Fashion in Hong Kong and China

Five trends from Shanghai’s premier street wear fair, Yo’Hood

From high-top trainers and hip-hop swag to Hello Kitty, the 2017 street wear trade show’s collections were vast and varied, reflecting Chinese millennial tastes

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 7:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 7:03am

The fifth edition of Yo’Hood in Shanghai attracted massive crowds of millennials looking for the latest in street wear earlier this month. As well as the clothes, the street wear fair did not disappoint with an abundance of fashion influencers, hip-hop DJs, live performances and skateboarding demonstrations.

Five trends we identified at the fair

1. International brands dominate

While there were some local names represented at Yo’Hood, the vast majority of booths belonged to big international names, with brands such as Nike, Stussy, New Balance, Paul Frank and Vans in attendance.

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This fits in with the broader narrative of street wear in China, which has been dominated by brands such as Adidas; the latter has seen recent success thanks to its Adidas Originals line. (Recently released second quarter sales for the German sportswear brand were up 28 per cent on the previous year for Greater China.)

2. Vintage Americana

The return of high-top trainers and Chicago Bulls swag show that street wear brands and Chinese consumers look to the ’90s for inspiration.

The old-school ’90s aesthetic of American cities – particularly New York – popped up pretty consistently at the fair, both overtly and subtle. The 1980s were also represented in faded, fluorescent Stussy T-shirts, and a collaboration between Canadian hipster backpack makers, Herschel, and the Keith Haring Foundation. Haring’s colourful works defined street art in New York in the 1980s before his untimely death from Aids-related complications in 1990.

3. Go hard or go cute

There were plenty of cutesy motifs on display – Snoopy, Garfield and, of course, Hello Kitty all made an appearance – but there were also floral patterns on menswear, windbreakers and caps.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, some hard-edged, all-black looks were indicative of an elevated, sophisticated and streamlined approach to street dressing. Camo prints and khaki were also popular.

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The extremes of masculinity and femininity are obviously having an impact, perhaps as a reaction to street wear’s traditionally androgynous shapes, cuts and overall aesthetic.

4. Collaboration nation

There were collaborations galore on display at Yo’Hood; even fashion designer Alexander Wang jumped into the mix with BMW to create an interior for one of its sports cars.

Artists, cartoon characters and film franchises were all subjects of collaborations with brands on display at Yo’Hood. Collaborations are a common way to attract attention in the street wear category in general, but were almost at saturation point at this fair, with competition fierce to offer something different.

5. Hip hop influence

It may be the Year of the Rooster, but 2017 is also shaping up to be the year of hip hop going mainstream in China. This is being led by the ubiquitous reality television show The Rap of China controversially fronted by xiao xian rou (little fresh meat) boy band alum Kris Wu.

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Hip-hop influences were everywhere at Yo’Hood: in the slogans on T-shirts and hoodies, in the bling, and in the numerous MCs strutting their stuff at booths around the fair. Hip hop has officially arrived in China.