China’s leading sports apparel brand, Li-Ning, has introduced its first snowboard winter sportswear series in the run-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is set to kick off on 4 February. The new series is designed to gear up the growing number of winter sports enthusiasts, with its distinctive design that combines contemporary fashion with traditional culture, or the guochao style. In the meantime, the new series is believed to provide better protection for players of this outdoor sport with heat high-tech embedded, keeping them safer and warmer whilst out in the snow.
Founded in 1990 by China’s former Olympic gymnast Li Ning, the athletic brand has become another byword of guochao after its debut at Paris Fashion Week in 2018, with its streetwear infused with a nostalgic Chinese edge. Now the pioneer of the guochao trend is taking this wave to the winter sports industry, with the buzz for the China-focused design trend reaching new heights within China and now firmly grasping the national pride towards the Winter Olympics.
Drawing inspirations from the rock paintings seen in Altay (a region in Xinjiang that is believed to be the birthplace of snowboarding), the series incorporates local cultural symbols such as the Tianshan snow lotus and national jacquard into the clothing design. This leverages the unique historical significance of this region in winter sports, as well as its contemporary status as one of China’s tourism hotpots for ice activities. While the ethnic jacquard elements once again reflect the brand’s DNA in combining fashion with traditional Chinese culture.
Apart from the professional wind-and-water-proof breathable fabric, that is applied to keep users dry and warm in the harsh winter and in the event of extreme weather, the newly released line provides another assurance for players with a rescue chip reflector made from the rescue technology RECCO.
This little add-on is believed to help rescue teams detect people trapped in avalanches. Therefore, this is a thoughtful addition by the brand, putting users’ safety as a priority in their design, an act that could potentially help the brand win over a wider consumer base. These shrewd design elements show further care and interest for consumers, giving their products unique selling points that can engage consumers further.
In addition to the new drop, Li-Ning also has also collaborated with global top snowboarders, including the Canadian seven-time X Games champion, and freestyle snowboarder Brooke Voigt and Zhang Jiahao, the first Chinese snowboarder who completed a double backflip on the snow. The engagement of these popular sports players would become another leverage for the brand. With their influence in winter sports among young people, the collaboration would fuel the domestic enthusiasm for the sport, while enriching the brand’s offer along with the launch of the new series.