’s famous red, white, and blue.
- Moschino paired with Warner Bros. for a 23-piece unisex Bugs Bunny collection that includes a biker bag, shaped purses highlighting the character, a tote, earrings, t-shirts and sweatshirts, pleated skirts, cardigans, leather jackets, and silk slacks. All are in a black, gold, and red color palette.
- Givenchy teamed with Disney to create a capsule tied to the 1927 character Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, with designs taking inspiration from a world tour of major cities to capture the character’s sense of adventure. The collection, which includes t-shirts and tanks, denim bags and jackets, hoodies, letter jackets, bandana shirts and shorts, totes, sneakers, and more, was introduced in select pop-ups, mostly in Asia, before launching globally. The initiative celebrates Disney’s 100th anniversary as well as the Lunar New Year.
- Penguin Ventures, along with CAA and Random House China, is implementing a number of Lunar New Year initiatives featuring Peter Rabbit, including a high-end fashion collaboration with an as-yet-unnamed company. In December, it debuted a women’s and men’s loungewear capsule in China with lifestyle brand Neiwai. Other new year activities will include a hotel partnership, a location-based experience, a campaign centered on reading, and a Lunar New Year style guide for licensees.
- Charles & Keith worked with Disney on a collection for adults and children featuring Judy Hopps, the main character of the film Zootopia. Shoe designs range from platform mules and Mary Janes to combat boots, ballet flats, and sneakers, while bags encompass totes, mini-pouches, and more. Design elements include depictions of the character as well as badges reflecting her role as a police officer.
Aside from these character collaborations, global marketers are also celebrating the Lunar New Year in 2023 by pairing with Chinese designers for collections, sometimes to reach consumers in China or Asia and sometimes for shoppers around the world. We will take a look at that trend in our next post, on Monday, January 23.
Note to licensors of relevant characters: 2024 will be the Year of the Dragon.