“After almost three decades, we are excited to leverage our intrinsic understanding of the athlete’s body and fuse it with an aesthetic, an attitude, and a sense of style that is deeply and uniquely Chinese — yet intended for all.”
Li-Ning is the Chinese leader in athletic apparel and footwear, rooted in the vision of its founder and namesake, the champion gymnast Mr. Li Ning. He founded the company in 1990 with the simple goal of providing Chinese athletes a national brand to wear on the world stage of the Olympics – historically one of the West’s rare portals into authentic Chinese culture.
This modest intention has, almost 30 years later, led to the rise of a global sport pioneer that resides at the forefront of 21st-century design and technology while celebrating its own, storied past. Consequently, Li-Ning explores the tensions between past and future, man and nature, flexibility and strength. Yet it is ultimately driven by the boundless potential of the human body.
As a world-class gymnast with 106 gold medals, Mr. Li, himself, is testament to this. His most singular achievements include winning six out of seven gold medals at the Sixth World Cup Gymnastic Competition in 1982, earning him the nickname “The Prince of Gymnastics.” In 1984, Mr. Li won three gold medals, two silver, and one bronze to become the most honored athlete at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, held in Los Angeles. In 1999, the World Sports Correspondent Association named him among the “World’s Most Excellent Athletes” of the 20th century. More recently, Mr. Li lit the torch at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, held in Beijing.
Coupled with this, innovation is also essential to the development of the Li-Ning brand and its products. By driving perpetual research and development, Li-Ning is able to offer the most forward-thinking products, experiences, and services, while using cut-through technologies and materials.
“Our brand carries the genes of an athlete”— Li Ning
By driving perpetual research and development, Li-Ning is able to offer the most forward-thinking products, experiences, partnerships and services, while using cut-through technologies and materials.
With interest around Li-Ning’s runway vision continuing to build, in June 2019 the brand announced a high- end footwear collaboration with the Stefano Pilati-helmed, Berlin-based, design collective, Random Identities.
Offering a modern perspective on archival Li-Ning styles, Pilati completely transformed the first model chosen, drawing inspiration from two of his beloved, home city’s most passionate communities: cycling and the underground club scene.
In a knowing reference to both cultures, Pilati punctuated the shoe’s silhouette with a built-in, 3-speed LED lighting system.
The first glimpse of this international design pairing was unveiled during Li-Ning’s Spring / Summer 2020 runway show staged during the Parisian Menswear week this past June. As the venue lights lowered at showtime, an army of models wearing the new shoe took to the runway — their footwear lighting the darkened show space as they walked — while the crowd of style leaders and opinion makers in attendance looked on with excitement and intrigue.
Having produced two runway shows in Paris already, it is Li-Ning’s intention to continue showcasing the brand’s premium collections seasonally there in the years to come. Furthering its commitment to the city, as of January 2020, Li-Ning will be aligning with the esteemed museum and cultural hub, The Centre Pompidou, in a robust, multi-faceted 3-year patronage partnership.
Intersecting fashion, sport, art and culture, the patronage will see Li-Ning supporting many of The Centre Pompidou’s exciting, multi- disciplinary programs, while also utilizing the epic venue’s sprawling, gallery spaces to host and stage its forthcoming runway presentations.
Li-Ning explores the tensions between past and future, man and nature, flexibility and strength. Yet it is ultimately driven by the boundless potential of the human body.
It is Li-Ning’s unique pairing of pioneering experimentation with Mr. Li’s own insights and career highlights as an athlete that has led to the brand’s dominance across its core sport product categories: basketball, running, badminton, and training.
In basketball, Li-Ning’s support is truly global in reach, through its sponsorship of and close collaboration with NBA superstar, Dwyane Wade to its national sponsorship of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The brand’s passion for running, meanwhile, drove the establishment of the Li-Ning China 10k Running League, attended by 100,000 participants each year.
Finally, Li-Ning continuously supports China’s gold-medal winning teams in diving, shooting, table tennis and badminton. The brand also aids top international teams, such as US diving, Canadian speed-skating and Australian badminton. Li-Ning’s love of badminton has even led to its sponsorship of the China National Badminton Team and its support of many of China’s gold medal-winning players.