Photography: Kev Foster
Words: Paul Harris
Model: George Marshall-Dutton
Styling: Rakib Hussein
Here at Philip Browne Menswear we are lucky enough to see exciting, forward thinking design on a daily basis. It takes a lot to make us collectively stop and do a double take on a product or brand – we believe we have found one for the autumn/winter 2019 season in the guise of Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning.
We will be one of a handful of European stockists to stock the iconic Chinese brand this season.
The brand’s founder, Mr Li Ning is a celebrated Olympic gymnast and medal winner (six medals including three golds at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics) and a Chinese national hero. After retiring after the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Li started a new chapter of his life by founding his own eponymous apparel and sportswear company.
Since its establishment in 1990, Li-Ning has grown into one of the most recognisable sports brands in China and has also sponsored various NBA stars in the last few years such as Dwyane Wade and C.J.McCollum in order to raise its performance profile in the US. Now, Li-Ning have big ambitions to shake up the fashion world and were one of the most talked about brands at New York Fashion Week for AW19.
One of the key players in masterminding Li-Ning’s elevation from sports performance to high fashion is Liad Krispin. Before moving to Li-Ning in 2017, Krispin was Global BrandMarketing Director at adidas for over 14 years – he was instrumental in hiring designer Yohji Yamamoto in 2002 as the creative director of Y-3 brand. Since then, he also helped bring in both Kanye West and Raf Simons to elevate adidas’ premium collaborations.
Li-Ning is looking to take both the sneaker and contemporary high-fashion game to a new level by showcasing their progressive styles and silhouettes alongside bold design and detailing. Li-Ning’s premium collections make a point of drawing references from the brand’s national heritage, including colour schemes, Chinese characters and prints.