The good, the bad and the ugly. The weird and the wacky. As is the That’s tradition, we’ve compiled our 2019 China Year in Review series. So sit back, relax and relive the highs and lows of the last 12 months.
Image via Zara
A promotion for Zara’s new line of lipsticks caused a controversy in February. The series of close-ups of model Li Jingwen’s natural look aimed to emphasize the lipstick, but it was her freckles which drew the attention – and ire – of Chinese netizens. While some saw them as a deliberate attempt to make Asian women look ugly, others applauded the authenticity showcased in these photos, adding that Li’s freckles are actually quite cute.
Image via Sina Fashion @新浪时尚/Weibo
Another hot scandal this year involved several designer brands: Versace, Coach and Givenchy all went viral on Weibo after releasing similar T-shirts with offensive design errors that undermined the ‘One China’ policy.
Image via @艺术馆儿/Weibo
Earlier this year, Uniqlo released a collection with American artist and designer Kaws, and as expected, Chinese shoppers went bonkers. Another cool team-up came from candy brand White Rabbit and perfume creators Scent Library, who debuted an entire line of sweet skincare products.
Image via @vainiuspetkevicius/Instagram
This summer, Jinan authorities began cracking down on the trending phenomenon of the ‘Beijing bikini,’ where men roll up their T-shirts to expose their bellies, citing that it was uncivilized to the point of lowering the image of the city.
Image via @WhiteBazaar白集/Weibo
Vogue came under fire in March after posting a picture of Gao Qizhen, a Shanghai-born model whose looks challenge the conventional standards of beauty, on Instagram. One popular fashion blog on WeChat, called Shiliupo Baogao, wrote that netizens were up in arms over Western fashion brands ‘uglifying’ Chinese people through ‘beauty bullying,’ a form of discrimination where Westerners inflict their own ideas of beauty onto Chinese people.
Image via @badgalriri/Instagram
Riri fans were blessed when Fenty Beauty dropped in September, hitting the shelves of various stores across Hong Kong, Macao and South Korea, also available online at Tmall Global. The wildly popular cosmetics line has been praised for its inclusivity of a wide range of skin tones, which can be summed up by the brand’s motto, ‘Beauty for All.’
7. Dazed Gets a China Edition
Image via @dazedchina/Instagram
British style and culture publication Dazed partnered with Nanjing-based streetwear guru and media platform Yoho! to launch a Chinese edition of the influential magazine. Dazed China spotlights the cultural exchange between the two indie content creators and China’s young trendsetters.
Image via Wikimedia
Earlier this year, Forever 21’s Chinese website announced that the retailer would be ceasing its online operations. Shortly after, Tmall and JD.com released statements that the affordable, trend-savvy clothing store would also be taken off their respective platforms. Additionally, Forever 21 had already closed several of its stores in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hangzhou.
Image via Xiaohongshu
In 2018, Kim Kardashian West quite literally bared all for her new fragrance line. The perfume bottle for KKW Body certainly doesn’t leave much to the imagination, as it is a mold of her body. This year, Chinese beauty bloggers had a bit of fun with the bottle on social media and e-commerce site Xiaohongshu. The fashion KOLs covered up the cheeky bottles, adorning them with ribbons and other textiles.
For more 2019 Year in Review coverage, click here.