Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) has rolled out a new collection called “The Chinese New Year Print”, which features an imagery of the pig to coincide with the Year of the Pig.
The new line comes not long after D&G angered Chinese consumers with a series of ads featuring an East Asian model struggling to eat Italian food with chopsticks. This was followed by co-founder Steffano Gabbana also being embroiled in the controversy after allegedly making racist comments against Chinese consumers.
As such, the brand has raised eyebrows for “trying to make every penny out of Chinese culture”, as said by some of the netizens on Instagram user Diet_Prada’s account. Others also said that D&G lacked “aesthetic consideration” for its clothing. The prices of the items too are in line with D&G’s standards with the T-shirts costing over SG$490 and hoodies going up to over a thousand dollars. The price tag of the shirts has also got some netizens labelling it as an “overpriced Walmart shirt.”
But it would hardly come as a surprise if D&G was in fact trying to lure sales from the Chinese market during this prosperous occassion. After all, according to research from social media giant Tencent and Boston Consulting Group, published last year, China’s personal luxury goods market is set to grow annually at 6% to reach US$187bn by 2024. Moreover, more than two-thirds (70%) of the growth of global luxury spend will come from China by the same year.
But alas, D&G’s relationship with the market has been a rocky one. In 2017, online furore forced the luxury brand to remove its advertisement campaign “DG loves China” after it was alleged that the campaign showed a “stereotyped” China, by choosing outdated street views as a background instead of advanced modern areas such as Beijing’s financial district. In the collection of photos, several models wearing high-end fashion gowns posed in Beijing’s centuries-old hutongs and at famous tourist attractions such as Tiananmen Square, next to tourists as well as taxi and pedicab drivers.