At long last 2020 has come to an end. In China, there’ll likely be a similar sigh of relief once the tumultuous Year of the Rat can be put behind us on February 12 — though here’s hoping there’s a calmer start to the Year of the Ox than there has been to 2021.
As everyone hopes for a year filled with luck and prosperity — or just, y’know, a few hours without some stress-inducing news story — big brands have begun releasing their Lunar New Year collections inspired by the hardworking and honest ox.
Here’s our roundup of some of the hottest drops for the New Year.
Here’s What Big Fashion Brands are Dropping for Year of the Rat
Chinese New Year drops from Nike are always highly coveted, and this year they’ve truly outdone themselves with their traditional Chinese-inspired pieces, dropping a mix of lifestyle and performance sneakers.
The standout sneaker was for sure the Air Jordan Low “CNY.” Incorporating ox-themed embroidery and a golden tassel into the traditional red and black Jordan design, this shoe perfectly epitomizes the collection.
Air Jordan 1 Low “CNY.” Source: Nike
Adidas, meanwhile, is releasing a series of Lunar New Year collections for several major soccer teams — including Arsenal, Juventus, Real Madrid, and Manchester United. This fairly low-effort collection features ox-themed prints over various training jackets.
Manchester United CNY Padded Jacket (source: Adidas)
Vans collaborated with Chinese designer Suwokou for its New Year collection. The VANS x THEY ARE line utilizes creatives from China’s skateboarding, street culture, art, and music scenes to showcase their visions for Year of the Ox — bold, vibrant colors are the highlight of the collection.
Vans Old Skool (source: Vans)
Leading Chinese sports brand Li-Ning have added a dose of nostalgia to their various Year of the Ox collections. Wrapped up in imagery of old-school gaming consoles — one shot features a Subor machine, the makers of which went out of business late last year — Li-Ning’s New Year line merges playful nods to tradition with comfortable athleisure cuts. One range of sweatshirts, for example, comes emblazoned with ox illustrations and the words “Rich everyday” (pictured at top).
Li-Ning’s Year of the Ox basketball sneakers. Source: Li-Ning
Luxury designers have also been trickling out their Lunar New Year collections, and some have already kicked off a wave of controversy.
Louis Vuitton, Coach, and Burberry have all incorporated variations of the mighty ox into their designs, but it’s Burberry that got the most tongues wagging — and not necessarily in a good way.
LV designed a cutsey cartoon ox, working the animal onto scarves, piggy banks, and necklaces. Coach followed suit, including a painted cartoon calf on their classic tote bag.
Louis Vuitton Scarves. Source: Louis Vuitton
By contrast Burberry was more stylized with their designs, incorporating a monogram motif of an ox’s head into the brand’s iconic check print. Their collection included jackets, bags, and caps.
Photography by Feng Li. Source: Burberry
But the brand’s advertising for the collections has been bashed by some online, with one of the most upvoted comments on Chinese social media stating that even the beauty of supermodel Liu Wen cannot “save this campaign from its ridiculousness.”
What makes it all worse is that Burberry has had a history of these mishaps in China. When will they learn?
3 Huge Chinese New Year Advertising Fails from International Brands
High-end jewelers and watchmakers such as Harry Winston, Piaget, Jaquet Droz, and Vacheron Constantin have also enshrined the ox in their classic timepieces. Following last year’s Year of the Rat watch, Chopard again utilized the Japanese lacquer painting technique, urushi, on its watch face.
Chopard L.U.C XP Urushi Year Of The Ox Watch (source: Chopard)
With such a massive market to target, Starbucks usually goes all out with its holiday collections.
The coffee giant’s New Year release — decked out in red, white, black, and gold ox and flower graphics — includes more than 20 drinking vessels, a stuffed bear toy, snow globe, teapot, and adorable ox coin bank (for storing the cash from those red packets, of course).
Starbucks Year of the Ox Collection (source: Starbucks)
Meanwhile, Mattel have released a special edition Lunar New Year Barbie doll, apparently for “adult collectors.” Setting you back 50USD, the doll comes “elegantly dressed in a red satin cheongsam with a delicate teal trim, Chinese knot style buttons and a peony print symbolizing prosperity and good fortune.”
In the tech field, Apple unveiled a limited edition set of AirPod Pros that it hopes will be a cash cow for the Year of the Ox.
Apple AirPod Pro Limited Edition (source: Apple)
Lego has also released some Year of the Ox sets to celebrate the forthcoming New Year featuring family-oriented scenes, a Lantern Festival celebration, and a “happy childhood moments” set aimed at younger children.
More on those here:
Lego Reveals 2021 Chinese New Year Sets
Header image: Li-Ning’s Chinese New Year 2021 Campaign (source: Li-Ning)
We highlight our top stories each week in an email newsletter that goes out every Monday - hot, fresh, and straight to your inbox.
Don't worry, we don't spam
Thousands of earthlings have signed up for our newsletter, and you should do the same