Can the Nike Style concept store launch a wave of genderless fashion in China?

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US sportswear giant Nike is set to showcase its latest extended reality (XR) retail concept Nike Style in the Chinese city of Shanghai this fall, where genderless sports clothes, shoes and accessories are the main feature.

This follows Nike’s global debut with its first gender-neutral store in the Korean capital of Seoul in early July, which offers visitors a new shopping experience that mixes retail therapy with art installations, augmented reality and a content studio where a customizable background has been installed for shoppers to create content for social media posts.

As well as being “a remixed expression of sports retail culture that blurs the line between physical and digital”, the store is also designed to blur the line between men and women in sportswear, a nod to the concept of “a unique sporting lifestyle for all”.

Launching the concept store in China would be a wise move on Nike’s part given that the country’s youth, for the most part, post-95s who have started adopting gender-neutral clothing in recent years.

This is partly due to growing awareness of gender equality fueled by social movements for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights among young Chinese. Such societal dynamics have also been reflected in the country’s fashion, with “degendering” being one of the emerging consumer trends in China’s Gen Z demographic.

Gender-neutral fashion market sector in China is said to have seen a 340% increase in 2021, according to a report by CBNData, China’s leading business data analytics platform. Additionally, women have proven to be the backbone of the genderless apparel market with a growing consumption rate of 468%, twice as fast as that of their male counterparts.

Additionally, the emerging fashion trend is also gaining momentum in the Chinese digital space with Xiaohongshu, China’s largest lifestyle sharing platform. doubling the growth of messages under the label of “gender neutral mode”which is mainly driven by young residents of major Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, where people are more open to embracing a new ideology regarding gender identity.

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