Athleisure wear: clothing, shoes, and accessories that can be worn for work, workouts, and leisure activities. The word and its definition are now established in popular culture. It’s yoga pants, stretch tops and tees, hoodies, lycra-wear of all kinds. It’s exercise gear that is increasingly worn everywhere, including the gym, yoga studio, and spa. And all the major clothing brands seem eager to be a part of it. In a recent article for the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/26/business/products-and-competition-stretch-market-for-athleisure-clothing.html?_r=0), author Hiroko Tabuchi reviewed the state of the athleisure industry in the first quarter of 2016. In the beginning, it seems, was Vancouver, Canada-based Lululemon and its stretchy yoga pants. The name is one to conjure with among other members of the athleisure industry on youtube.com; it operates no fewer than 354 stores around the world. But Nike, Adidas, Victoria’s Secret, Louis Vuitton, Gap, and Urban Outfitters are all current players, as well as many smaller retailers. They are marketing to a new kind of consumer, the person who is into a healthy, holistic lifestyle and who isn’t particularly concerned about being seen wearing the latest fashion trend. The athleisure market brought in $97 million in 2015, with lots of retailers wanting a share. The problem they face is finding a way to capture the consumer’s heart and loyalty.
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Fabletics on Pinterest
One athleisure purveyor currently rising to this challenge with great success is Fabletics, a subsidiary of JustFab, Like JustFab, Fabletics is an online subscription retailer offering its “VIP” membership discount prices on a monthly basis. Fabletics was co-founded in 2013 by actress Kate Hudson, who is actively involved in the selection of styles she loves and is proud to recommend. Fabletics’ online subscription service is quick, easy, and fun. When a customer signs up, she’s asked to take a short “quiz”; her answers allow the Fabletics team to create a style profile just for her. Every month, members receive specially selected outfits at discount prices; they can opt for that month’s offer if they like what they see, or skip that month. A customer can also shop the Fabletics site as a guest; she’ll have access to the great fashion choices there, but without the special discount prices.
Fabletics is going strong, with growing online membership, a men’s division launched in 2015, and now with six brick-and-mortar stores in cities across the U.S.A.
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