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  • MAP Asia Pacific Ltd

Why Sports Collaborations Could Be A Goldmine For Luxury

Key Takeaways:

  • Chinese consumers want sportswear collabs to succeed in fashion and functionality, but they have fewer expectations about high-tech features.

  • First launched through a pop-up store in Beijing on December 29, the Gucci x The North Face collection has grabbed 76 million impressions with its dedicated hashtag on Weibo, while the brand’s videos on Douyin have been played 10 million times.

  • Near the end of 2020, sports grew in momentum in China as people returned to their active lifestyles after the lockdown period, with some cities giving residents vouchers for working out at local stadiums and gyms.

Dong Xun, a trend researcher and executive at the Shenzhen-based agency Wow-Trend, had her eyes on a parka from the Gucci x The North Face collection. She jumped at the chance to enter a WeChat Mini Program draw to win preferred customer status, but she was disappointed when she didn’t get it. “I want to buy Gucci because it has done a great job at communicating its brand culture,” she said.

Dong is a fan of sportswear collaborations as a consumer and a researcher. “It’s where luxury is going,” she said. “They will amp up the functionality of their products to include features such as antiviral heating/cooling effects, so consumers will find the clothing more wearable, which could be the first foray into smartwear.”

Born out of a Yohji Yamamoto x Adidas collaboration in the early 2000s, the Y-3 line was one of the first sportswear collaborations. But today, Chinese consumers are swimming in a sea of sportswear collabs, including ones that focus on niche categories like skiing, camping, and sailing.



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