Beckhams' star power shines
Updated: 2013-07-03 02:25
By Gan Tian (China Daily)
David Beckham makes an appearance in a H&M outlet in Beijing to promote his Bodywear collection. Provided to China Daily
The famous husband and wife team formed a formidable double act as they toured China to talk soccer, flog fashion and promote their personal brand. Gan Tian reports.
Celebrity couple David and Victoria Beckham have completed a whirlwind tour of China to cash in on the country's fashion industry.
David Beckham, who became Chinese soccer's global ambassador in March, was in Beijing on June 24 to donate several items to the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation for a charity auction raising money to promote young football players.
When the superstar visited Tongji University in Shanghai on June 22 there was a stampede that left at least seven people injured.
On Tuesday, he appeared in an outlet of fashion brand H&M, promoting one of his collections. In deference to the Chinese predilection for red, the underwear in his upcoming David Beckham Bodywear autumn/winter collection will include the color, he says.
TV advertisements for the Beckham-H&M line show the athletic, semi-naked body of the former England captain. It attracted more than 100,000 hits not long after being uploaded to China's video website Youku.com.
Fashionable thermal underwear, or "long johns", designed for Chinese people, are also planned, Beckham says.
On June 24, Victoria Beckham was at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, speaking with Vogue China's editorial director Angelica Cheung about her designs and her career as a fashion designer.
Victoria Beckham shares her fashion experience with Chinese fans as part of her visit to the country. Provided to China Daily
She also visited Lane Crawford, which distributes clothes carrying the Victoria Beckham label, and met customers and dignitaries. The former Spice Girl says she will open a boutique in Beijing.
"Reaching my Chinese customers is incredible. I am currently working on e-commerce, which means you can buy clothes online from China. This market is very important because women here understand what I do as a designer," Victoria Beckham says.
Shi Zhiqiang, fashion director with Time Out Beijing, says: "The Beckhams know how to use their star power to get attention from the fashion industry. Chinese consumers, most of whom are fans of the couple, will spend money on their products and become hardcore fans of their brands."
H&M China says most buyers of David Beckham's bodywear products are women who purchase them for their boyfriends or husbands.
The last time Beckham was in China, he caused a minor stir at Peking University when he took off his shirt and showed his tattoos during a talk.
This time, a reporter asked him to let Chinese fans get a peak at the underwear he had designed, a request the footballer demurely declined.
Victoria Beckham has a huge fan base in China, many of whom grew up in the 1980s and '90s, when English pop music first came to the country, creating a generation of Spice Girl fans.
Most of her designs cater to slim lines. There are razor-sharp dresses and corsets, jackets with functional pockets and short, sporty skirts.
"Strong, independent women will love her designs, because her creations can empower women," Cheung says. "Her garments help them to become much more confident, elegant and stylish."
Spice Girls' fans, most of them now in their late 20s or 30s, have become Victoria Beckham's potential consumers, especially white-collar female office workers.
The couple are not shy when it comes to cross-promotion, with Victoria Beckham telling media on June 24 that her husband supported her work as a designer, and David Beckham telling the H&M event the next day that his wife is a very talented fashion designer, worthy of Chinese fashionistas' attention.
But not everyone was eating from the Beckhams' hands when they were in China.
Show business observer Yang Qin says they are another case of outdated celebrities visiting China with little more to do than cash in on their fame.
"The Beckhams are not the only ones. Outdated Japanese and South Korean celebrities come to China looking for opportunities, too," Yang says.
"Chinese people buy it, believing in international star power, which is exactly why these people can make money here."