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Thread: Athleisure

  1. #1
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    Athleisure



    Ty Haney Is the Queen of Athleisure
    Nora Caplan-Bricker
    Jun 5, 2018

    The 29-year-old CEO of Outdoor Voices is taking on Nike, one color block at a time

    “Uh-oh. ****,” says Tyler Haney, the 29-year-old CEO of apparel company Outdoor Voices, as her dog, Bowie, tucks his butt in the universal sign for bombs away. “Literal ****! I don’t have—will you hold him?” Haney hands me the pink leash and sprints for a nearby trash can, where she finds a baggie that she uses to scoop the poop from the middle of the trail. “Ahhh, gross!” she moans, discarding the twice-used piece of plastic and trotting back to reclaim her curly haired Havapoo. “I totally forgot a bag. See,” she gestures toward the back of her leggings, “I need a pocket!”

    Her blonde hair still wet from the shower after her morning run, Haney is wearing her own design, a variation on the leggings that launched her brand in 2014, with color blocks contoured at flattering angles. She’s sporting new spring colors: blue with pale ballet pink. We’ve been walking one of her favorite trails, which crisscrosses the Colorado River’s path through downtown Austin, Texas, where Haney has lived full-time for about a year. We’re talking about her plans to release leggings with more generous pockets—the ultimate uniform for hiking and dog walking. Haney recently learned that employees at one large outdoor gear company refer to athletic dilettantes as “dog walkers,” a detail that tickles her, since Outdoor Voices considers dog owners its perfect demographic: They may not be marathoners, but they’ve made a commitment to getting out every day.

    Haney has positioned Outdoor Voices as the approachable alternative to activewear titans such as Nike and Under Armour. Instead of exhorting athletes to “just do it,” Outdoor Voices asks fans to post on social about #DoingThings, which is “better than not Doing Things,” whether you’re off riding horses or just watering the plants. In place of performance, Haney talks about “moderation and ease and humor and delight,” and instead of marketing that hinges on winning, her brand emphasizes exercising in any capacity, “moving your body for your mind.”

    It’s hard to imagine a better message for this moment in American culture, when fitness is trendy, and so is sportswear. Ensembles appropriate for doing sun salutations have become acceptable attire for doing almost anything. The rise of athleisure—a portmanteau Haney loathes because, she says, “it sounds lethargic…like I’m a lump on my couch”—has created a huge opening for activewear that looks like chic casual wear. Between 2011 and 2016, the market for athletic gear ballooned to almost a third of the entire clothing business, growing about seven times as fast as the overall apparel industry.

    In this climate, Outdoor Voices’ first selling points were aesthetic: Its signature blues and grays are more versatile than Nike neon, and its minimalist crop tops work as well under a jean jacket as they do on a jog. In 2014, Haney was ahead of the curve with her oft-repeated message of collapsing the space between “your gym life and your life-life.” Four years later, everyone is talking about dressing for health and comfort at all times, and Outdoor Voices has grown to an 80-person business, raised $56.5 million in venture capital funding, and opened six brick-and-mortar stores, with ten more reportedly on the way this year, including Boston and Marin locations in summer 2018.

    “Outdoor Voices is kind of the reason that athleisure has taken off and a pioneer of the notion of wearing athletic apparel when not engaged in athletic activity,” says Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of the fashion blog Man Repeller and an investor in Outdoor Voices. “This is a market they helped to create.” This is a strong—and somewhat debatable—statement. No attempt to trace the rise of athleisure should neglect the role of Lululemon, which was founded in 1998 and has done more to sell Americans on stretchy pants for all occasions than any other company. Fashion designers’ pursuit of sportswear collaborations has also been advancing the trend for more than a decade, since Stella McCartney first partnered with Adidas in 2005. But in a moment when activewear has cornered more of the market than ever, Outdoor Voices has come to epitomize the possibility of dressing for comfort in clothes that confer a nonchalant brand of cool.

    The booming athleisure business is a mixed blessing, however. Haney has called the impossibility of escaping that label possibly the “biggest challenge” she’s faced so far. That might sound dramatic until you consider just how many brands are offering comfy leggings that are perfectly adequate for #DoingThings like lounging, working, or walking the dog. Even Outdoor Voices’ signature look isn’t as revelatory as it used to be: color blocking is now a trend, no small thanks to Haney. In January, Haney publicly accused fitness apparel company Bandier of knocking off her clothes, and angry Outdoor Voices fans flooded the competitor’s comments. Covering the dustup for fashion news site Racked, reporter Eliza Brooke pointed out “the fallibility of brands relying on aesthetics as a way to differentiate themselves” when a gray area is all that separates copycat from trend. Bandier CEO Neil Boyarsky was unrepentant, telling Racked, “No one owns color blocking.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Continued from previous post


    (Aaron Pinkston)

    Haney has been wrestling with other pressures, too—namely how to shape her brand’s identity. Last spring, Outdoor Voices released a new material called Tech Sweat, developed by its designers and exclusive to the brand, for intense exercise too “high-sweat” for its original fabric, Textured Compression. Tech Sweat sales have quickly become the fastest-growing part of Outdoor Voices’ business, and the company is responding by designing more products with the lighter, stretchier fabric. In April, the brand started releasing clothing for specific activities, beginning with running; a tennis and golf line will follow in June. Is Outdoor Voices moving away from “ease” and “versatility” toward more focused excellence? Haney emphasizes that her definition of #DoingThings remains as broad as ever, but argues that by designing for single sports, she can serve the people doing them at the extreme end of the spectrum.

    But Tech Sweat and the new running collection are also a way of “shifting from being known as athleisure to being known for technical apparel,” says Mariel O’Brien, director of product strategy at Outdoor Voices. The new direction points to an interesting conundrum for activewear brands in the age of athleisure. As sporty aesthetics become untethered from actual athletics, how do you prove to consumers that your brand is truly all about exercise? Is it wiser to cater to the broad market of casual wearers or to target devotedly active users—or, in an increasingly crowded field, does a company need both to survive?

    Haney insists that Outdoor Voices is defined by how its clothes function more than how they look. “I hate fashion, really,” she says. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable, from a business perspective, building a fashion brand. Fashion doesn’t mean much for people anymore—experiences do, and activity is experience.” Every aesthetic eventually goes out of vogue, and Haney wants to stake her brand on more stable ground. “If Outdoor Voices is with you when you’re experiencing that runner’s high, that dopamine release, there’s a chemical bond there. That’s what I’m excited to build the business around.”

    Outdoor Voices’ origin story is essentially Haney’s life story, a narrative so perfectly tailored to fit her product that respinning it feels a little like lifting ad copy. She grew up in Boulder, Colorado, where “activity is seamlessly part of what you do,” Haney says. Many childhood days included a hike up the Flatirons or a bike ride to get ice cream, and a good outfit left her free to move and sweat. Haney was an active child and a talented runner, the kind of irrepressible kid who never remembered to use her “indoor voice”—a parental refrain that produced the name of her brand (and one that appears in virtually every piece about her success). Haney rode horses, waking up at 5:00 a.m. to hit the barn before school, then headed to basketball and track practice after class. “She always wanted to beat the boys,” says her mom, Jenn Haney. Tyler loved wearing Nike, which made her feel, she says, “like the fastest, strongest, most-likely-to-win athlete out there.”

    By the end of high school, Haney was hearing from coaches who wanted to recruit her to run collegiate hurdles, but something in her resisted the most obvious path. She had a creative side, which she worried would find little expression in her life as a track star. The Haney kids grew up “surrounded by color,” Jenn says; for a while, Tyler’s parents and an aunt and uncle teamed up in a clothing business, and she grew up dabbling in sewing and painting. “She was always someone that started and finished something,” Jenn says. “Nothing she did sat in a corner.” The family’s roots were in the west, but Tyler moved east after high school, to Boston, where she spent a gap year serving margaritas at the Border Café in Harvard Square—a job she credits with teaching her “to relate to all kinds of people”—and then to New York City, where she enrolled in a joint design and management program at Parsons School of Design.

    In Manhattan, Haney’s athletic side had no outlet. Without teammates or coaches, she says, “I woke up in my senior year and thought, ‘I have no motivation to be active. What the hell?’” It was her first taste of a feeling she realized many people must have often. At the same time, Haney’s love affair with Nike was souring. Jogging on the West Side Highway, she’d glance down at herself in black spandex and muscle-mapping neon and wonder why she looked “straight out of a Transformers movie” when she was running nine-minute miles. The disconnect sapped her motivation—but it also got her thinking about other people who might feel excluded by the hardcore aesthetic of traditional fitness brands, “people who walk into Under Armour and see Steph Curry on walls and think, ‘That’s never going to be me.’” Haney saw an opening for a brand with a look and message that gave people permission to have fun jogging two miles instead of winning a race.

    The product would be “human, not superhuman” and for “exercisers, not athletes,” but Haney would attack it with the mindset of a star competitor, not satisfied until she could play against the big brands that had shaped her own sense of self. She went deep on synthetic yarns, buying bolts of fabric that she stashed under her bunk bed, looking for the perfect balance of stretch, compression, and the quality to endure countless wears and washes. Haney found patternmakers to piece together her designs and sent the sample garments to family and friends with the directive to “take this and go do things,” and then give feedback on the function and fit.

    She found early on that people, especially men, who listened to her talk about taking on Nike and Under Armour thought she was crazy. But women who tried the clothes had a different reaction. According to Haney, the compression fabric was designed to be flattering, no matter how you stretch and move, and women reported feeling good about the bodies they saw in the mirror when sporting her styles. They felt more confident than usual about working out in her clothes. “I would go into a lot of guy investors’ offices, and no one would get it,” Haney says, remembering that she was told no around 70 times. “But I started sending it to their wives ahead of the meetings, and that was really where the unlock came from.”

    By 2014, Haney had five versatile pieces on sale in a handful of small boutiques. The company’s first big break came when a buyer for J.Crew noticed the brand’s understated, cool-girl silhouette—high-waisted leggings and a crop top—and suggested Outdoor Voices for the retailer’s first-ever foray into activewear. Later, Haney staged collaborations with other fashion heavyweights, including Man Repeller and the French minimalist brand A.P.C. “Tyler’s focus on fabric is what makes her a fashion player,” Jean Touitou, founder and creative director at A.P.C., told me in an email. (Touitou is friends with Haney and an investor in her brand via A.P.C. Holding.) He describes Outdoor Voices as an exception to the aesthetic affront that he often considers activewear. “There are two ways to wear a sweatshirt and sweatpants: the ugly and the beautiful, period,” Touitou told me. “The sweat gear thing shouldn’t be synonymous with laziness.”

    “I don’t know why all this stuff is so ugly,” Haney says of her competition, laughing. “Like, hellooo. Use nice color palettes and textures. I guess that’s why Outdoor Voices has really resonated with the fashion crowd.” Outdoor Voices has been labeled “activewear for it girls” and “the fitness brand for the fashion set.” “It was a neat thing to be championed by the fashion crowd,” Haney says, though she makes sure to add, “It wasn’t my strategy.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  3. #3
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    Continued from previous post


    (Aaron Pinkston)

    Of course, Outdoor Voices’ aesthetic doesn’t stand out from the field like it used to—fashionable activewear is increasingly easy to find. When I called fashion marketing consultant Judith Russell, she praised Haney’s business sense and style but judged her “no different than so many others playing in an extremely competitive marketplace.” The field is increasingly crowded because of entrepreneurs like Haney, Russell says. She understood Haney’s desire to emphasize performance in addition to style. “You’ve got plenty of girls ordering Fabletics”—Kate Hudson’s activewear line—“which is known for being cute, fashionable, and affordable.” Outdoor Voices, on the other hand, is “positioned as premium, so you need unique fabrics. You need the quality…It’s a great brand, but there are a lot of really great brands.”

    In the past year, Haney has moved away from New York and the fashion world—1,700 miles away, to Austin, a city she calls “the most recreational place I’ve ever been.” Haney opened her first brick-and-mortar store there in 2014, in what the chairman of her board cheerfully calls “the worst retail location in the world,” on a peaceful residential street. Haney shifted the bulk of her operations southwest last year. Austin reminds her of Boulder, with hiking and biking trails threaded through downtown, but in Boulder, everyone you pass “is hauling ass,” whereas in Austin, “all ages and shapes and sizes of people are jogging with strollers and walking their dogs. It’s the epitome of the lifestyle Outdoor Voices is catering to.”

    Located just off East Cesar Chavez Street in rapidly gentrifying East Austin (within walking range of not one but two café cum bike shops), Outdoor Voices’ offices are full of custom plywood furniture in the same minimalist mode as the rainbows of clothing hanging around the room. In Haney’s world, style is functional in every detail. The first time we sat down to talk, her attention flicked for a moment to her blue conference room table. “We need to relaminate this,” she commented. “It bothers me that fingerprints stick.”

    The inner workings of Haney’s visual mind are evident all around her office: She collages mood boards for herself and her team to envision the direction of their designs. Images of high art—James Turrell installations; the paintings of Monica Garza, which depict curvy women of color in joyful motion—mingle with characters from pop culture, like Sailor Mars and the Energizer Bunny. Shots from the 1970s and ’80s are a recurring theme. Haney’s aesthetic isn’t retro, but she loves the era’s kitschy, colorful embrace of fitness.

    She’s especially inspired by Jane Fonda’s workout attire. In Fonda’s era, embracing leggings and leotards as everyday fashion allowed people—especially women—to convey that they valued feeling good in their clothes over anyone else’s feelings about how they looked. Observers of fashion have been saying for years that athleisure is a form of revolt against a culture obsessed with policing women’s appearances. “It’s the quintessential ‘I’m going to dress for myself’ statement,” Véronique Hyland wrote for The Cut in 2014. Both Haney’s comfortable clothes and her deft branding suit the self-image that millennial women seem to be shopping for. She told me her goal is to “take you back to how you feel when you’re young, that fearlessness to try things you have as a kid.” The women in Outdoor Voices’ promotional images usually look like they’re having too much fun to feel self-conscious. Where a classic Nike ad might show an athlete in midstride, alone with her determination, Outdoor Voices is all about group shots of women practicing backbends or dribbling balls midlaugh. If Outdoor Voices’ success is any indication, women aren’t just buying leggings. They’re hoping to buy a better, more self-assured version of themselves.

    It helps that Haney is an ideal avatar for the values attached to this mode of dress. Though Outdoor Voices has expanded into menswear, she cares most about designing “for women, by women.” As Outdoor Voices doubles down on performance, she wants the signature silhouettes to remain “feminine.” She says current projects include running skorts, exercise dresses, and high-support bras, since the original crop tops are tailored to the relatively flat-chested. Haney promotes the fact that her team is 78 percent female and prides herself on ad campaigns celebrating bodies of many shapes and sizes. She’s also, of course, a woman in business whose faith in her own ideas survived dozens of skeptical, mostly male investors, and a 29-year-old CEO whose team left the center of the fashion universe to follow her across the country. If athleisure has succeeded, in part, by offering women a small, consumer-friendly form of power, then it stands to reason that Haney, with her message about #DoingThings and her story about doing exactly what she sets her mind to, is herself a vital asset for her brand.

    Haney has come up with her own term for what Outdoor Voices is making. From now on, it’s “rec wear,” which Haney hopes captures both the “escapism or joyfulness” of a weekend camping in the woods and the midday exhale of a yoga class or a run. She wants this new taxonomy to convey that “we are experts at technical product”—that Outdoor Voices, at its core, isn’t about fashion. In the end, of course, this is just more nimble branding. Whatever Haney calls her clothes, she still has to compete against the ever-strengthening field that her company helped to create. Luckily, she’s always loved a good race.
    I luv the term "Athleisure"
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #4
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    Athleisure saturation

    Despite how saturated the athleisure market is, these high-end leggings manage to stand out above the rest — here's what makes them so much better
    Connie Chen, Insider Picks
    Jun. 15, 2018, 4:22 PM 2,966


    Alala/Instagram

    If you're a woman on the lookout for high-end athleisure, you have more than enough brands to choose from.

    One name that's mentioned often is Alala, the activewear brand that blends functional performance with New York City-influenced style.

    The best-selling Captain Ankle Tight ($110), Essential Seamless Bra ($45), and Mirage Tight ($125) are a few of my favorite styles from Alala. They're light, supportive, and comfortable, while featuring small, but thoughtful design details.

    Though "athleisure" is now a regular part of our vocabulary, it wasn't always a term we could toss around without receiving a few confused looks. In 2014, just as the athleisure trend was really taking off, Denise Lee, a former executive at Burch Creative Capital who was training for her first triathlon, launched activewear brand Alala.

    This strategic timing proved to be key to Alala's rise as a leader in women's athleisure. Lee told Business Insider, "If we had been slower to launch, I don't think we would have had as much early success [as] we did."

    Launching at the right place (online) and the right time, however, wouldn't mean a thing if the product wasn't good. Alala successfully pulls off quality, style, and variety, making sports bras, tees, leggings, and other activewear that perform both functionally and aesthetically.


    Alala/Instagram
    Lee is proud of the fact that "a lot of women say they feel like superheroes or a badass when they wear Alala, and that's the feeling we want them to have — pulled-together, sophisticated, confident, and ready to conquer their day."

    The brand is a favorite among celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Reese Witherspoon, and Vanessa Hudgens as much as it is a favorite among regular women like me: casual fitness enthusiasts who wouldn't mind looking good as they sweat it out.

    I tried a few of Alala's styles, including its best-selling Captain Ankle Tight, which has sold over 5,000 pairs since the brand launched. 40% of those units were sold in 2017 alone, a testament to athleisure's staying power as more than a passing fad.


    Alala Captain Ankle Tight, $110 Alala

    The Captain Ankle Tight was my favorite of the bunch, and I can see why everyone else loves them, too. They're stretchy and not too thick, so I surprisingly enjoyed running in them on a warm June day, when I'd normally prefer a pair of shorts. That's probably also because they're moisture-wicking, and the mesh panels on the side improve breathability.

    The waistband is made with Powermesh, a firm but stretchy mesh that's supportive and comfortable. Waistbands that ride or roll down can make the difference between a good and distracting workout, so I was relieved to not have to deal with that common problem. The leggings also have a front key pocket and back zip pocket to stash your small essentials, another thoughtful design choice that let me focus on running instead of how to hold my stuff.


    Alala Essential Seamless Bra, $45 Alala/Instagram

    The Essential Seamless Bra was an unexpected hit for me. I'm a pretty consistent size medium across all types of clothing, but when it comes to bralettes and sports bras, my usual size is often tight because I have a broad back and shoulders. When I size up, the result is too loose and doesn't fit well.

    When I pulled out the Essential Seamless Bra in medium, I was highly doubtful it would fit since it looked tiny. But lo and behold, it was much stretchier than it looked, and fit very comfortably. The stylish open mesh detailing on the front and back peeked out from under my tank, and the no-seam construction made me feel like I could wear the bra all day.


    Alala Mirage Tight, $125 Alala

    I also liked the Mirage Tight, with their sheer ribbed detailing, side pockets, and cuffed bottoms. Though they don't look it, the leggings are soft and airy, unlike many performance leggings that make you feel like you're being stuffed into a rubber tube. They're perhaps better suited to more low-impact activities such as yoga or pilates, but highly comfortable and well-designed nonetheless.


    Alala/Instagram

    Based on its price point and quality, Alala falls on the luxury end of the activewear spectrum. Its leggings fall around $100 and its sports bras range from $45 to $85, so if you're already shopping at Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, and BANDIER (which just so happens to stock Alala styles), the cost won't shock you.

    The athleisure space is jammed with dozens of different brands each trying to take its slice of the pie, but Alala manages to take its share and then some with its easily identifiable and cool style, thoughtfully designed product features, and comfortable fit. More than anything, Alala makes women feel confident as they walk, run, jump, and dance their way through their workouts and beyond.
    I'm now kinda embarrassed that it's taken me this long to learn the term 'athleisure'.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  5. #5
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    J-Lo

    STYLE
    Jennifer Lopez Is the Undisputed Queen of Athleisure: Her Best Casual Moments
    By Christina Baez June 12, 2018


    Jennifer Lopez/Instagram

    Work it out! Jennifer Lopez can now add Queen of Athleisure to her already long resume achievements (Oh, you know, like actress, singer and dancer just to name a few). It’s no surprise that the mom of twins Emme and Max, 10, stuns on any red carpet she walks on and lights up the streets with her snazzy off-duty style. So there’s no doubt that her athleisure game is 100!

    Along with her amazing street style moments, the superstar continuously posts selfies giving us a peek into her comfy-dressing strategy. One brand she often shouts out: Niyama Sol. The company is known for its fun and comfortable leggings. Lopez referred to the line as having “the best and most beautiful prints” in a video she posted on her Instagram account after receiving a box of athleisure goods for Christmas.

    Whether she’s chillin’ at home, in the gym or out and about, when JLo is wearing athleisure gear you know she’s killing it. Scroll down to see some of her best athletic fashions!



    Snaked Out
    JLo flashed her toned body in fitted Niyama Sol snake print leggings and a gray tank top in a photo she posted onto her Instagram account.
    Credit: Jennifer Lopez/Instagram


    Wake and Work
    The actress snapped a selfie in black and white Niyama Sol high-waist leggings and a white sportsbra.
    Credit: Jennifer Lopez/Instagram


    Fit and Fitted
    Jenny from the block showcased her washboard abs in a mirror selfie wearing gray and green leggings and a matching top.
    Credit: Jennifer Lopez/Instagram


    Shows in Her Work
    Lopez’s casual onscreen style is also on point. While filming Second Act the actress was styled in multi-patterned leggings, a pink sweater, a blue vest and a matching beanie.
    Credit: James Devaney/GC Images


    Good List
    For Christmas, the singer received a box from Niyama Sol with a few pairs of leggings and a couple of beanies. The singer seemed overjoyed with her new gifts in a video she posted onto her Instagram account captioning the short vid, “Thank you @niyamasol for sending me my favorite workout leggings!! #gymrat #yogafun #athleisure #iwearthemeveryday #iovechristmas #theyregreentoo #nomoreboringblackleggings.”
    Credit: Jennifer Lopez/Instagram
    Is there Athleisure for men? Do I care?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  6. #6
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    Grrrl

    Aug 2, 2018, 02:39am
    Meet GRRRL, The Billion Dollar Brand In-Waiting That's Adding Activism To Athleisure
    Katie Baron Contributor

    It’s a shining example of the much-strived for goal of brand as movement, achieved by using the inverse methodology

    Whatever women have been told they can’t or shouldn’t do is fuel to Olson’s manifesto, compounding its viability as the must-have brand for the neo-protest era

    American entrepreneur Kortney Olson is an unmitigated force of nature. Australia’s first female arm-wrestling champion, the creator of Kamp Konfidence - short, skills-based residential workshops tackling the issues limiting teenage girls - and a highly successful former sales manager for car dealerships, hers is a Hollywood-ready backstory of outsider’s empathy, brute determination and unsinkable charisma that’s now fully coalesced in her female championing athleisure e-brand, GRRRL Clothing. It’s a shining example of the much-strived for goal of brand as movement, achieved by using the inverse methodology. As Olson says: “The movement came first, I started the clothing line as a tool for communication, a way to reach a lot of women fast.”


    Kortney Olson, CEO & Founder of GRRRL Clothing (Credit: GRRRL Clothing).GRRRL CLOTHING

    GRRRL potentially posits a pivotal change in the trajectory of the lucrative athleisure sector, which is set to hit sales of $231.7 billion worldwide by 2024 but still has gaping chasms regarding diversity; the average US woman is now 16-18 (a UK 20-22) and sales of larger, technically plus-size clothing are forecast to grow at twice the rate of ‘standard’ sizes by 2020 but few sports brands are servicing the market and those that do tend to segregate the offer, offensively inferring large means atypical - blindly ignoring the statistical reality check. Lululemon, for instance, stops dead at a size large which, according to the GRRRL team is smaller than at least 67.5% of American women. GRRRL offers an important alternative for women of all sizes - best not to mistake it for a plus size one-trick pony - that identify more with weightlifting than downward dogs. That’s not to exclude the spiritual aspect of sporting enlightenment - there are few founders as evangelical or holistically-focused as Olson, who is vocal and articulate regarding wellbeing, self-love and acceptance and no activities are excluded, but the focus on the rougher, tougher fringe sports such as weightlifting, bodybuilding, martial arts and ultimate fighting undeniably offers a more potent vehicle for driving wider female empowerment.

    Whatever women have been told they can’t or shouldn’t do is fuel to Olson’s manifesto, compounding its viability as the must-have brand for the neo-protest era . The comparatively aggressive styling (there are muscles, everywhere) might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s certainly finding an audience, both because of and despite the visual language. While it may still be small fry in comparison to sports major players, since launching in 2015 its focus on female unification has brought home year on year sales increases of 200% and 30k+ consumers across 60 countries - 50 of whom are so militantly allied to its message they’ve had the brand’s named tattooed on their bodies . This brand and its fans mean business.



    Olson, as leader of the mission, epitomizes the cult of the personality in play. She’s a living embodiment of overcoming personal struggles (bullying, rape, eating disorders, depression, addiction) and is comfortable with advertising the difficulties of that lived experience on the basis that it will cement the brand’s values and degree of authenticity. It was bodybuilding that pulled Olson back from the brink, hence the use of physicality, often in the extreme, as the primary tool for making connections: “Most of the barriers women encounter are mental not physical but they play out physically. We’re deliberately challenging stereotypes to remind women how powerful they are.”

    The starkest example of that extreme physicality is the moniker “the woman with the world’s deadliest thighs” given to her by Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee on his US TV show Stan Lee's Superhumans (a program dedicated to people with extraordinary physical gifts) on account of her ability to crush watermelons with her legs. The notoriety has been useful for brand visibility to the extent she’s turned melon crushing into an annual event - a semi-comedic but also awe-inspiring bonding tool for the brand’s legion of devotees.

    Physical prowess of a non-traditionally ladylike nature is also evident in the athletes the brand sponsors including Holly Holm of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fame who beat legendary competitor Ronda Rousey to the world bantamweight title in 2015. To clarify, UFC involves hardcore combat using mixed martial arts and is widely billed as the fastest growing sport in the world. “This is a sport where women are pouring out of the woodwork,” says Olson, “partly because we’re actually designed to be better fighters [than men]. We have a lower center of gravity, a stronger pain threshold. It’s only society that’s told us no. Our women are warming up, as it were, with their Dad’s personal best.” While Under Armour UA -0.05% triumphed by championing the underdog, GRRRL poses a sense of equality that’s not yet been telegraphed in earnest within the mainstream brand galaxy. Formidable US powerlifter Quiana (Chuckie) Welch is due to come on board soon, potentially as a replacement, visually speaking, for Olson herself.

    Threading this literal show of superhuman strength into the brand, GRRRL’s sizing system is also based on athletes’ names. You choose based on the athlete you identify with - ranging from martial artists at the lower end (see Brionii Cuskelly) to USA weightlifting stars (see Ali Ludwig) at the other. It’s a concept anchored in body diversity devised to compound the notion that larger (plus) sizes are of equal importance to their smaller counterparts, similar to boxing weight divisions. Somewhat surprisingly, considering the current need to use a measuring tape to assess where you sit on the spectrum accurately, Olson reports miniscule return rates of approximately 1% in comparison to an athleisure industry standard of 15-20%.

    “People thought we were mad to start a brand without traditional sizing, but it’s a system that was started by a man in the 1940s… who worked in the agricultural business.” It’s an inclusive attitude towards plus size - bigger sizes but not flagged as such - now so glaring that even Khloe Kardashian has dropped the categorization on her denim brand The Good American. Quite how she reconciles that her sister Kim’s penchant for promoting hunger suppressing lollipops is anyone’s guess but the mainstream appetite, if you’ll pardon the pun, is clear.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  7. #7
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    Continued from previous post

    [QUOTE]

    GRRRL Clothing athlete-led size guide (Credit: GRRRL Clothing).GRRRL CLOTHING

    Reaching out to women with an authentic hand is a line that far bigger brands such as Nike NKE +0.98% with its female-focused pop-ups and a recent move into plus-size sports kit or Puma , which held a one-day, women-only club event in 2017 have unsurprisingly tried to throw out in a bid for market share. But Olson is emphatic that GRRRL’s ownership of the space will hold more traction, “because their ‘why’ [create the brand] didn’t start with the issue of empowering women. The ‘why’ for them was creating a shoe to run faster, longer or that hurt less. These brands are masquerading as a platform for women’s rights. It’s an add-on, essentially lip service.” She cites Reebok’s ongoing Be More Human campaign, which is billed as a rallying cry for people to reach their full potential, regardless of size, shape, mental or social situation: “It’s supposed to be about all body types and yet the 2018 edition features heavily photoshopped visuals of [US pop superstar] Ariana Grande and bodies representative of less than 5% of the audience.”

    Regardless, Reebok’s nod to transformation that transcends the physical is a focus keenly shared with Olson who views guidance and community on a long-haul basis are imperative to GRRRL’s modus operandi. It’s the reason why that aside the brand’s e-commerce site events are also key to its strategic growth. Not unlike the political movements it shadows, GRRRL currently hosts an annual summit in Las Vegas where fans commune not only for sports-based workshops but an increasing number of keynotes, discussions and support sessions regarding issues such as stress management, finance and women & work.

    Sports remain a core springboard because the body is still a fundamental female battleground but it’s the underlying issues concerning crises of confidence or self-identity that Olson aims to correct. Liz Gisbourne, entrepreneur and author of Limitless Women: Empowering the Next Generation of Legacy Leaders will headline a forthcoming event. But they’ll also be critical support of a frenemy (when brands partner with competitors) flavor via an appearance from Krissy Mae Cagney, owner of the Nevada-based Black Iron Gym and lifestyle brand Doughnuts & Deadlifts - all in the name of a seismic galvanization of the sisterhood.

    While Olson’s rhetoric even teeters on the pseudo-religious at times, it’s not an uncomfortable analogy bearing in mind the palpable and highly transparent mission she’s on to create a network and belief system with an enduring legacy. The events, which Olson plans to roll into additional smaller meet-ups, trace a direct line back to Kamp Konfidence and her driving motivation to redress the devastating impact of social pressures on young women, including the insidiously toxic imprint of social media.

    “There is so much subconscious programming, especially in this age of post-truth confusion, that happens with young girls regarding a sense of not being good enough. Tech is isolating and escalating problems and, societally speaking, women are actively encouraged to compare themselves. There needs to be an awakening of non-judgement towards one another without negating the capacity to speak up where it matters.” Referencing statistics including the shocking figures that self-harm hospital admissions have grown globally by over 68% in the last ten years, with teenage girls 50% more likely to self-harm than teenage boys, Olson states: “We’re not just selling clothing, we’re solving a trillion-dollar social problem. It’s about progress not perfection , but we are making change happen.”

    As for the next step, don’t rule out yoga wear (“we started with fringe sports that are becoming less niche and therefore I’m sure we will stair-step into yoga. To begin with it had to be those sports that showed a challenge to the status quo,”) and she’s currently looking at establishing a factory in Thailand to pull women out of the sex industry, offering sustainable alternative incomes. “At the end of the day I want to be build a brand bigger than Nike or Adidas , but I want to create abundance. It’s critical to go down the path of purpose.”



    Katie Baron is an author, strategist & futurist specializing in the intersections between consumer behavior, brands, tech and pop culture. She's also Head of Retail at Stylus Media Group[QUOTE]

    'we’re actually designed to be better fighters [than men].' Bold statement.
    Gene Ching
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  8. #8
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    The Dirty Secrets Of Athleisure

    Not that dirty really, but I should really poach 'the dirty secrets of' for some future article title - The Dirty Secrets of Wudang - or something like that.

    Sep 5, 2018, 08:05am
    This New Brand Wants To Talk About The Dirty Secrets Of Athleisure
    Esha Chhabra
    Contributor
    Entrepreneurs
    I write about the growing "industry" of social innovation.


    Temple Athletic Co. wants to make the cleanest athleisure wear on the market.TEMPLE ATHLETIC

    Temple Athletic Co. is a self-financed Canadian sportswear startup, trying to give health-conscious folks healthier clothes. Basil Farano, a textile industry veteran, put his vision with fellow co-founder, Phil Zullo, on Kickstarter to raise money and awareness about a dirty secret of the athleisure industry: much of the synthetic wear that people use for workout gear, and even everyday wear, is often made with chemicals.

    “After working in the industry for so long, you learn about all the things that are wrong with the industry,” he says.

    The fashion industry is notoriously damaging at all steps of the production chain. For a long time, however, the real costs of fast fashion have been hidden behind ‘save the earth’ slogan tees that leave behind a trail of polluted waterways and inhumane working conditions. Now the public is beginning to demand more accountability from brands, and after getting a first-hand look behind the scenes, Farano found a gap in the market: toxin-free sportswear.

    Temple Athletic avoids the following chemicals and byproducts: PFC’s, Phthalates, Dimethylfomanamide (DMF), Nonylphenol Ethoxylates (NPEs), Alkylphenol Ethoxylates, Triclosan, Nanoparticle Silver & Nonylphenols (NPs).

    Farano argues that toxins, often used in athletic wear, pose a health hazard to the consumer, particularly when body temperature rises and people begin to sweat. As the sweat mixes with the fabric, he explains, dangerous toxins are released that can enter an individual’s body through their open pores.

    “To me, this seems absurd when you consider it’s sportswear, a product people wear to stay in shape and be healthy,” he says. “I’d like to be a part of bringing about change to the sportswear industry.”

    Making the first iteration of products has not been easy, he admits. Farano spent three years trying to identify the factories he could work with. “I couldn’t believe how challenging it was to find factories who produce fabrics without dangerous toxins.”

    Temple Athletics clothes are made in Canada and the United States. He uses only mills in Switzerland and Italy who follow Bluesign and Oeko-Tex standards -- two standards in the textile industry that look to minimize toxic chemicals in the production process. Though not perfect, and with limitations, they’re pushing the industry towards greater transparency and accountability of its byproducts: namely, when chemicals enter waterways, and the level of toxicity in chemicals.

    “All of this process makes our manufacturing costs quite expensive,” Farano confesses, slotting him in the category of Lululemon and Nike, in regards to pricing. But by selling directly to consumers, he feels that he can provide a “clean” product at a comparable price. The startup is avoiding big box stores to control costs; because using these higher standards come with a higher price tag, he wants to avoid the added margins of middlemen and retailers, by selling direct to customers.

    Farano has experience in scaling a similar business: In the late ‘90s, he helped take athletic wear brand, Kappa, from zero to $35 million in sales. In the past decade, he has seen brands like Under Armour and Lululemon challenge the same market.

    “They had an impact because they were taking on new areas of the business,” he says.

    But, they don’t go far enough. With people becoming more conscious about what they eat a and consume, their clothing is likely to be the industry undergoing scrutiny next, he hopes.

    “I felt it would only be a matter of time before people became educated as to how their sportswear was being made,” he says. “As a result, there would be a growing demand from consumers [for toxin-free alternatives], and an opportunity to have a real point of difference in the market.”

    Currently, Farano and Zullo, who comes from the health and fitness industry as a trainer and a consultant, are selling their collection on Kickstarter, which Farano feels allows them to communicate closely with their customer base. The plan is, he says, that once the Kickstarter campaign is over, they’ll start selling through their company website. The goal is to offer a new capsule collection periodically throughout the year of men’s and women’s wear, focusing on staple pieces that will last.

    Inspired by brands like Patagonia and Prana, Farano argues that it’s time for the industry to address some of these hidden costs.

    “It’s never easy being a leader,” he says. “But I swore to myself that if I was ever to launch my own brand that it would require a real point of difference.”
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  9. #9
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    This is somewhat true for me...

    Everything You Wear Is Athleisure
    Yoga pants, tennis shoes, and the 100-year history of how sports changed the way Americans dress
    OCT 28, 2018
    Derek Thompson
    Staff writer at The Atlantic


    SHUTTERSTOCK / KATIE MARTIN / THE ATLANTIC

    In 1997, a retail entrepreneur in British Columbia named Chip Wilson was having back problems. So, like millions of people around the world, he went to a yoga class. What struck Wilson most in his first session wasn’t the poses; it was the pants. He noticed that his yoga instructor was wearing some slinky dance attire, the sort of second skin that makes a fit person’s butt look terrific. Wilson felt inspired to mass-produce this vision of posterior pulchritude. The next year, he started a yoga design-and-fashion business and opened his first store in Vancouver. It was called Lululemon.

    As a spiritual practice, yoga has been in existence for more than 2,500 years. But in strictly financial terms, Chip Wilson’s 1997 session may have been the most consequential yoga class in world history. In the past two decades, Lululemon has sparked a global fashion revolution, sometimes called “athleisure” or “activewear,” which has injected prodigious quantities of spandex into modern dress and blurred the lines between yoga-and-spin-class attire and normal street clothes. According to one survey, the share of upper-income teenagers who say that athleisure stores like Lululemon are their favorite apparel brands has grown by a factor of six in the past decade. (Incongruously, athleisure has grown in popularity among teens at the same time that American youth sport participation has declined significantly.)

    As someone who doesn’t attend yoga or spin classes, my interest in athleisure doesn’t have much to do with practicality—or style. I’m a fairly boring jeans-and-button-up kind of guy. But for years, I’ve been wondering what athleisure’s rise says about modern culture and the way groups decide to embrace one idea and discard another. Yoga’s been around for millennia. Stretchy fabrics have been around for decades. So, what made athleisure take off so suddenly?

    Deirdre Clemente has an answer. A fashion historian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, she says athleisure is the culmination of three long-term trends. First, technological improvements to synthetic fiber have made products like spandex more flexible, durable, and washable than natural materials. Second, the modern fixation on healthy appearance has made yoga pants an effective vector for “conspicuous consumption,” Thorstein Veblen’s term for products that confer status—like “extremely healthy person”— upon their owners. Finally, the blurring of yoga-studio fashion and office attire snaps into the long decline of formality in American fashion.

    “One hundred years ago, you would have day clothes for the street, dinner clothes for the restaurant, theater clothes, and so many genres of dress,” Clemente said. “Those barriers have come down. Athleisure is the ultimate breaking down of barriers.”

    To Clemente, the athleisure story doesn’t begin in the late 20th century, with the birth of Lululemon. It begins in the late 19th century, a sort of Cambrian Explosion moment for basic fashion when sports changed the way young people dressed—both on the field and in the classroom.

    In other words, when I asked Clemente to explain the sudden rise of athleisure, my request was one word too long. There is nothing sudden about the influence of sports on the way Americans dress. In fact, it is hardly an exaggeration to say that all modern fashion is athleisure.

    The late 19th century was transformative for two reasons.

    In 1892, the U.S. Rubber Company began producing shoes with rubber soles, and its target consumers were athletes. The friction of rubber offered superior grip for fin de siecle sportsmen in lawn sports and on tennis courts; hence, the name tennis shoe. (The long-standing alternative sneaker allegedly refers to the fact that rubber-soled shoes don’t click and clomp on hard surfaces, which allows their wearers to sneak up on people.) Although the popularity of tennis has been declining for decades, today almost all of the best-selling shoes in America are sneakers. Like yoga pants, tennis shoes are sportswear that have transcended their sport.

    Around the same time as the invention of the rubber sole, intramural sports took off at American universities, Clemente told me. That meant more young men playing tennis, golf, polo, and croquet. But lacking the means or inclination to fill their wardrobe with non-sports clothes, many of these men simply kept their athletic attire on for class. Athleisure dropped the prefix and became, simply, leisure.

    Let’s look at a couple of specific examples beyond tennis shoes: sport coats, polo shirts, and shorts. For each item, the influence of athletics sticks out like a popped collar.

    The first sport coats were adopted by 19th-century Europeans and Britons who enjoyed hunting or horseback riding but found such activities difficult in a typical suit jacket. Young American students borrowed the style with a few tweaks, sometimes pairing sport coats with non-matching pants to play outdoor sports like golf.

    What we call a “polo shirt” was originally known as a “tennis shirt.” In the 1920s, the Frenchman René Lacoste was a Grand Slam–champion tennis player who was dissatisfied with the era’s typical athletic garb, which featured long sleeves. To make it easier to scamper around the courts of France, he designed a short-sleeved cotton shirt that could be loosened by unbuttoning part-way down the front, with a starched collar that players could turn up to protect their necks against the sun. (Most recognizably, Lacoste, who was known as “the crocodile” on the court, emblazoned the left breast of the shirt with an image of his nickname.) The shirt was a hit. Other companies, like Brooks Brothers in the United Kingdom, adopted a similar design for polo players, who sought the same breathable shirt. When Ralph Lauren launched his clothing line in the 1970s, he put an image of a polo player on the breast pocket. Thus, a shirt designed for French tennis was co-opted for British polo and gobbled up by preppy Americans, who now use the term polo shirt to describe, without a second’s thought, an everyday article of clothing that is as athletic in its origins as “yoga pants.”
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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    Continued from previous post

    Shorts were perhaps sportswear’s most popular offering, Clemente writes in Dress Casual, a history of early-20th-century American style. Shorts started as gym garb, adored by coeds and despised by their elders. In 1930, a group of newspaper editors at Dartmouth College organized a campus-wide Shorts Protest calling for men to “lounge forth to the supreme pleasure of complete leg freedom.” Readers were encouraged to “bring forth your treasured possession—be it tailored to fit or old flannels delegged.” They brought forth, alright. By mid-century, shorts on American men were nearly as ubiquitous as buzz cuts.

    Sportswear has been equally revolutionary for women, who started from a far less comfortable place. Between European girdles and East Asian foot-binding rituals, women’s fashion history is strewn with grotesque attempts by male-dominated cultures to physically warp women’s bodies to meet unnatural definitions of beauty.

    Through most of the 19th century, long dresses were the norm for female athletes on courts and fields. What really shook things up was the bicycle, which became a national craze in—naturally—the 1890s. It was difficult (and dangerous) for women to ride in a long skirt that could get caught in the spokes, which led to a demand for more sensical outfits for modern living.

    Fashion companies gradually offered more “kinetic” outfits for young female athletes, including shorter skirts to go with button-down tops. Thus, the modern field-hockey uniform, with its gored skirts and polo shirts, became a common sight on women. More revolutionary were divided skirts, pantaloons, or even (gasp) shorts, which allowed women to safely churn their bike pedals. Still, the acceptance of feminine shorts was slow-coming. Even by the 1950s, Clemente finds that colleges such as Penn State tried to limit when and where shorts could be worn.

    Sweatshirts also originated in collegiate male sports in the late 1800s and conquered the campus before becoming mainstream—all while cultural critics bemoaned their popularity among women. The first modern sweaters—as opposed to animal pelts worn for warmth and the like—were essentially sports jerseys worn by guys on the rowing or golf team to produce sweating and reduce weight (hence the word sweater.) Around campus, these young men—and, soon, young women—might wear “letterman’s sweaters” to signal their participation in a campus sport. But sweaters were simply too comfy to reserve for the golf course, and students started wearing them all over the place.

    Like yoga pants a century later, the purpose of the sweater evolved. Originally, it was about demonstrating athletic participation, but it soon became more about showing appreciation for a generally active way of life. In 1939, Vogue magazine estimated that most college women owned up to 15 sweatshirts (in case you thought a dozen Lululemon leggings was overdoing it). Just about every scandalous thing students wore to the gym around the turn of the century became accepted casual wear by the middle of the century.

    Not everybody appreciated the demise of formality. “Females who don track shorts and jerseys and run and jump in track meets are just wasting their time, and ours,” one Esquire columnist wrote in 1936. “They weren’t built for that sort of costume.” Nevertheless, in the past 80 years, shorts have gotten shorter and tighter, as advances in synthetic fibers have made them more elastic and more flexible.

    The theme of the past century of Western fashion is this: We take clothes designed for activity, and we adapt them for inactivity. And that’s true beyond the world of sports. For decades, Levi Strauss jeans were worn mostly by men working in factories and farms; today, denim is for loungers. Wristwatches were pioneered in World War I to keep soldiers punctual; today, we embrace them as peacetime jewelry.

    After I spoke with Deirdre Clemente, I opened my closet. I didn’t see a square inch of spandex in there. Instead I counted three polo shirts, four pairs of shorts, two pairs of jeans, five sweaters, four tennis shoes, and three sport coats. Athleisure isn’t the future of fashion. It’s the whole **** thing.
    ...stuff in my closet that isn't 'athleisure' is industrial work clothes and paramilitary.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  11. #11
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    Defying gravity

    Nov 13, 2018, 08:00am
    Why The Athleisure Business Continues To Defy Gravity
    Richard Kestenbaum


    Mika Yoga Wear Product COURTESY MIKA YOGA WEAR

    It’s been about 20 years since lululemon first introduced what are now known as “yoga pants.” Although yoga is ancient, today it seems inconceivable that yoga would be practiced without the relevant apparel. Active bottoms and leggings alone are now a $1 billion industry according to NPD Group analyst Marshal Cohen. But lululemon and other makers of yoga-related fashion aren’t limited to yoga, they've expanded well beyond that and most of what they now make isn’t used for yoga at all. For tapping into that trend and expanding it, lululemon has a total company value of about $15 billion.

    I recently caught up with my colleague Kim Karmitz who has been doing work with related companies. She explains that lululemon is not alone in benefiting from growth in the yoga business. “It’s not just the big players like adidas, Under Armour and Nike that have grown with yoga,” Karmitz says. ‘“There’s a plethora of smaller companies that have grown up in the same market. They have spawned a much bigger industry than just yoga pants and that’s what we now call ‘athleisure’.”

    Karmitz says the athleisure market is different from almost anything that has come before it. Often in the fashion business, when a new product class is created it explodes with growth. That goes on for a while and eventually the market becomes saturated. Then growth slows, competition becomes tougher, prices and profits feel pressure and competitors combine to become more efficient. We’ve seen this pattern over and over in the fashion business. But Karmitz says that’s not happening in the athleisure market, “This market hasn’t slowed. Even after all this time, the big players and the smaller ones continue to expand.”

    Karmitz told me, “there’s one word that explains the continued growth of athleisure: wellness.” She explains that wellness isn’t about your health in a strictly medical way, although it’s related. Wellness is more about your state of mind. Wellness products like yoga pants give the wearer an association with a healthy activity, whether they’re actually doing the activity or not. It’s a look that expresses an aspiration for health and positive thinking. Wellness is a very broad term and its definition is expanding all the time as more products and services become associated with wellness or try to. There are juices of course, and now there are “ingestibles,” products that aren’t medicine but something you drink, eat or apply to make you feel better and strengthen your confidence, particularly about how you look. Companies like Goop, Moon Juice, Keeps and Dirty Lemon have grown rapidly selling just such wellness products.

    “A large part of the big beauty companies like L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Revlon, Shiseido and others are very focused on the wellness business,” Karmitz told me. She explains that they’ve been selling products for a century that are focused on giving consumers confidence that flows from looking healthy. So far, they have stayed in the traditional boundaries of the beauty industry and don’t describe themselves in wellness terms. They aren’t expanding into ingestibles, fashion products and travel experiences that relate to wellness the way other non-beauty companies are. Karmitz is not expecting the big beauty companies to move more deeply into wellness than they already have with their existing products. But if growth in the beauty business ever slows, Karmitz thinks they will have to take another look at it because the strategic similarities are so strong.
    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  12. #12
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    Continued from previous post

    What does the growth in wellness that is driving the athleisure business mean for the future? Karmitz brought me into conversations with some impressive founders. Here are some interesting ones:


    WONE Product COURTESY LUKE WOODEN

    WONE (pronounced “one”) – WONE was founded by Kristin Hildebrand, a Nike alumnus who wanted to use better fabrications than a big company like Nike could permit. Their leggings sell for $350 and according to Hildebrand, “are the best athletic apparel on the planet…it does more, it breathes better, it doesn’t pill and it’s good through 50,000 washes.” They have had only one collection so far, sold only online. It wasn’t just a big hit, you had to apply to the company to buy it and not every application was accepted. Their second collection is coming out soon and will be available online and at high-end retailers including Barneys.


    Onzie Product COURTESY ONZIE

    Kimberly Swarth, the founder of Onzie (pronounced OWN-zee), told me, “there’s a feeling when a great [athleisure product] or color or fabric comes on your body and that is part of wellness. I feel healthy, alive, powerful, that’s especially important for women.” Onzie is sold in Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus, Equinox and Dick’s, but it’s also sold in almost 2,000 boutique work out studios for yoga, spin, and all creative workouts. “That’s how we started and how we stay connected to our core customer through her workout …where [our customer] is in her body…The enthusiasts and instructors are the evangelists for our product.”


    Glyder Product COURTESY GLYDER

    Glyder founder Stuart Solkow says his business is “seasonless.” Their key demographic is 28-34 year olds and they are growing through multiple channels including online, subscription businesses, gyms, studios boutiques and resorts. That works because they say their business is “all-around health and wellness.” They are being asked to do men’s all the time and the demand there is substantial but there’s so much opportunity for them in women’s that they’re not up to doing men’s right now. Their focus is on the quality of their product, fabric innovation sets them apart. They “try to set a high bar with our fabrics and design while keeping the value equation right for our customer. Every customer, large or small, retail or wholesale, gets 100% of our attention.”


    Tasc Performance Product COURTESY TASC PERFORMANCE

    Tasc Performance is focused on “the modern lifestyle.” Founder Todd Andrews told me they believe their “consumer is looking for clothes that do more for them, that aren’t just single-purpose products and are wearing across [activities] as we have busier lives…and they’re looking for technology and expect [it] in everything they do.” Their differentiating factor is their fabrics. They say they deliver “natural performance without using chemicals and not just using synthetics to get performance.” We are about “comfort with performance.” They are now developing fabrics using cotton and bamboo. Tasc opened their own store in New Orleans in 2017 and have targeted other cities for future retail expansion.


    Girlfriend Collective Product COURTESY FELISHA TOLENTINO / GIRLFRIEND COLLECTIVE

    Girlfriend Collective is about sustainability. Founder Quang Dinh saw other brands making products that are petroleum-based and set out to make a product that is socially and environmentally impactful out of post-consumer plastic. Girlfriend Collective is the only non-major athleisure producer that chips down its own plastic bottles and makes its own yarn. Its imagery is focused on inclusivity. The product is primarily available online and recently at Nordstrom and Reformation. The founder told me that with consumers getting health, food and lifestyle information on their mobile device constantly, they need athleisure product with comparable social values to the vitamins and beauty products they are buying.


    Mika Yoga Wear Product COURTESY MIKA YOGA WEAR

    Mika Yoga Wear was an early entrant to the athleisure market. But the market is competitive and to remain successful founder Laura Costa says they can never rest on their quality/value equation. They are focused on designs and the trends they’re seeing are mesh products, high waists, crop tops, biker shorts that are longer and layered, off-the-shoulder tops. Most of their business is online direct-to-consumer and their largest marketing channels are Facebook and Instagram. They have over 250,000 Facebook followers.


    Terez Product COURTESY TEREZ

    Terez is hyper focused on wellness. Founder Zara Terez Tisch told me that as a society, “we spend on health and wellness more than ever… people want to feel that they’re a part of a…community because we’re [driven] apart from each other with screens and politics…we are here to help women and girls stand for themselves and uncover their joy of empowering their self-expression… we happen to use athleisure…[but] we care about them as people and we are about what they care about.” She acknowledges that with its philosophy, Terez can be more than products and can expand into a “multitude of different divisions.”

    Where This Goes

    Karmitz says the growth in wellness shows no signs of abating and that's supporting continued growth in athleisure. It's that growth that's attracting entrepreneurs to create a constant stream of new companies without the pressure on margins that usually occurs after a product class has been in the market as long as athleisure has. She thinks that will provide a platform for expansion into related products that can be sold as wellness-related alongside athleisure products. Because each of the companies above and the many others in the athleisure business are each so different, Karmitz believes they will each find different ways to grow into other product lines. As long as wellness continues to be an interesting state of mind for consumers to aspire to, athleisure and other related businesses are going to continue their growth.
    Ya know, I just don't think I have the booty for atheleisure. My booty surrenders to gravity. It doesn't defy it.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  13. #13
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    Under Armour is no longer athleisure

    Under Armour breaks from ‘athleisure’ craze
    Sportswear group is returning to its roots after losing focus, says chief executive


    The refocus on sport comes at a critical time for Baltimore-based Under Armour

    Alistair Gray in New York YESTERDAY

    Under Armour is returning to its roots as a sportswear company, breaking from the “athleisure” craze in which people who do no exercise wear workout kit.

    Kevin Plank, founder and chief executive, said the S&P 500 company had lost its “focus” and pledged to train its attention on clothing for athletes.

    While Mr Plank said Under Armour would remain committed to style, he made clear the brand was more at home in the gym than on the catwalk.

    “If they [consumers] want to go sit on the couch they can, but that product was built to help them get through a 10-mile run,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. “We don’t dissuade them from doing it — we just need to know who we are.”

    He added: “We are a performance brand. That is what we’re going to be and going to stand for, becoming the best in the world at that.”

    The refocus on sport comes at a critical time for the Baltimore-based company. Earlier this month it issued an underwhelming financial forecast at an investor day, while its culture has also been in the spotlight after a report that employees put strip club visits on expenses.

    Under Armour, started by Mr Plank in his grandmother’s basement in 1996, wowed Wall Street as it expanded aggressively and took on the likes of Nike and Adidas. But its shares have fallen 68 per cent from 2015 highs while sales have flagged in North America.

    “We grew so quickly that we lost focus,” said Mr Plank. “We got wide.”


    Kevin Plank: ‘We are a performance brand. That is what we’re going to be and going to stand for, becoming the best in the world at that’ © Getty

    Under Armour is one of many companies that has sought to capitalise on rising demand for athletic-themed clothing. Workplaces have become more casual and consumers want more comfortable alternatives to jeans and suits.

    Global athleisure sales are growing between 2 per cent and 4 per cent annually, according to consultancy AT Kearney, outpacing a stagnant overall clothing market.

    “Sports apparel brands have benefited from consumers who want to be associated with sports and the lifestyle, without necessarily doing the hard work,” said Marie Driscoll, managing director of luxury and fashion at Coresight Research.

    The market is highly competitive, however. Traditional sporting goods groups from Fila to The North Face vie with fashion-oriented brands such as Lululemon and Sweaty Betty. Celebrities including Khloé Kardashian and Beyoncé have also launched their own lines.

    Several brands have been adopted by consumers for styles unintended by the companies. Under Armour’s often-dark clothing was a favourite in the “health goth” aesthetic, for instance.

    The company’s own ventures into sports-inspired fashion included a tie-up two years ago with designer Tim Coppens, known as Under Armour Sportswear. It has since been discontinued.

    Last year Mr Plank said he wanted the company to have a position “at the high end of fashion”, adding that the “sport lifestyle” market was its “largest opportunity”.

    However, some analysts said the brand had struggled to position itself in athleisure. “When they entered in 2016 they were already too late,” said Adheer Bahulkar, partner at AT Kearney. “It never really worked.”

    He added: “The question is, are you giving up a much bigger market in athleisure to go after a smaller market in products for the true athlete? But if you realise that you are already losing the athleisure game, then you want at least to reclaim the athlete market.”

    Mr Plank said the company had a “big opportunity” in the “focused performer” market for consumers who exercise regularly. The sector, he said, generated $92bn in global annual retail revenue.

    He also said the company was eyeing a target to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions as part of a “meaningful cultural transformation”.
    Anyone else amused that Under Armour's founder and chief executive is named 'Plank'?
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #14
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    Posting this because the previous post wasn't sexy

    And athleisure is sexy, right?

    WHEN A LUXE LINGERIE BRAND STARTS MAKING ATHLEISURE, HERE’S WHAT THE SENSUAL PRODUCT LOOKS LIKE
    TAMIM ALNUWEIRI, DECEMBER 18, 2018


    Photo: Well+Good Creative

    Athleisure is no longer a niche within the retail market. Rather, it’s an omnipresent, ubiquitous sector that you’re as likely to find evidence of at Nike as you are at Gucci or Asos. Some would even say it’s high fashion’s next frontier. And now, it’s coming for your nether regions (well, kind of): Luxury lingerie brand Kiki de Montparnasse is now expanding into athleisure and activewear.

    The collection, which debuted yesterday, WWD reports, is currently four items strong: leggings, bike shorts, a workout bralette, and a sports bra crop top. Each of the garments appears exactly as you’d expect (think: if lacy, silky lingerie underwent some kind of activewear transformation). The four pieces are only available in black, and all feature lace details for a general aesthetic that points to Kiki de Montparnasse’s signature style of sensuality. So basically, if you’re looking for the perfect getup for that luxe pole-dancing boutique fitness class you want to try out, consider it found.

    Previously, Kiki de Montparnasse was a brand I enjoyed from afar—I, personally, cannot justify spending $650 on an everyday dress (though I do dream). This collection, however, is priced in the good company of other higher-tier activewear brands, with all four items retailing in the neighborhood of $150.

    If you’re looking for the perfect getup for a luxe pole-dancing boutique fitness class, consider it found.

    And while the lace accents used throughout the pieces evoke the sexiness of the flirty lingerie signature to the brand, here the fabric offers a more functional effect: The lace used in the shorts, for example, is bi-stretch.

    And if this is just the first of many collections bridging the gap between lingerie and athleisure, I’m certainly not complaining. Fingers crossed that 2019 brings us functional everyday bralettes from our favorite activewear brands.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  15. #15
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    Posh

    Hold the phone...THIS is why she's not reuniting with the Spice Girls?!? Oh pish, Posh.


    Victoria Beckham Thinks Her Athleisure Line Is "Perfect" (It Is)

    LANDON PEOPLES
    JANUARY 23, 2019, 2:01 PM


    PHOTO: COURTESY OF REEBOK.

    If you were wondering if any female athletes inspired Victoria Beckham's latest venture, a foray into athletic-wear, you'd be hard pressed to get an answer. "No on in particular, really," she tells Refinery29. (She is Posh, after all.) But it's not necessarily a drawback to the collection that nearly sold out within 24 hours. Reebok x Victoria Beckham is, as with anything the celebrity designer gets her hands on, very much a product of her own vision. Beckham has long focused on creating clothes that empower women in their everyday lives; now, her line of trendy athletic-wear helps get them to and from the gym, too.
    Ranging from $30 to $300, the line is also inspired by Beckham's lives between her homes in Los Angeles and London. The mother of four (and wife to one of the world's most famous athletes) manages to work out an alleged two hours a day, so if you're wondering why the ready-to-wear expert is venturing into streetwear, it actually makes perfect sense. "As the collections go on, you'll see that we really are offering clothes for lots of different sports," she says. "I learned a lot from working with the technicians and the innovations team and what they predict will be cool in the sneaker realm, for example, and listening to their thoughts. There was an enormous amount to learn because I've never done anything like this before."
    You'll also find that most of the line is unisex, which is another first for Beckham — who has yet to try her hand at menswear. As for how she expects men to receive the line, which features a bomber jacket, a few long-sleeve T-shirts, and hoodies, she's not worried. "I think modern men would take that as a positive. It wouldn't bother them that it's a female designer. I want people to want to buy the clothes because it's great — not have anybody not want it because it's designed by a woman." We couldn't have said it better ourselves (and can't wait to get our hands on those track pants).
    In the shots ahead, photographed by Mario Sorrenti and styled by Alastair McKimm, you'll see exactly what Beckham means when she claims how "perfect" her first athleisure project turned out ("I was very specific about what I wanted. The attention to detail with every single piece was something that I was very hands-on with"). The British designer also promises at least two more drops with Reebok to come. Lastly, and maybe we should have led with this considering the offering has gone viral since its debut, head over to Reebok to shop the rest of the collection before it sells out.



    PHOTO: COURTESY OF REEBOK.
    Those are some skinny ass 'athletes'.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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