SHANGHAI — A few years ago, digital-marketing strategists were buzzing about how brands needed to tap into Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, as a platform to communicate with the country’s more than 500 million Internet users.
But now there is an alternative. While Sina Weibo, the most popular Chinese microblog site operated by Internet giant Sina Corporation, still remains an important component of brands’ digital marketing mix, a new social networking service has emerged that is rapidly becoming the next must-use tool to communicate with tech-savvy Chinese consumers. It is called WeChat, and since Tencent Holdings, also a Chinese Internet behemoth, launched it in late 2011, the service has amassed some 300 million users, 70 million of whom are located outside the mainland.
In its August report on social media use by brands globally, digital innovation think tank L2 called WeChat the “hottest platform on the planet.”
WeChat (known as Weixin in China) is similar to Whatsapp, a mobile messaging application popular in the West that enables users to send messages using their phone’s 3G or Wi-Fi connection. What makes WeChat unique is that it has rolled into one application popular features from other social networking services as well as a few distinct innovations.
Similar to Facebook’s activity feed, users can share photos, videos and music with WeChat contacts who can post comments about the content. A walkie-talkie function allows users to send real-time voice messages; there is a live video-chat feature, and subscribers can enable a “shake” function to locate users nearby. Users can also form chat groups of friends or with those who have similar interests. Most users are white-collar urbanites between the ages of 20 and 39, according to Tencent.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast