Bryce Whitwam
Oct 27, 2022

Despite lockdowns, the China sports-fashion industry continues to diversify

SHANGHAI ZHAN PODCAST: China’s rise of both ‘athleisure’ and ‘athluxury’ in sports fashion is a direct result of the level of sports maturity and a greater appetite for higher quality, according to Lululemon China’s digital brand director, Gavin Lum.


China is further witnessing sports and luxury fashion categories becoming more intertwined as the categories react to rising consumer trends of mixing work and play.

“We’re seeing more luxury brands jump into sports fashion for two key reasons,” said Gavin Lum, digital brand director at Lululemon China. “First is rising income and influence, but also it has to do with the development of sports infrastructure in the country, enabling people to schedule sports in their everyday life.”

Lum pointed to the need for convenience as a key motivator for the need to mix sports and fashion: “People in major cities in China are starting to wear sports apparel to work so they can immediately participate in sports from work. Nowadays, sport can be enjoyed at any time of the day.”

Lum does point to the pandemic as having a key influence on the sports apparel industry.  “Covid’s impact has two sides. On one hand it drove separation, but on the other hand it emphasised the importance of health, and in turn, drove fitness classes online so you can train at home. Digital technology has enabled interaction with friends who may not be able to get together in person,” said Lum.

Despite the rise of more sophisticated local brands who can sometimes react quicker to upcoming consumer trends, Lum sees the market still open for niche’ brands but they need to be very cautious.

“As sports continues to diversify, there will always be new and innovative ways for niche brands to come into China, whether they are local or international,” said Lum, “but they have to be extremely focused within the niche to survive, otherwise they will lose relevance to their target audience.”


Gavin Lum’s interview is available on podcast, ShanghaiZhan, now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon Music, Stitcher, and Xiao Yu Zhou. For more information, visit

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