In China today it’s impossible to miss the new wave of young, hip streetwear devotees spreading their influence.
From hip-hop culture, fuelled by celebrities such as Kris Wu and the Higher Brothers, to a slew of luxury brand collaborations aimed at Chinese millennials, the signs are everywhere – but before all of that, there was Yoho!
Some insiders consider Yoho! the birthplace of alternative fashion and youth culture in China. Launched in 2005, Yoho! was the definitive source for all things trendy in the celebrity-driven fashion world. Today, its influence is far from underground, spanning a WeChat platform, an e-commerce site, Yoho! Buy, and Mars, a lifestyle app spotlighting China’s hippest cafes, bars, and boutiques. It generated more than three billion yuan (US$431 million) in revenue in 2017.
Yoho! has been a key resource for importing streetwear culture from the West and other parts of Asia. This includes collaborations between the platform and a wealth of streetwear icons, from the founding father of Japanese streetwear NIGO and American rapper Pharrell Williams to graffiti artist Futura and Justin Bieber’s stylist Karla Welch.
The turning point for Yoho! came in 2013, when it introduced female-focused fashion magazine Yoho! Girl, bringing women under 25 into a space that had previously focused on men, much like Hong Kong’s streetwear resource Hypebae. The magazine is now a space for KOLs (key opinion leaders) and fashion designers such as Wenjun Lau and Angel Chen.
That same year, Yoho! opened its doors to an international audience with its business-to-consumer Yo’hood trade show, a three-day mecca for all things streetwear in Shanghai. Since its first edition, Yo’hood has seen significant growth. Attendance and brand participation at the three-day event have nearly tripled, with more international brands joining in on the action and hoping to get a slice of strong millennial spending power.
Dubbed a “global fashion carnival”, the latest edition of Yo’Hood was full of Weibo-friendly backdrops and immersive experiences fit for internet celebrities set on sharing the streetwear lifestyle, not just fashion, with their fans.