By Glyn Atwal
The symbiotic relationship between fashion and jewelry entered a new era with the recent launch of Prada’s first-ever jewelry line named Eternal Gold. This was done in selected markets, including China.
It is not a new event for luxury fashion brands to launch fine jewelry collections. But what is different now is how jewelry brand marketers are turning to codes of fashion to create a feeling of desire amongst consumers.
The launch of Tiffany x Nike in March might put a sparkle in the swoosh factor of the sports shoes, but the partnership is also designed to give the jewelry brand a cutting edge to win over Gen Z consumers.
I outline how marketers are shifting strategies to position jewelry as a statement that transcends the traditional meaning.
The appeal of jewelry goes well beyond its simple commodity value.
According to De Beers Group, 85 percent of women’s diamond jewelry sales by value were branded in China. And celebrity power is a formidable platform to create powerful brand associations that imitate the playbook of luxury fashion campaigns.
For example, Eileen Gu who has featured in Louis Vuitton campaigns was the main attraction in Tiffany’s Chinese New Year campaign.
Undeniably, jewelry brands are creating synergies with the runaway show experience.
Qeelin sponsored the opening extravaganza by COMME MOI at the Shanghai Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023.
Signature style statement
Prada’s triangle logo is a visible feature of its Eternal Gold collection. It is another example that the hallmark of a logo strategy is not exclusive to the world of fashion.
Indeed, iconic pieces and collections such as Bulgari’s Serpenti, Cartier’s Trinity and Tiffany’s Knot are as easily recognizable as signature fashion collections. It is here that social media platforms can provide iconic jewelry an added layer of limelight and expression.
The diversity of fashion has created an expanded wardrobe which has also impacted on how jewelry is worn.
Different “looks” are curated, remaining consistent with the need to create an individualized lifestyle statement.
Tiffany x Supreme exemplifies the advent of the ‘streetwear jewelry’ category.
Likewise, Lexie Liu, with nearly 8 million followers on Weibo and the former ‘Rap of China’ finalist, and current brand ambassador for Miu Miu had launched her own jewelry collection in partnership with COLLEC.
Fashion brands have been successful to combine desire with scarcity thanks to limited-edition collections, artistic collaborations and the introduction of exceptional creations.
Jewelry brands are now following this approach with greater frequency and fervor.
Tiffany’s unveiling of League of Legends pro League’s (LPL) Silver Dragon Cup trophy coincided with League of Legends’ 10th anniversary in China. This parallels Louis Vuitton’s bespoke trunks designed for prestigious sporting trophies.
Exhibitions are still an important aspect of the storytelling experience. Cleef & Arpels “Time, Nature, Love” exhibition at Shanghai’s Power Station is a telling reminder of this brand’s legacy.
However, it is the launch of pop-up stores such as the Messika Paris pop-up store currently open at Nanjing Deji Plaza in Nanjing that reimagines brand experiences in a retail format.
HIGH-END JEWELRY brands are making bold moves to win greater credibility amongst fashionistas in China.
Mr. Bags, one of the most influential KOLs in China, is now blogging on jewelry trends.
As widely reported, the sale of 118 Mr. Bags x Qeelin Bo Bo necklaces, their second endeavor, sold out virtually at once in December 2022. This serves as a clear testimonial that jewelry brands that match symbolism with aspirations will never be out of fashion.
Glyn Atwal is an associate professor at the Burgundy School of Business (France). He is co-author of ‘Luxury Brands in China and India’ (Palgrave Macmillan).