The Chinese zodiac refers to an animal every year in a repeating 12-year cycle. Its variations and related customs are popular in several Asian countries, including China, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Myanmar and some other countries. According to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is the Year of the Dog.
In China, many people born in an animal year may wear red, or clothes featuring symbols corresponding to their particular year in the 12-year cycle, which is believed to bring good luck in zodiac years.
During the past decades, China's has developed rapidly and Chinese consumers contribute much more to the worldwide market. As Chinese cultural influence keeps increasing around the world, certain foreign brands have started selling products designed with Chinese themes and zodiac symbols attract customers in China and abroad. Those special products can also be seen as a celebration and a tribute to the new beginnings for the coming year.
With about one month until Chinese New Year, products for the Year of the Dog can be found in shops and e-stores, however, some of them are not exactly to Chinese taste.
Clothes, shoes and bags
The famous Italian brand Gucci has a set of limited products to welcome the Year of the Dog, including wallets, handbags, card holders, tops and shoes. All of them are patterned with a Boston terrier in the middle, along with a typical Gucci design. In reality, dogs can sometimes guard humans from danger, however, a few Chinese netizens criticized these products online because the terrier's face is considered to be fierce and threatening. "It seems like it's staring at me," an online comment said.
The popular sports brand Nike is also selling sneakers for the Year of the Dog. A pair of new "Air Force 1" shoes has been inspired by a series of Chinese elements. This exclusive collection has the Chinese character "獒"－pronounced as Ao－which represents the Tibetan mastiff on the heel and the pony hair materials symbolizing the massive dog breed, while on the toe mudguard there are graphics related to interior artwork of temples. This pair of shoes is similar to another Nike "Air Force 1" for the last Year of the Dog 12 years ago, but it seems to be superior compared with the 2006 collection. Many Chinese consumers bought this in regret for missing the 2006 shoes, while the others prefer the character rather than the image.
Giorgio Armani marks the coming Year of the Dog with the Limited Edition Chinese New Year Highlighting Palette. There is an image of a dog on the surface of the powder, and a Chinese character "福"－pronounced as Fu－which represents good fortune, is on the red cover of the palette. It is the third limited palette for a zodiac year. The first one was in 2016 for the Year of the Monkey and the second one was in 2017 for the Year of the Rooster. "But it is difficult to recognize the dog image," said many Chinese netizens about the design.
Estée Lauder Year of the Dog Powder Compact by luxury jewelry designer and storyteller Monica Rich Kosann is introduced with "the Year of the Dog is a great year to start new business ventures" and grabs the attention of people born in the Year of the Dog by describing them as "honest, loyal, smart, and having a strong sense of duty and justice". Jewelry and dog patterns are combined in these designs. There was also a 2016 limited edition for the Year of the Monkey and an edition for the Year of the Rooster. However, comments like "too 'resplendent'", "Estée Lauder has overdone it", "a disaster for trypophobics" have appeared frequently online.
Swarovski, a jewelry brand popular with young people, sells special Chinese zodiac decorations every year. Commonly there are two styles of products – the one is standard while the other is quite cute and features the attributes of the animal it is based on. For example, in 2018 one special edition for the Year of the Dog is an 849-faceted golden crystal dog, with the base featuring the brand logo and the Chinese character for "dog". The cute edition is a blue crystal dog named "Loyal Dog". Previous cute special editions included "Decisive Rooster", "Cheerful Monkey", "Gracious Rabbit", "Protective Snake" and so on. "It is an unnecessary decoration, but it is cute," an online comment said.
Pandora will not design a new dog charm, but they previewed the Chinese New Year 2018 Collections recently. There are two new designs. One is the Luck and Fortune charm, featuring cheerful red enamel with beautiful detailing. Another is the Chinese character 囍－pronounced as Xi－the Double Happiness dangle. But the Double Happiness dangle is not for the New Year, in fact, it is for traditional Chinese wedding ceremonies.