Global fashion brands and the construction of ‘modern girl’ archetypes in the emerging Chinese market

Eric Ping Hung Li, Fiona Li, Magnum Lam, Wing Sun Liu, Xin Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The rapid growth of the Chinese economy since the late 1970s has dramatically changed the dynamics of the marketplace. China’s consumer society has been transformed to a more liberal market system in which a variety of diverse market imageries have been created and circulated to consumers. This article examines how global fashion brands construct different ‘modern girl’ archetypes for consumers in the emerging Chinese market. Through conducting a semiotic analysis of printed advertisements published in four major fashion magazines during a four-year period from the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2012, we identified six ‘modern girl’ archetypes constructed by global fashion brands. Our findings reveal a dialogical relationship between brand-created imageries and prevailing cultural attitudes. We argue that fashion brands strategically create alternative modern girl archetypes as a way to depict a new era marked by the liberation of Chinese women under the influence of global consumer culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-219
Number of pages19
JournalFashion, Style and Popular Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Advertisement
  • Archetype
  • China
  • Fashion brands
  • Modern girl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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