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Home » Proenza Schouler Teams With Alibaba’s Tmall for Livestream and Digital Store Launch

Proenza Schouler Teams With Alibaba’s Tmall for Livestream and Digital Store Launch

by News Desk

On Friday morning, Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez introduced their New York-based label to Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform with the brand’s first livestream experience as part of its digital Chinese flagship launch this week.

As of Friday, Alibaba’s Tmall platform has more than 200 brands on its Luxury Pavilion; the Proenza Schouler livestream served as an official introduction of the brand to the platform’s Chinese consumers. 

In addition, May 20 — or 520, which sounds like “I Love You,” in Chinese — is a major shopping date in China and is considered a second Chinese Valentine’s Day. While many consumers in China are still in lockdown and unable to physically shop and travel, due to the pandemic, the livestream served as a way to bring the brand, and Manhattan’s SoHo, to China in an exciting way. 

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez showcasing a look to host Zoe Zhang during the Proenza Schouler Tmall livestream.
Courtesy of Alibaba

The morning started at 8 a.m. EST / 8 p.m. GMT, with host Zoe Zhang, cofounder of livestream commerce, business and tech solution company And Luxe Inc., welcoming livestreaming customers into SoHo — stopping at Dominique Ansel Bakery for pastries, and wandering through the luxury store-filled streets until meeting McCollough and Hernandez at their 121 Greene Street flagship half an hour later.

From there, the designers introduced their label — sharing background information and insight — and welcomed the growing audience into their store, where they showcased myriad garments while explaining the construction, fabrication, design theory, and joys of their ready-to-wear and accessory styles currently available to buy on the Proenza Schouler Tmall shop. For instance, a model donned collection looks spanning from spring 2022’s fringed yellow bouclé knit frock and bright pink pleated jersey dress to a preview of their pre-fall 2022 collection’s feather-trimmed black biker shorts, while McCollough and Hernandez displayed garments from their White Label and sustainable core offerings, handbags and footwear.

Throughout the livestream, customers were able to simultaneously use the platform’s chat function to ask questions, give feedback, and connect with the designers while instantly shopping — call it “see-now-buy-now, 2.0.” Additionally, viewers had the opportunity to win exclusive Proenza Schouler “prizes,” (shoes from the brand’s Birkenstock collaboration, a PS1 Mini Crossbody bag, and colorful fruit-themed beach towels included) through Tmall’s mid-livestream “Lucky Draw” games. 

By the end of the livestream at 9:30 a.m EST, the brand had amassed 27,000 viewers and 27,500 likes, as well as hundreds of new followers to its digital Tmall shop. 

Lazaro Hernandez, Jack McCollough and Zoe Zhang during the Proenza Schouler Tmall livestream.
Ben Hider

Prior to the launch, Proenza Shouler and Alibaba connected over mutual interest and worked together for a year on the buildup and logistics of the brand’s foray into the new territory.

“It was really exciting for us,” Hernandez explained post-livestream. “We’ve never had so much of a retail presence in China. People love the brand, but it was hard to get it out there, so it felt like the right time to explore that world and dip our toes into that market. It’s an exciting place to be — this is our first big foray into that with Tmall. We ship to China through our own e-commerce channels but it’s so nice to have a digital flagship there.”

“It’s also such a different ballgame logistically the way things are structured, especially online. You really want to be on those platforms, versus our [U.S.] platform,” McCollough echoed.

Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez showcasing a look to host Zoe Zhang during the Proenza Schouler Tmall livestream.
Courtesy of Alibaba

“With Alibaba and Tmall as partners, you couldn’t ask for anything better. They’re amazing, it’s much better for us to be in China with them than to do it from here [New York]. The support and partnership are invaluable for us. It’s our first big step out there,” Hernandez said, with McCollough in agreement.

Going forward, the brand’s digital Tmall shop will continue to offer customers new mainline collections, White Label, core styles, accessories and footwear. 

“We’ll start doing a lot of product exclusives for Tmall and that region, which always helps the business. We do that with a lot of our partners across all categories,” McCollough explained. 

“I think, ultimately, it would be nice to start having brick-and-mortar out there, but this is step one,” Hernandez said, adding that the duo would be interested in follow-up Tmall livestreams to further engage and directly communicate with their expanding Chinese customer base.

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