What Happened: Frisbee is China’s niche sport of the summer. Xiaohongshu is now full of girls launching discs in tight-fitting Lululemon yoga wear. The game’s online popularity has even spawned a new word: 飞盘媛, or frisbee socialite. And it’s not a badge of respect. While in the past, socialite (媛) was a word used to refer to graceful or noble women, it has negative connotations in modern China. In this instance it means the Gen Z girls flaunting their figures for social media clout — or a rich partner.
The derogatory term quickly sparked debate online. Frisbee socialites are accused of posing rather than actually playing the sport, as @userdeleted mocked: “without wearing yoga pants you can’t play frisbee.”
The Jing Take: The conversation sketches a change taking place in the country — towards individualism and self-expression — and the division between two very different mentalities in China’s youth. Many users commented that sport is exactly what these yoga pants are made for while others stated that perhaps we should leave women alone to dress however they please.
The controversy has by no means dampened the game’s success, and it remains a popular pastime of young mainlanders fresh out of lockdown. Millions have taken it up — so many, in fact, that it has now surpassed football camps in popularity. According to Xiaohongshu, frisbee-related content has increased six times compared to the previous year (there are 490,000 UGC instances on the app so far).
For sportswear groups, it represents an opportunity to capitalize on the athleisure market. The popularization of those hotly-debated yoga pants (in both sports and daily life) is likely to boost Lululemon’s performance here. Also tapping the trend are Anta and Li-Ning, who along with Lululemon have sponsored a series of frisbee competitions. Opportunities for branding abound, from customizable frisbees to online visibility. Labels should see the potential here: to create a whole consumer community that goes way beyond one marketing strategy.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.