AmorePacific, Korea's largest cosmetics company, hopes to overcome its current slump by launching a new product in collaboration with Italian luxury brand Off-White.
The item, called "Protection Box," is made up of limited-edition beauty products and fashion accessories. AmorePacific is making the mask packs and lip balms that go into the box, while Off-White is producing face masks as well as the container.
The container can be used as a bag with a strap, which was designed by Off-White with an emphasis on "protection" during the coronavirus pandemic.
This is the first time Off-White has collaborated with a Korean firm to introduce a cosmetic product.
A Korean employee at the Italian fashion company's headquarters in Milan came up with the idea to test the product's potential in the Chinese market. Off-White's popularity as a luxury street brand has been growing explosively in Asian markets including China, Korea and Japan.
Off-White's aim coincided with the interests of AmorePacific, whose main overseas customer base is in China. The Korean cosmetics firm had been enjoying skyrocketing sales and profits in China until 2017. But things changed after the Chinese government decided to take economic retaliation measures and regulate Korean firms operating there, while restricting Chinese tourists from visiting Korea. The move by Beijing came after Korea deployed a U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system, intended to detect and shoot down incoming North Korean missiles. But China claims the system's powerful radar could be used to spy on its own airspace.
AmorePacific's overseas sales declined 13 percent in the third quarter of last year and its overall revenue plummeted 23 percent.
In his New Year address, AmorePacific Chairman Suh Kyung-bae said the company should focus on building up a strong brand reflecting the spirit of the times. He was referring to the collaboration with Off-White, which is often referred to as the "Chanel of millennials."
AmorePacific has reportedly been preparing for the collaboration with Off-White since last year. The Korean cosmetics company established a special taskforce just for this project, hoping for a rebound in the Chinese market. This can be seen in the company's decision to use the AmorePacific name in the collaborative project instead of its proprietary labels such as Sulwhasoo or Laneige, which are already premium brands.
"This shows how AmorePacific is taking this project seriously. It reflects Chairman Suh's strong will to play the brand game. The cosmetics firm's collaboration with global brands will continue," an AmorePacific official said.
Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White, has a successful track record of collaborating with global brands like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Rimowa. Abloh has also served as artistic director for Louis Vuitton's menswear since 2018. Abloh is well-known for being extra picky in choosing business partners.
Protection Box is set to be released online on Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. through AmorePacific's official website first. The limited edition will be sold by random draw.
A "Yut" game kit will be included as part of the product to celebrate the Lunar New Year. Yut is a popular Korean traditional board game that is played during the New Year holiday. Abloh is said to have suggested including the Yut game kit in the Protection Box and this is why its release date was scheduled just before the Lunar New Year holiday on Feb. 12 this year.
Naver Shopping will sell the item next, starting Feb. 8. After two days, the remaining stock will be available at AmorePacific stores. The collaborative product will be available in China and Japan from March and the cosmetics company will not produce any more afterwards.
"We are very happy to collaborate with one of the world's most popular fashion brands. AmorePacific will continue to do its best to create a beautiful and healthy world based on customer-centered values," AmorePacific CEO Ahn Se-hong said.
source: The Korea Times