China is waking up to a new trend of luxury sportswear collaborations. This can be seen from the recent influx of collections for example, Dior x Descente collection, AK Skis, POC men’s collection for skiing, Prada and Adidas’ new collection for sailors and Jil Sander x Arc’teryx collection for outdoor lifestyle.
Fashion with function
As per Jing Daily, consumers are looking for a blend of fashion and functionality from such sportswear collaborations. They have fewer expectations about high-tech features and are reluctant to buy luxury sportswear due to performance issues.
Besides, product design and production, innovative marketing strategies are also the major requirements of such sportswear collaborations. If done well, these collaborations benefit both luxury and sportswear brands, says Cyril Drouin, Chief e-commerce Officer, Publicis China and North Asia. Sports brands can tap into the luxury and exclusive brand image, while luxury brands can have added lifestyle feel. Rogier Bikker, Founder and CEO, Tomorrow rates the Gucci x The North Face collaboration to be one of the best as it combined the logos of both brands.
Return of fitness trend a big boost
The rise of sportswear collaborations can also be attributed the return of fitness trend in China. Growing popularity of sports is boosting demand for sportswear in the country. As per the country’s four-year National Fitness Initiative by the State Council in 2016, China aims to boost fitness awareness and encourage people to practice sports at least once a week.
The country saw sports trend grow during 2020-end as people returned to their active lifestyles after the lockdown. As a recent article ‘No Fitness, No Life’ states, places like Shanghai, Tianjin, and Jiangsu Province are attracting residents to work out at local stadiums and gyms. Travel ban hasn’t stopped Chinese from exploring sporting activities within their borders. This has led to China’s sportswear sales more than doubling from $22.9 billion (148.3 billion yuan) in 2014 to $48.9 billion (316.6 yuan) in 2019, reported Statista last December.
Big brands can therefore experiment with more such collaborations without causing any damage to existing customer base and gathering new ones, says Patrick Gottelier, Founder and Professor, Shanghai DeTao Master of Apparel and Product Design.