The versatile ugly-cute "big-eye cute", high-saturation color-blocking "dopamine", lovable blinking dinosaur "eye-catching bag", furry "lion dance", and the "awkward digging ground" open-toe styles...Recently, hundreds of thousands of netizens nationwide gathered online to watch an unconventional fashion show together.
When the comment section was flooded with remarks like "so ugly yet so lovely" and "especially easy to lose yet still want to buy more", many realized that the quirky fashion show starred none other than the Crocs shoes that have always wavered between fashionable and faded, and their peripherals.
That's right, Crocs have made a comeback!
After years of absence, what is behind the charm of the newly popular "Crocs shoes"? The answers may vary, but the decorative Jibbitz charms, known as the "shoe flowers", certainly play a huge part.
"Only your imagination limits you, nothing is impossible for Crocs charms." As a "beauty filter" for the "ugly shoes", the charms that cost just pennies to dollars have driven the interest business among the younger generation.
Flashlights, cracking melon seeds, burgers and fried chicken - Young people's wild ideas shown on shoes
Staring at her phone screen, Hangzhou girl Xiaomin, a self-proclaimed "Crocs believer", realized that Crocs have changed their "opening method" again when they walked down the runway.
To bring the quirky "Crocs culture" into the public view, at 8:08 pm on August 8th, a "Hole-iest" time, Taobao held a "Hole Lot of Fun" Crocs fashion show.
What is the "Crocs culture"? Young people who are into Crocs call themselves disciples who have entered the "Crocs door". Xiaomin said with the dominance of Crocs believers on social platforms, there has even been an online saying: "Once you enter the Crocs door, you are trapped", meaning once you start wearing Crocs, you can never take them off.
"One of the most important reasons you can't take them off is probably the flashy charms." Crocs OOTD, "share your charms with me"...The charms contributed greatly to Crocs' successful fashion circle comeback.
On social platforms, charm outfit inspiration posts are all the rage, with over 50,000 posts, and Crocs peripherals exceed 1.58 million, while search volume for the keyword "Crocs door" exceeds 46 million. Xiaomin said new Crocs disciples often follow the trend and ask netizens to "share their charms".
According to Taobao, the "Hole Lot of Fun" fashion show selected eight designers out of 2000 candidates to showcase their amazing works. "Crocs represents a certain French lifestyle," said the designer of the flashlight charm, conveying a yearning for "light" using laser elements in the design.
"Art is from life," in the eyes of the mahjong and melon seed charms designer, inspiration comes from daily life like playing mahjong and cracking melon seeds; while the burger and fried chicken charms designer admitted the inspiration simply comes from "the extreme hunger in the afternoon everyday".
After watching this stylistic "charm" show, some netizens said it's their "first contact with the Crocs door". Seeing the official event's wild ideas and creative charms made them want to join the "Crocs door" too.
1 Crocs pair for every 4.35 Gen Z - Inconspicuous peripherals generate millions in business
Charms, with endless combinations, also incur additional costs to wear Crocs. Cute, quirky, gentle, cool, charms of various styles make uniform Crocs vibrantly exhibit different personalities. But to "Crocs believers", wearing Crocs without charms is simply unacceptable.
According to a Taobao 2023 Crocs Trend Report, 16.59 million people searched for Crocs on Taobao in July alone, up 48% over the same period last year, repeatedly topping Taobao's hot search. Crocs' exclusive charms attracted over 1 million Taobao searches, up 118% year-over-year.
As colorful charms become an outlet for Crocs consumers to express individuality, many businesses have noticed this unassuming money-maker.
Zhu Wei, born in 1997, made nearly 1 million RMB reselling charms in one year as a "hungry hustler". Inconspicuous charms brought Zhu Wei his first pot of gold. In his shop, a 5-cent candy charm sold over 3,000 pieces a month. In less than a year of opening his online store, sales reached nearly one million RMB.
"Charms went viral this year, with explosive growth in consumer groups and popular styles." Through interacting with "Crocs believers", Zhu Wei strongly felt the red-hot DIY charm trend. He revealed that his 5-person shop can sell over 500 charm orders a day.
"We didn't know charms were a niche on Taobao until recently," said national-style shop "Bud Qiqi Handmade", which recently launched the distinctively Chinese style "Lion Dance" charms, reminiscent of traditional tiger head shoes. The collision between traditional embroidery and cool Crocs presents a "Chinese style" and modern fusion.
"Crocs is a huge container that can accommodate different cultures, so why can't it be neo-Chinese?" said the inheritor of the lion dance intangible cultural heritage. "Lion dance embroidery has been passed down from my great grandfather, it's also the dream of our generation, to pass on and promote the traditional craft."
Bizarre yet proper charm designs stoked consumers' shopping fervor. Netizen Xiaoni buys charms twice a week. "Matching Crocs with these seemingly insignificant charms is a cross-dimensional aesthetic DIY." Some complained about the wearing experience - comfort aside, charms fall off non-stop throughout the day, resulting in constant re-buying. Others self-comforted saying "Seeing everyone's charms fall off puts me at ease."
The newly launched croc lights charms by croc lights are uniquely angled to prevent falling off during wear. According to official data, over 1 million croc lights have been sold so far, showing the market's enthusiasm for the product.
Even so, in front of young people eager to express individuality, the Crocs-based "Crocs door" is extending into a typical social circle. And the small charms have become an outlet for young people to exert creativity and socialize.
According to the report, Crocs are especially popular among young people, with the thick-soled styles repeatedly topping Taobao's hot search, among which 8cm is the most favored height for young consumers. On average, 1 in 4.35 Gen Z consumers own a pair of Crocs. By gender, the number of female consumers is 4 times that of male.
Industry consensus sees Crocs as versatile footwear suitable for more scenarios, from summer travel, outdoor water play to daily commutes. Meanwhile, with the massive popularity of Crocs, related accessories continue to innovate - "tens of thousands of charms are bought by consumers everyday, also igniting a DIY boom. Charms have also become an outlet for young people's self-expression."