Manu Atelier is launching on WeChat with KOLs like Savi’s Look and Mia Kong starring in a new campaign. The cult favorite accessories label loved by Bella and Gigi Hadid and even Kate Middleton is debuting its store on the Chinese platform this week.
This coincides with the activation of the Istanbul based label’s pre fall ’20 campaign, Sculpting Manu, on social platforms worldwide, WeChat included.
“We already have a very strong following in China and a loyal customer base,” said Beste Manastir, co-founder of Manu Atelier with sister Merve. Prior to the pandemic, many Chinese clients would visit their Istanbul showroom to make purchases — a common additional sales channel operated by contemporary brands in the city.
Now their new official presence within China itself will allow them to tell their brand story directly to customers in an authentic way, she said.
Western sites are often hard to access in China so consumers tend to prefer using WeChat as it offers them a better e-commerce experience. It also gives them confidence that they are purchasing the real thing.
Manastir noted that a validated account on an official channel will help the brand control the issue with replica products prevalent in the region.
The Manu Atelier global pre fall ’20 campaign features a mix of international creatives including Key Opinion Leasers (KOLs) such as Dazed China style director Mia Kong, Hong Kong Vogue fashion editor Cherry Muii, fashion designer Licheng Ling, stylist Justin Lee, DJ Louise Chan and Beijing based influencer Savi’s Look who is popular with brands including Chanel and Stella McCartney.
Although a global phenomenon, Influencers or KOLs hold particular resonance within the Chinese market. “They can often be more effective in driving sales than those in other parts of the world as rates of conversion can be greater,” Manastir observed.
On the one hand, it’s down to reach but that’s not the whole story.
China is very region specific when it comes to consumers. “Working with an influencer popular in a particular city, she explained, makes it much easier for a brand to target a very specific demographic.”
Trust is another possible factor in play with people relying on trusted sources to check the legitimacy of a certain shop or site. “That trust makes a difference because of the issues with copies,” she added.
The Sculpting Manu campaign was conceived with the help of Declan Chan, style director for Hong Kong monthly Men’s Uno. Each contributor was asked to create a tableau, or sculpture, of their personal picks from Manu Atelier’s pre fall ’20 collection together with personal items from their own homes.
Mia Kong, for instance, styled the brand’s ruched cylinder bag and lace sandals with ingredients from her favorite cocktail and a bottle of Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria scent in Coconut Fizz.
“We wanted to do something different so we asked them to to create a different form of expression of their personal style rather than just an outfit,” Manastir said.