In this age of creative crossovers and limited-edition capsule collections, it was only a matter of time before HeyTea decided to jump on the bandwagon: The Chinese beverage chain recently collaborated with the Japanese musician, streetwear designer, and tastemaker Hiroshi Fujiwara, the head of multidisciplinary imprint Fragment Design.
Both sides announced the partnership on April 7, causing quite a stir on Chinese social media, with a related hashtag gaining more than 22 million views on Weibo.
When the HeyTea x Fragment collection officially dropped on the former’s WeChat store on April 15, it sold out in mere minutes.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Hiroshi Fujiwara (@fujiwarahiroshi)
A post shared by Hiroshi Fujiwara (@fujiwarahiroshi)
Fans were smitten with the collection’s sleek design and simple white logos against a plain black background.
“The black feels very sophisticated and cool!” commented one netizen, while another user trapped in Shanghai’s ongoing Covid-19 lockdown lamented, “I wish we could order it in Shanghai too.”
HeyTea released only 3,000 reusable mugs, each costing a steep 399 RMB (about 62 USD), and 1,000 water bottles, priced at an even steeper 699 RMB each. The beverage chain also debuted a new strawberry-flavored smoothie served in a Fragment Design-designed black cup, which, like the mug and water bottle, quickly took over Chinese social media.
As seen below, some buyers have even re-purposed the black smoothie vessels as stylish flower vases.
Image via Weibo
However, some fans have expressed their disappointment in the Japanese designer on Instagram, criticizing Fujiwara for choosing profit over integrity.
“(The collection) totally ruined my respect for Fragment Design,” wrote one hater online.
HeyTea went as far as redecorating one of its stores in the South China tech hub of Shenzhen in anticipation of the capsule collection. Image via Weibo
Known as the inventor of cheese tea, which, unlike traditional milk tea, is anointed with a savory-sweet topping, HeyTea has been trying to build a more upscale image over the past few years.
This attempt at sophistication involves promoting its use of high-quality ingredients and setting up designer flagship stores in fashionable shopping malls around China.
Despite making a public pledge to lower its prices, HeyTea still falls on the expensive end of China’s tea drinks market, causing some to compare them to Starbucks.
Cover image via Weibo
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