Peloton and Other Fitness Brands Are Getting In on Athleisure Boom With Their Own Branded Apparel Lines
Having taken a few SoulCycle classes, we can adamantly declare that completing a spinning class is a badge of honor. As a result, we understand why people are constantly looking for ways to slyly drop the fact that they're avid SoulCycle enthusiasts. Perhaps that's the reason the fitness chain's trendy branded apparel has become the latest fashion statement, and other fitness companies, like Equinox and Peloton, are following suit. Or, it could be the fact that there seem to be unlimited growth opportunities in the marketplace.
According to Glossy, the athleisure market is predicted to hit $83 billion by 2020. To take advantage of this booming industry, fitness companies and gyms are teaming up with apparel companies to churn out fitness apparel collections.
Glossy first spotlighted Peloton's apparel moves, which included collaborations with brands like Rhone, Lululemon, Vuori and Solfire. The fitness company also created its own line of apparel under its brand label.
One of the company's most successful product launches has been a series of bags with the brad Oliver Thomas. The bags feature a RFID tag for tracking, trolley sleeves and a secret compartment.
Sue Fuller, the founder of Oliver Thomas, gave Glossy some insights on the design process.
“What we did was, instead of logo-slapping, we worked collaboratively with them,” said Fuller. “I told Jill the whole story of the brand, and she just said, ‘Yeah, let’s do something together.’ I interviewed a ton of Peloton users—I actually followed some of them around. I came back to them with these two bags made for someone who wants to work out, but is always connected. That’s what their customer needed, and it’s what I wanted to solve for them.”
Then there's SoulCycle—the mega-popular spinning studio that claims celebrities like Beyonce and Vanessa Hudgens as its loyal brethren. The company was the catalyst behind the fitness chain apparel boom. By 2017, it was releasing 40 to 60 new apparel styles each month. And this year, the company launched an in-house design team so it could produce all its apparel, rather than collaborating with Nike or Lululemon.
“Apparel has always been a part of what we do,” said Caroline Gogolak, vice president of retail at SoulCycle, according to Glossy. “Then, it evolved into these monthly collections. Then we finally built an in-house design team with people who have worked at Barneys and Victoria’s Secret. We built proper factories to manufacture our technical designs. We want to take SoulCycle and bring it outside of these four walls.”
The collection is so popular that it's even sold at Nordstrom.
Equinox, on the other hand, is going all in on the luxury partnerships. Last year the gym unveiled its Commitment collection, which featured designs from major fashion powerhouses like Virgil Abloh and Eckhaus Latta. The gym also has a rotating line of Nike and Lululemon designs that are available at gyms and retail locations.
Glossy pointed out that Equinox differs from the other fitness brands in its employee influencer marketing. The company depends on its employees' social media presences to promote the apparel, and as a result, their employees have become popular fitness social media brand ambassadors.
With athleisure continuing to dominate the promotional apparel world, it's no surprise that these brands are reaping the benefits. What's important to note, however, is that none of these companies are phoning it in. Rather than just slapping their logo on a T-shirt and calling it a day, they are teaming up with some of the biggest names in fashion to create must-have items. We already know the value of limited-edition merchandise, but these collaborations and periodic apparel drops are huge business opportunities for these companies.