SHANGHAI — In 2019, Lu Yangyang, fresh out of grad school with a fashion degree, was searching for her niche in the business world. That’s when she saw an untapped opportunity in China’s booming pet market: While pets were often dressed fashionably, their owners lacked the option to coordinate their outfits.
One year later, Lu launched her fashion brand GIGIWAWA in Shanghai, designed specifically to fill this gap, offering matching clothes for pets and their owners.
“The term ‘gigiwawa’ expresses the intimacy between pets and their owners,” 30-year-old Lu told Sixth Tone. “It’s like a ‘parent-child’ relationship. People love their children unconditionally and give without expecting anything in return. The same is true for pets.”
And in Shanghai, a city buzzing with fashion trends and pet-friendly spaces, GIGIWAWA found its perfect audience. The brand quickly resonated with young, stylish pet owners, who saw their pets not just as companions, but as integral parts of their lifestyle and personal expression.
When Lu launched GIGIWAWA in 2020, the concept of matching outfits for pets and their owners was largely unfamiliar in China. But now, Lu says there are over 10 new brands in this sector, predominantly small businesses. Other brands that initially focused only on pet apparel have even expanded to include coordinated attire.
Moreover, established brands such as Muji and Bananain have also entered the niche, introducing pet lines that complement the owner’s attire. “Having more players in the market can enhance consumer understanding of pet fashion,” Lu says. “We can’t do this alone. It requires a collective effort from the entire market.”
The idea for GIGIWAWA stemmed from Lu’s personal experiences. In Shenyang, her hometown in the northeastern Liaoning province, her family’s Pomeranian was regularly dressed in stylish outfits and accessories. And among her friends, Lu recognized a