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Athletics Ascendant

China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-05 11:20
LI-NING/LI BOHAN (MALE MODEL)/GETTY IMAGES/PIERRE SUU (BELLA HADID)/JEAN-CLAUDE DELMAS/AFP

Witness the rise of Li-Ning as it skyrockets in the world of sports fashion

It's not just for sport anymore. Last season at the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning unveiled athleisure-influenced collections, marking its impressive foray into the high-fashion industry. And with an innate ability to influence fashion trends, supermodel Bella Hadid donned a white T-shirt with an eye-catching picture of the company's eponymous founder in Paris. "We do not have any cooperation with her; she just likes our product and feels happy to wear it," says Hong Yuru, the vice-president of Li-Ning.

Founded in 1990 by Li Ning, the successful businessman and famed gymnastics world champion (who won six Olympic medals), this Beijing-based brand has enjoyed a leading role in the Chinese sports field for many years.

However, since the New York show last February, Li-Ning has shifted its focus toward the world of style.

At the Paris fashion gala in June, elements such as the Chinese characters for "China Li-Ning" and "gymnastics", as well as the English slogan "Leaning on Li-Ning", caught the public's eye.

Since these events, consumers in China and beyond have shown even more enthusiasm toward the brand. "This time, there is a new trend - many rich Chinese people are buying our products for their kids living overseas, which is a reverse of the past," says Hong. "We are happy that as a Chinese brand, Li-Ning can make Chinese people proud and confident. And it's really interesting that even during the hot days of summer, the thick hoodies from this collection can't even keep up with the demand."

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