Kuaishou kiosk (快手小卖部), the IP merch platform has launched its second Xiangyashanciaga collection in collaboration with the long-running TV series Love Stories in the Countryside (Xiangcun Aiqing). The collection includes four graphic hoodies, a blanket, traditional Chinese New Year door decoration set including fai chun (chunlian) and menschen (door gods) posters.
Five months after the first Xiangyashanciaga fashion collection, the new collaboration is focused on the celebratory mood of the Chinese New Year. The hoodies feature screengrabs of the memorable and memeable scenes from the show with a large Xiangyashanciaga logo. Interestingly, the collection also includes a blind box set of four regular and one secret plushies based on cartoon versions of popular characters from the series.
Started in 2006, Love Stories in the Countryside is a soap opera masterminded by actor and comedian Zhao Benshan. Coinciding with the collaboration, the first trailer for the 16th season dropped on 22 January. It features an ensemble cast and is known for its rural setting, Northeastern aesthetics, kitschy humour and melodramatic romance. Intentional or not, the show embodies the “corny cool” (土酷) mentality of the younger generations, especially Gen Z of China. With Northeast chic gaining traction since last year and exploding with Harbin’s viral popularity as a tourist destination, the collaboration has hit at the right time.
Xiangyashanciaga is a parodic portmanteau of “Xiangyashan” (象牙山, lit. Mt. Elephant Tusk), the fictional Northeast China village the series is set in, and “Balenciaga”, symbolising post-modern fashion with surreal humour. It is based on an earlier meme “Dongbeiciaga” (东北世家, lit. Northeastciaga) which is in a similar format but with screenshots from a different show, also featuring Zhao Benshan.
Kuaishou has long been associated with rural areas, both in terms of influencers and audiences. With 42 million monthly active rural users, the platform takes it upon itself to raise awareness of and celebrate rural life in China. After a brief detour trying to be the next Douyin, Kuaishou has repositioned itself back amongst the rural and small-town audiences after its latest restructuring. The latest collaboration with Love Stories in the Countryside fits Kuaishou like a glove due to the show’s rural setting but can also attract the young urban audience with its post-modern humour in line with the “corny cool” and Northeastearn aesthetics.