Japanese sportswear giant Asics and Shushu/Tong, one of the hottest Chinese designer brands of the moment, have collaborated once more with the launch of a new sneaker. The team-up comes almost exactly 1 year after their first collab, the Mary Jane-inspired, be-ribboned GEL-MJ, based on Asics’s Gel model.
First teased at Shushu/Tong’s AW23 show at Shanghai Fashion Week, the new co-branded sneaker is based on another popular model from Asics, the Tarther SC. The new Shushu/Tong-designed Tarther SC Plus will feature ruffles instead of a bow. The model will come in two colours, black and a retro-looking light blue-white check, which was one of the main patterns from its AW23 series. The back of the shoe features a collar strap and a layered heel inspired by historic architecture. The red embroidered Asics logo on the tongue and the Shushu/Tong logo on the collar are both eye-catching against the black and check. The sneakers will be available in Mainland China from 24 December while the international release date has not yet been announced.
Founded in 2015 by London College of Fashion alumni Liushu Lei and Yutong Jiang, Shushu/Tong has long been hailed as one of the hottest up-and-coming designer brands from China. The brand’s interpretation of femininity and girlhood offers nostalgic retro-sweetness and a subculture niche coolness at the same time. With endorsees including Florence Pugh and Paloma Faith, and collaborations with the likes of Estée Lauder and Charles & Keith – Shushu/Tong has had a huge year this year. The brand’s popularity is once again being pushed into overdrive following aesthetics like croquette chic and balletcore which swept social media in 2022 and in late 2023, bows took over as the top fashion trend, bringing ultra-feminine styles into the mainstream.
Asics, on the other hand, has seen 28.8% year-on-year growth in Greater China in the first three quarters of 2023. Its success came from both its membership programme One ASICS and its online collaborations and virtual space ventures. Both contribute to online engagement and community building around outdoor activities such as running. Collaborating with brands who possess a large online following like Shushu/Tong will likely bring in engagement from a different audience. This will further consolidate its own following with a wider reach.