H&M’s collaboration with Mugler creates shopping frenzy in China

Multinational clothing giant H&M recently unveiled its latest collaboration with renowned French independent designer brand Mugler, resulting in an extraordinary shopping frenzy throughout China.

Image: Sandra’s Closet

The collection’s release was met with an overwhelming surge of eager customers attempting to snag the limited-edition garments, causing H&M’s official Chinese website to crash under the weight of the unprecedented traffic. The incident sparked a social media frenzy, with users on platforms like Weibo and Xiaohongshu sharing screenshots of their unsuccessful attempts to make a purchase. By the following day at 5pm, the entire collection had completely sold out online.

On Weibo, the hashtag “H&M Mugler” quickly gained traction, accumulating over 850,000 views. Enthusiastic netizens flooded the platform, expressing their curiosity about who managed to secure an item from the coveted collaboration.

Image: JingDaily

Meanwhile, local shoppers showed their dedication by patiently waiting in line overnight outside physical stores, hoping to acquire a piece from the exclusive collection. However, chaos ensued at H&M’s Shanghai Century Link location, leading to a temporary shutdown as shoppers clashed with each other in their fervour to get their hands on the highly sought-after garments.

The capsule collection, which boasts an array of form-fitting catsuits, corsets, padded sculpted jackets, slashed leggings and body-con dresses, was available exclusively in two offline stores—Beijing’s Chaoyang Joy City and Shanghai’s Century Link malls— besides being offered through H&M’s website and WeChat mini-program.

While some consumers criticized H&M for lack of preparation to handle the overwhelming demand, others pointed out that the collection far exceeded expectations. In fact, this unexpected success brings hope for a potential turnaround for the fast fashion brand, which faced a downturn following boycotts over its use of Xinjiang cotton.

This is not H&M’s first collaboration with an independent designer, however. In 2021, the Swedish clothing brand teamed up with Irish designer Simone Rocha, resulting in a similar website crash as customers rushed to purchase the collection’s girlish tulle dresses and pearl accessories.

The roaring success of both the Rocha and Mugler collaborations indicates a growing appreciation and appetite among young Chinese consumers for independent designer brands. According to a Chinese market research agency, the independent designer fashion market in China reached a staggering 8.1 billion USD in 2020, marking nearly a five-fold increase from 2011. By 2025, it is projected to expand further to 12.1 billion USD.

Overall, H&M’s immensely popular partnership with Mugler not only provides an opportunity for the Swedish brand to regain market share and win over Chinese customers but it also serves as a platform for emerging independent and niche designers like Mugler to test the market and enhance brand visibility.


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