“Design in China”​ e24 – MAIA ACTIVE- A Leading Activewear Brand

The Chinese women’s sportswear company MAIA ACTIVE specializes in stylish and functional training wear targeted at the local population. The company’s overarching goal is to make it possible for Chinese women to exercise in stylish, inexpensive, comfortable apparel so they can give it their all. Lisa Ou, a graduate of Parsons who previously worked at J Crew, and Mia Wang Jiayin, whose prior expertise includes tenures at Victoria’s Secret and Xiaohongshu, established MAIA ACTIVE in 2016.

When it comes to body image, women are subject to a lot of preconceptions and expectations. As a result, many women experience alienation and self-consciousness about their looks and weight, which leads to anxiety related to exercise and diets. The MAIA ACTIVE campaign joins the worldwide body positivity movement that rejects conventional notions of beauty and embraces various body forms. The Chinese fitness gear company creates activewear that suits Asian bodies and is considered a trendy brand via the creation of technical sports materials and the application of attractive components and colors. The company claims that athleisure clothing is particularly designed for Chinese women’s bodies, and together with a clever social commerce approach, it has established a large grassroots fan base.
Asian women’s exercise-related issues served as the inspiration for MAIA ACTIVE’s goods. This sparked the creation of the sports bra with the front zipper and the waist-cinching legging. It has increased the emphasis on women’s empowerment in its marketing initiatives. Since the beginning of 2020, the brand’s name has been firmly entrenched in the Chinese fitness wear market. It also tests the limits of Chinese culture and society and the country’s marketing industry. Their most recent advertising effort, emphasizing inclusion and pride in beauty while encouraging workout objectives, was a great success in the Chinese market. The campaign went beyond only selling the product by creating a sense of strength and self-love in women; it has proved particularly successful with Gen-Z and Millennial audiences. Their campaigns are comparable with Western campaigns that promote body positivity.

MAIA ACTIVE can motivate and capture young women’s interest by positioning itself as a company that focuses on women’s comfort and enjoyment of exercise, with whatever goals they personally wish. The company uses a direct-to-consumer marketing technique, asking customers for input on the brand’s apparel quality and shopping experience every three months. Then, depending on this input, the brands modify their products. Under the banner of the MAIA FUN CLUB, the brand also hosts offline community events. The offline community does not prioritize sales but rather focuses on establishing the bond between the company and its customers. The social events include indoor bungee jumping, belly dancing, and yoga with dogs. One of its most innovative approaches was experimenting by employing its own customers, rather than celebrities, to support the brand emotionally in an effort to connect with consumers. Seven customers were invited to participate in MAIA ACTIVE’s promotional video and were urged to share their thoughts on ‘beauty’ in line with the company’s tagline, “making every size beautiful.” Through the campaign, the brand gained new customers. Maia’s vision, distinctive style, and marketing tactics contribute to the brand’s quick popularity and solid reputation, making it yet another Chinese-born brand to infiltrate a market long dominated by international brands.

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