Enter the Dragonite: Fendi x FRGMT x Pokémon pop-up lands in Chengdu

On 8 January, a trio of Dragonites landed at the Fendi x FRGMT x Pokémon pop-up shop in Chengdu Taikoo Li. Two giant statues of the Dragon-type Pokémon guard the perimeters of the shop, one standing and one flying, while a third one lounges cosily inside the shop. The bright mustard yellow interior is based on the colour of the Dragonite. The pop-up shop will remain until 26 January.

The pop-up shop is, of course, to celebrate the release of the three-way collaboration between Italian luxury fashion house Fendi, Japanese streetwear label FRGMT by Hiroshi Fujiwara and Nintendo’s Pokémon IP. The Pokémon featured in the collection are Dratini, its evolved form, Dragonair and its final evolution state Dragonite. They are chosen not only because they are dragon-type Pokémon to coincide with the Year of the Dragon as the Chinese New Year approaches, but also Dragonite’s colour is very close in shade to Fendi’s yellow. Another reason is possibly because being first generation Pokémon, they are well-known and loved by Pokémon fans of all ages.

The collection, part of the “Friends of Fendi” collaboration series, includes Peekaboo and Baguette handbags with Pokémon graphics, graphic T-shirts and hoodies as well as accessories such as bracelets, earrings and cardholders. A leather Dragonite totem is also eye-catching with its Fendi scarf. A London location of the pop-up has also been set up in Selfridges, albeit on a much smaller scale. A digital collaboration with the mobile game Pokémon Go has also been released, featuring logo T-shirts and hoodies.

On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, the topic #FendiFRGMTPokemon# gained an impressive 98.69 million views. Fans of celebrities like K-pop star Song Yuqi and actor Luo Yizhou who visited the store and modelled the collection have contributed much to the traffic. But a Dragonite emoji that can be shown after your Weibo handle if you repost certain posts that contain the hashtag has also helped fan the topic.

Last year, Fendi’s collaboration with Hey Tea caught the attention of Chinese social media and became one of the more memorable co-branding campaigns of 2023, according to a recent survey. However, some pundits find Fendi’s variety of collaborations across market segments with partners ranging from fellow luxury brand Versace, designer brand Marc Jacobs to mass market tea chain Hey Tea and game and anime IP Pokémon risk confusing the brand identity of the fashion label. Viral marketing, while helping broaden brand reach, also risks diluting the luxury brand equity. The balance between luxury status and brand awareness in the age of social media remains a challenge for luxury brands in China.


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