What Makes A Great Collab? Neiwai Cracks The Formula

Chinese woman-first intimates brand Neiwai’s activewear diffusion line has launched a three-way capsule with independent designer label Swaying/Knit and New York-based Andrea Jiapei Li. 

Debuting on Tmall, WeChat, and the Neiwai store on Dewu, as well as offline in limited quantities (20 stores for the Andrea Jiapei Li collab and 37 stores for the Swaying/Knit collab), the Fall collection combines the premium comfort of Neiwei Active with each independent designer’s unique aesthetic and silhouettes.

No stranger to collaborative releases, Neiwai has previously worked with the likes of Wolford, L’Oréal Paris, and Shanghai coffee shop Manner, all of which have contributed to its feminist brand identity. But this latest is one that champions increasing the accessibility of independent designers. It invites a more mainstream market to these emerging names while, in turn, reaping the benefits of esteemed design talent.

Neiwai’s price-point is still above average for a local lingerie brand, so it maintains the reputation of both designers at a level of luxury. Andrea Jiapei Li’s designs celebrate urban modernity and the diversity of contemporary women, incorporating unique silhouettes and innovative fabrics. In China, Swaying/Knit has found popularity through its high-quality fabrics and exquisite knits.

It’s a crossover that works because each line shares similar characteristics, and is committed to the empowerment of urban women. As such, the online campaign included interactive questions related to self-appreciation and diversity, which attracted active participation and many positive comments. Chinese social media has given stellar feedback in general, with netizens complimenting the mix-and-match nature and overall versatility of the collection. 

Neiwai unveiled an activewear capsule with Swaying/Knit (left) and Andrea Jiapei Li (right). Photo: Neiwai

As the first designer collaboration for Neiwai, it shows that the company is headed in a new direction of product category development. Recent years have proven that it is aiming to expand its offering, launching a homeware line in 2018, and Neiwai Active in 2019. Category expansion is almost a necessity for lingerie groups in the mainland. According to the White Paper on Chinese Women’s Lingerie 2022, women in the country purchase underwear around four times a year on average much lower than the 12 times a year of those in Europe and America.

The combination of a new product category, homegrown talent, and a culturally-relevant movement makes this crossover exemplary. As Arnold Ma told Jing Collabs & Drops for the Big in China: Brand Collaboration report, leaning into subcultures can be a reliable strategy. “That’s what people are paying attention to most. In 2022, the metaverse, virtual influencers, and female empowerment are all categories of the latest subcultures and trends. You need to really make sure that your collaboration sits in those areas. Just have purpose, a strategy, and be creative.”

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Reported by Sadie Bargeron and Yifan Liu

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