Once Again Big Brands Look to China Style

For sneakerheads out there and those interested in the “bigger picture”. Complex carried an interesting entry about Nike’s usage of “Chinese designs”, especially in the leadup to the Olympics. As an example, it points out a limited edition version of Jordan 1’s that only dropped in China and also the recent launch of “a line of sportswear carrying a Chinese slogan that translates to ‘arise and advance’”. Along with that line, Nike has also released the "1984 line" which honors Chinese Olympic triumphs in LA. From what I’ve heard, there will be additional launches focuses on other Olympics as we get closer to this year's Games.

The line I liked the most was that “So far it seems, Nike’s one-upping the three-stripes in quantity, but look for Adidas to push hard on Chinese-heavy apparel as the Olympics draws closer.” Adidas has an obvious advantage to begin with in that they’re the official Olympics sponsor and will be outfitting the Chinese squad (as well as all volunteers), but the Nike line is less athletic based and more streetwear. Of course, Adidas learned a lesson some foreign classmates learned back when I was at Fudan, never put anything on the Chinese flag, which has bogged down their streetwear release and created a controversy before it even dropped on the mainland. The WSJ article (that spurred Complex's entry) mentions that as well as Adidas' collection which contain "elements such as clouds, dragons, fans and bright colors evoke tradition and allow young Chinese to express their identity" although all those items carry the Beijing Olympics logo.

Then again, Nike had its own problems with China during Lebron commercial-gate, so a lesson for all, be very careful how you choose to incorporate “Chinese design” in your products (though why doesn’t this effect Shanghai Tang and its $50 Mao tshirts? Is it because no Chinese would be caught dead in them?), especially when dealing with things that have deep historical significance. For those who are just interested in fashion, make sure to check out larger Nike shops in China to get your hands on the collection.


The NUN said...

Check out today's article in the NY Times which includes this exciting revelation about the plans of Li Ning Sportsware:

"So a few years ago, the company began bringing in branding experts to advise it, including Mr. Jeongwen, the marketing professor. “When kids wear Nike shoes, they feel as though they are the cool kids on the block,” he told me. “I said to the Li-Ning executives, ‘What does it mean when you wear a Li-Ning shoe?’ ” He was trying to show them that the point of the exercise wasn’t to copy from the Nike playbook, but to create a distinct identity. “They couldn’t define it,” he said.

"His advice to the company was that it should forget about the export market and concentrate instead on the growing domestic market — especially the many so-called Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, with populations well above one million, that the Nikes and Adidases hadn’t yet penetrated. He suggested that Li-Ning try to come up with shoes that have a distinctly Chinese flavor and would appeal, in an almost patriotic way, to Chinese consumers. Sure enough, when I visited Li-Ning I was shown an expensive green shoe that was named for Lei Feng, the famous Chinese soldier whom the government glorified after he died in 1962."

b. cheng said...

@the nun
Thanks a lot for pointing out this article!