Summer 2021 Ad Campaign

Review of Ning Summer 2021 Ad Campaign by Ning Creative Director Ning Yuan with Photographer Lou Escobar

New streetwear brand Ning makes its debut with a campaign whose simplistic imagery doesn’t do justice to the rich narrative and excellent craftsmanship behind the clothing.

The streetwear brand is founded and led by designer Ning Yuan, who celebrates Chinese youth culture and her family’s artisanal heritage by infusing classic streetwear silhouettes with visual codes drawn from traditional Chinese aesthetics. It’s exciting to see a brand shake up the same old streetwear formula with some unique personal perspective and a strong visual identity. The highlight of the debut collection is certainly its silk shirts, which are created through a long-term partnership with Beijing-based silk manufacturer Huang Jin. These hero pieces do for Chinese visual motifs what Versace did for baroque and Greco-Roman.

The collection is captured in a summery campaign shot by photographer Lou Escobar. Dripping with impressive color work, his photographs follow a group of young friends through the hills of Los Angeles, from the pool to a neon-lit nightclub.

Considering the unique approach and perspective that Ning brings to streetwear, it’s a bit disappointing that the campaign feels uninspired. The imagery is strong, but it feels like it could have come from literally any of the many streetwear brands that call southern California home. Ning is based in London, a global fashion hub, and is deeply connected to traditional Chinese culture, but neither of these strong identity elements can be at all detected in the conceptual work of the campaign. We know that Ning has a story to tell, and – looking at the brand’s logo and website – we know they have access to strong art direction. We wish they could have flexed these creative muscles for their debut campaign as well.

Ning Creative Director | Ning Yuan
Photographer | Lou Escobar