On 14 January, the Chinese designer brand Pronounce staged its AW24 collection at Milan Men’s Fashion Week. Two familiar faces were spotted in the front row. Upon closer examination, they were indeed LABUBU and ZIMOMO from the MONSTER series by blind box toymaker POP MART. Both swapped their normal brown fur for Pronounce’s signature purple and were dressed in cardigans with the brand’s rope motif. After the show, attendees surrounded the two furry figurines to take pictures.
Being the only Chinese designer brand to appear at this year’s Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, Pronounce’s AW24 collection is inspired by ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi’s story of the “Butterfly Dream”. In the story, Zhuangzi wakes up from a dream in which he has taken the form of a butterfly. The philosopher then asks the question if it was Zhuangzi who dreamed that he was a butterfly or if a butterfly is dreaming of being a philosopher.
The collection mainly featured the brand’s usual rope motif, along with the symbolic butterfly imagery. Pronounce brought several pieces from its co-branded collection with POP MART to the fashion week too. Items revealed at the fashion week included two sleeveless vests/jumpers with LABUBU graphics. It was later reported that the complete collection would be unveiled in March.
On Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, the topic “POP MART Pronounce collaboration” (#泡泡玛特珀琅汐联名#) gained a modest 11.65 million views. This could be due to the perceived mismatch between the two partners. Many in POP MART’s comment section are asking about the possibility of a purple edition of LABUBU figurines, while others feel they might be priced out of the fashion collaboration items. Similarly, comments on Xiaohongshu (RED) are more interested in the figurines than the fashion items.
LABUBU and the MONSTERS were designed by Hong Kong artist Kasing Lung and have been an important part of POP MART’s lineup along with MOLLY and DIMOO. POP MART has been working to expand its collaboration portfolio into the fashion world with this new Pronounce crossover and its recent co-branded SPACE MOLLY with Balmain.