New York Fashion Week kicked off last week, boasting a crop of Chinese-born designers and labels. Among them is sportswear brand Li-Ning, who are doubling down on their high fashion image with reprise appearances not once, but twice this season.
Founded by ex-Olympic gymnastics champion Li Ning, the brand became the first Chinese sportswear brand to walk NYFW last year, surprising many.
Made in China 2.0: How Li-Ning Sneakers Went from Beijing Outlets to New York Fashion Week
Until recently, they were more closely associated with “knock-off Nikes” and discount stores in China than the catwalk. But the brand is looking to change that, and emphasized this image with a new, evidently ancient China-inspired show entitled “Xing” (行, “walking”).
Aside from last night’s runway appearance, they cropped up in a collaboration earlier this week with Chinese-born, London-based designer Chen Peng. (They also appeared in a crossover with Chinese-Milanese brand Pronounce not long before.)
Courtesy Chen Peng
Inspired by colors and cultures from the Himalayan region, Chen’s collection titled “HIMA LAYA” is rooted in his “one-sized fashion” mantra, in which each piece can be worn by a spectrum of genders and body types. Chen is a NYFW veteran whose work has been lauded by famous fans including Lady Gaga.
It’s worth noting Li-Ning isn’t the only formerly-mid-shelf commodity to make it big at NYFW. At a pop-up for TMall’s “China Day” last fall, a popular brand of Chinese hot sauce suddenly became the talk of the town.
The Hottest Look at New York Fashion Week SS2019? A Chinese Chili Sauce
Opening Ceremony plastered the logo for Laoganma (“Old Godmother”) hot sauce over chili pepper-red sweatshirts, eclipsing the actual China Day event and becoming an unexpected icon for many nostalgic netizens.
Update This also just happened:
Chinese Beer Goes Big at New York Fashion Week, After Laoganma and Li-Ning
Header image: Li-Ning
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