Athleisure is all the rage, and even brands that have long ignored the trend — or the new norm — are finally entering the category.
On Monday, 6-year old indie eyewear brand Krewe launched Krewe Active, an eight-style collection of sunglasses made for workouts and other active pursuits.
“We saw a huge opportunity in this white space in the market,” said Krewe founder and creative director Stirling Barrett. “We felt we could bring style and design to the active category, with [glasses] that had all the performance of traditional active eyewear, and could be worn from a high-intensity workout to lunch or any fashion-forward environment.”
The styles are 25% lighter than those in Krewe’s core collection, plus all feature polarized lenses, intended to block glare and reflection from outdoor surfaces, and materials made to grip the face with movement.
The brand is promoting its new category through digital ads and is currently featuring a homepage takeover of the campaign on its e-commerce site. Leading up to the launch, it used digital ads to drive to the site’s newly established Active page, where it collected email addresses of those wanting to be notified when the styles became shoppable. On Friday, Barrett said the brand had collected thousands of emails, and he had concerns about being able to meet demand.
Also this week, direct-to-consumer brand Ministry of Supply — which describes itself as a “performance professional” fashion company — tacked onto its offerings a new Built to Order program. Customers can now customize its men’s dress shirts and women’s dresses, personalizing features including length, size and color. Orders will be delivered in 10 days.
“[Our apparel] brings the performance function of athletic gear to garments off the trail and outside the gym,” said co-founder and CEO Aman Avanti. “We aim to produce clothing that can keep up with people during the 16-hour workday — from the commute to the boardroom to happy hour — and still look and feel great at the end of the day.”
According to NPD Group, athleisure is growing faster than any other apparel sub-category and will surpass $31 billion in sales by 2022. Recently, sneaker sales have boosted the bottom lines of brands from Sperry to Gucci, fashion companies known for Italian leather goods have shifted their focus to casual styles, and even makeup brands have launched lines that are being marketed as gym-perfect.
“The athleisure classification is a significant trend and will remain an important functional and fashion component in how people dress,” said Tim Ceci, founder and president of Tim Ceci Retail Consulting. “There are a number of brands that are successfully positioning themselves as athleisure, in terms of styling, function, fabrication and pricing, and they’re well-poised for continued growth. But as the athleisure market expands and matures, it will be about the careful dance in how they manage their merchandise assortment. In the competitive environment, factors including price, positioning, and balance of fashion pieces and basics will all come into play.” — Jill Manoff
Fashion’s sustainability report card
It seems that, in recent years, the fashion industry has begun taking sustainability more seriously. However, a new report from leadership forum Global Fashion Agenda, in partnership with Boston Consulting Group and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, found that while the fashion industry is making progress to cut back on practices that are harmful to the environment, change isn’t happening quite as fast as the insiders had planned.
Based on the Global Fashion Agenda’s Pulse Index, a measurement system tracking fashion brands’ sustainability goals and how those goals have been implemented industry-wide, progress has slowed year over year. In 2017, the fashion industry’s Pulse Index was up six points, but in 2018, it slowed by one-third, growing only four points. Markets with the most growth, in terms of sustainability, were small-size brands in the mid-price range and medium to large brands at the lower-price level, the report said.
According to the report, if the industry continues on this current path, it will not be able to comply with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, a plan to help reach a more sustainable future across industries by 2030.
– 40% of all fashion companies have yet to make any sustainability plans or set any targets for improvement
– 75% of consumers, across five countries, said sustainability is extremely or very important
– 50% of consumers said they plan to switch to brands that are more environmentally and socially friendly in the future
– 7% of consumers are looking at sustainability as the key factor for purchases — Katie Richards
Inside Net-a-Porter’s big bet on childrenswear
Early this year, Net-a-Porter made a splash when it launched childrenswear. Since then, the online fashion retailer has been hard at work recruiting more brands to sell kids’ clothes on the site, some of which have not done childrenswear before.
Clearly, the retailer is placing a lot of confidence in the potential of the luxury childrenswear market, which was expected to reach $6.6 billion in sales last year.
Sinje Lesemann, founder and creative director of womenswear brand Paradised, just launched her first kidswear collection on Net-a-Porter. She shared with me her thoughts on working with Net-a-Porter and the challenges of designing for kids. Some highlights are below.
“It was actually Net-a-Porter who approached us about doing a kids’ collection. They were planning ahead for the summer, and they came to us initially asking for just T-shirts and basics, but that evolved during our discussion to include jumpsuits and other cool stuff.”
“It’s as expensive to make kids’ [fashion] as it is adults’, even though the clothes are much smaller. Figuring out how to price it was hard: There’s a psychological component, where if something is too cheap, it loses some appeal. But also, these clothes are worn by kids who grow so fast, so you might not get too many wears out of them.”
“Kids’ is definitely the next frontier for us. Once you design for kids, it’s hard to go back, because it’s so cute and so fun. I think it’s going to be the next big thing for luxury fashion, in general, too.” — Danny Parisi
What we’ve covered this week
‘The novelty wears off’: How Ministry of Supply makes experiential retail pay off
“It’s not a retail apocalypse, it’s a commerce apocalypse; brands are falling off both online and offline. The difference in what’s working and what’s not isn’t about physical retail versus digital; it’s about thoughtful and intentional versus transactional and quick.”
‘It’s about making the brand more agile’: 100-year-old Haspel shifts to DTC
“We don’t want to show off a sweater and then tell people you can buy it in 18 months. We’ve gone away from the wholesale path and fully embraced DTC in the last two years for that reason. It’s a different selling cycle, but we are learning as we go.”
Cheat Sheet: How LVMH and Kering are going after Gen Z
“Due to the success of Fenty Beauty and Savage x Fenty, we can expect Rihanna to also disrupt the luxury market. Rihanna’s delivered on the necessity for inclusive sizing through lingerie, and there’s no doubt she’ll do the same within the luxury market.”