This week’s headline-grabbing brand collaboration has to be local sportswear leader Li-Ning’s tie-up with Clarks Originals, which saw the partners release their take on the British shoe retailer’s signature products: Wallabees and Desert Treks.
In other notable news, home-grown luxury label Icicle announced it is working with established South Korean designer Yuni Ahn on its Fall 2023 collection. Also, Chinese retailer Ochirly has invited the artist Santu to co-design a clothing collection, adding an edgy element to its usual toned-down offering.
For our verdict on this week’s collaboration highlights, read below. To receive these updates weekly straight to your inbox, subscribe to the Collabs and Drops newsletter here.
Icicle x Yuni Ahn
Date: Fall 2023
Verdict: Showcased as part of an in-store exhibition at Icicle’s flagship store at 35 Avenue George V, Paris, the Natural Way capsule collection was co-designed by South Korean designer Yuni Ahn. It traces the brand’s approach that’s based on East Asian philosophical ideas that advocate “making good use of things” instilled with value and longevity.
The resulting multi-layered looks, featuring touches like a coat neckline referencing Hanfu styles, are a tribute to ancient Chinese clothing. Combining the rising popularity of local design and interest in historical culture, it’s a collaboration that’s sure to resonate in the mainland and with the Chinese diaspora around the world.
Li-Ning x Clarks Originals
Date: March 3
Verdict: Li-Ning has since 2021 held a 51 percent-stake in Clarks Originals, leading the British brand’s expansion across Asia. The newly-launched Wallabee and Desert Trek silhouettes by Li-Ning are, therefore, a much-anticipated collab, one that enables the local sportswear giant to tap a more sophisticated consumer-base, while providing Clarks Originals with wider exposure in China.
The British footwear brand is growing in the mainland, boosted by frequent events and pop-ups, and KOLs doing styling videos with the brand’s products on social platforms. However, with 8.9 million views of its Xiaohongshu hashtag, versus Li-Ning’s 299 million, Clarks Originals still has a long way to go in China.
Ochirly x Santu of Muses
Date: March 2
Verdict: Conservative Chinese womenswear retailer Ochirly is getting edgier with this collaboration with the artist Santu. Their collection, titled Spring Days, feeds into the optimism of new beginnings as China reopens.
The artist’s intention was to break the boundaries of women’s self-inflicted limitations, eliminate self-doubt, and showcase the potential of life experienced without restrictions or constraints.
The collection’s pieces are being marketed as outfits to wear for International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, though the collaboration is officially linked to the event.