Dopamine, or the “feel-good” hormone, has taken a new form in China’s fashion scene.
As Gen Zs and millennials continue to find joy in expressing their emotions in vibrant outfits, the perception of Chinese fashion trends has become more than just the fabric or luxury.
The Dopamine trend in China aims to not only express personal style by picking outfits with bright colors but also present an aesthetic that makes people feel happy.
Beyond its visual appeal, dopamine dressing signifies a broader cultural shift in the country’s fashion market. Because of this, we collated important facts about this joyful dressing trend to help foreign brands navigate and utilize this new fashion phenomenon.
What is Dopamine Dressing and why is it popular in China?
Dopamine Dressing has gained popularity in China due to its alignment with the nation’s evolving cultural landscape. These trends resonate with the younger generation’s desire for emotional expression and individuality.
China’s robust social media culture and influencer-driven trends have amplified the trend’s visibility, making it a viral sensation.
It also offers an escape from conformity, enabling people to break free from traditional fashion norms and embrace vibrant, mood-enhancing styles.
As a synthesis of neurochemistry and fashion, it taps into the universal pursuit of joy while challenging perceptions of clothing as a medium for self-identity and emotional well-being.
When did dopamine dressing start?
It began taking hold in China around 2022. It initially gained traction among university students seeking a unique and mood-boosting way to express themselves in everyday life through bright colors and patterns.
Over time, the trend’s popularity spread through social media platforms, with influencers and celebrities contributing to its rapid rise and establishing it as a significant fashion phenomenon in China’s cultural landscape.
5 Facts About the Dopamine Fashion Market in China
Fact #1: The core of this clothing trend is bright colors
Each outfit categorized in this clothing style includes a vibrant array of colors. With a deliberate choice of bold and vivid shades, it seeks to create a visual symphony that speaks directly to the soul, invoking joy and elevating spirits through every stitch and seam.
For clothing brands that intend to ride on this trend’s popularity, you should know that it isn’t merely about fabric. From sunny yellows that radiate positivity to passionate reds that ignite energy, every color a person decides to put in their outfit signifies something they want to express.
Photo by MART PRODUCTION from Pexels
Fact #2: Gen Zs & Millennials are the driving force of the Dopamine Trends
So, who came up with dopamine dressing trends? It’s no secret that Gen Zs and Millenials around the world seek self-expression in everything they buy or own. In China’s fashion market, the same consumer trend can be said for younger shoppers. With their innate desire for individuality, they have wholeheartedly embraced this style in their everyday life.
The trend’s popularity among Gen Z and millennials reflects their preference for experiences that resonate on a deeper level. It also aligns with their digital prowess and ability to share and amplify trends through Chinese social media platforms, effectively establishing this fashion styling as a vibrant cultural phenomenon.
Since these young consumers cover 40% of China’s population, their purchasing decisions and behavior significantly affect the country’s fashion business scene. In fact, if you look at the graph below, you’ll see that around 342 million monthly active internet users in China are Gen Zs.
Familiarizing with these popular trends gives global brands more insight into the younger local consumer segment. These shopping patterns also allow marketers to plan a more effective digital marketing strategy to connect with their intended audience.
Unlike other Gen Zs from Western countries, younger consumers in China spend more income on luxury goods and fashionable items. It’s also why this distinct style continues to appeal to the Chinese market, as it evokes individualistic feelings and exclusivity.
Source: Bloomberg News
Fact #3: Influencers & social media made Dopamine Dressing famous in China
In today’s digital age, Chinese consumers respond more positively to KOL marketing campaigns than typical ad placements. Whether it’s food or clothing, the local market highly values the expertise of these influencers. Thanks to this trust, they can sway their audience’s buying preferences.
Influencers, such as 白昼小熊 (Daytime Bear), have harnessed the power of platforms like Douyin, Xiaohongshu, and Bilibili to showcase their dopamine-inspired ensembles. Chinese KOLs are more than trendsetters; they are cultural catalysts who can turn these trends into a widespread movement.
白昼小熊 (Daytime Bear) on Douyin
Their authentic engagement and relatable content have bridged the gap between neurochemistry and fashion, compelling their followers to embrace these trends with open arms.
This style also found its natural habitat in social media platforms. Weibo and Xiaohongshu have become virtual runways for dopamine-dressing enthusiasts to showcase their outfits, connecting individuals who share a passion for joy-infused styling and emotional expression.
These platforms provide a stage for dopamine dressing enthusiasts to display how they’re dressed, engage in conversations, share styling tips, and create outfit inspiration for special events.
Fact #4: “Feel Good” style has an inter-generational appeal
The dopamine dressing has transcended generational boundaries, proving that joy knows no age limits. Senior influencers like 康康和爷爷 (Kang Kang and Grandpa) have embraced the style, showcasing its universal appeal and reflecting a cultural shift in perceptions of style and age-related stereotypes.
The inter-generational appeal of this style highlights its ability to evoke positivity across different age groups. It underscores how clothing can become a language of emotions that connects individuals of all ages, defying societal norms and fostering a sense of unity through joy-infused fashion.
As you can see in the above graph, online Chinese shoppers are prevalent in every age group. Although younger people are more active online, the percentage of older consumers buying products and services virtually signifies that their generation can adapt to different trends in the market.
With dopamine dressing still trending in China, foreign brands can take this chance to appeal to different Chinese age groups and a broader audience.
Fact #5: It signifies changing consumer behavior in the market
Dopamine dressing shows a profound shift in consumer behavior within the Chinese fashion market. It mirrors a society that values emotional well-being and self-contentment, transforming clothing from a mere covering to a canvas for expressing positivity and enhancing mood.
The trend’s emphasis on emotion-driven fashion challenges traditional notions of clothing as a functional necessity. It reflects the changing priorities of consumers who seek authenticity, self-expression, and emotional resonance in their style choices, driving brands to pivot towards designs that cater to the heart as much as they do to the eye.
Before dopamine styles became local trends, Chinese consumers viewed fashion as part of their typical lifestyle. Unlike today, they believe that trendy items are for younger people and are presentations of popular brands.
If you examine the graph, you’ll notice that fashion for distinct personalities is at the bottom of the list. With dopamine styles slowly conquering the local market, it’s evident that this perception is about to change.
A considerable part of the changing consumer behavior in the Chinese market is the high spending rate of local Gen Zs. With the younger generation leading this trendy revolution, foreign brands can only keep up with the ever-changing industry if they look through their lens.
Ready To Dominate The Chinese Fashion Market? Get In Touch With Us Today!
Fashion remains one of the most lucrative market segments in China. Although it offers many business opportunities for foreign brands, it’s worth noting that it’s a dynamic landscape with challenges that only experts can help you navigate.
At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand Chinese nuances, consumer preferences, and shifting trends. With our fashion market expertise, you can unlock your brand’s potential and establish yourself as a prominent industry leader.
Whether it’s crafting compelling advertising campaigns, utilizing social media platforms, or making waves with PR, we have the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let us help you navigate the intricacies of the Chinese fashion market.