Under Armour Looks for Growth in Athletic-Inspired Sportswear Trend

Under Armour Announces New UAS Line

Under Armour launches their newest initiative, UAS or Under Armour Sportswear September 15, at New York Fashion Week for immediate sale at Barney’s, Mr. Porter, their own brick and mortar stores and a dedicated UAS website. This upscale, fashion sportswear product is anything, but performance athletic apparel. The athletic-inspired clothing is targeting “ambitious Millennials” with “modern American sportswear, at home in a professional work place and not on the field.

UAS Under Armour Sportswear

Photo credit Under Armour

Why UAS Makes Sense for Under Armour

Some people may be scratching their heads over this move into sportswear, but it makes perfect sense for a several reasons.

In 1997, Under Armour was a pioneer that introduced expensive, fashion performance apparel to a market used to activewear as thoughtless, cheap basics from footwear companies. They were the first major aspirational athletic brand for men, as Lululemon was for women.

Under Armour created an athletic brand that sold strength, prowess and status in the mind of the wearer and by the way, sold comfortable, performance apparel. Fashion branding is about stirring emotion and they have been squarely in the fashion business, since the beginning. They upped the ante on the whole men’s athletic market.

Under Armour is an epic brand, at a time when it is getting harder to achieve mega-status in a niche-driven, individualist market. The appeal of their brand gives them license to branch out into other categories and price points, upscale, technically-inspired sportswear being one.

Consumers started wearing the higher quality, more stylish and comfortable clothing out of the gym. The use of performance fabrics and athletic details in everyday sportswear has been gaining steam for a while, as a natural extension of this trend.

The market is overflowing with spandex blended fabrics, polyester is no longer considered “low-rent”, performance properties abound and even merino wool has been “recast” as a technical fabric. Apparel startups Kit and Ace (former Lululemon founders) and Ministry (former MIT students) are two examples of this major trend. The new Van Heusen Flex Collection is selling comfort and technical properties to the men’s moderate wear-to-work market.

Sportswear is being inspired by athletic apparel and is experiencing a huge disruptive change to the look, feel and function of these categories.

UAS Under Armour Sportswear for men and women

Photo credit Under Armour

The Athletic Apparel Market Is Extremely Competitive

For more than a decade now athletic apparel has been the big growth story in a lack-luster apparel industry. Athletic startups and existing brand extensions have exploded. There is much less breathing room in the active market right now. Either you innovate, take risks, extend your brand in new categories or stagnate, shrink or die. Puma, Adidas and Nike are all responding to this market shift with collaborations and extensions.

This market explosion has blurred the lines of distribution away from sporting goods to all retail channels, not good news for apparel-dominated sporting goods stores.

Under Armour was born from apparel lineage, so it is an easier transition for them. Many strong athletic footwear or sporting goods brands have yet to even capitalize on the seismic shift that happened in active lifestyle apparel. They are missing a great opportunity and do this at their peril. UAS has now gone beyond athleisure to sportswear.

UAS won’t be Under Armour’s biggest initiative simply because of price points, certainly not the huge opportunity of their new moderate distribution to stores like Kohl’s; but it will allow them to capture the imaginations and wallets of new customers.

 

Some other posts you might enjoy:

Decoding Millennial Shopping Traits & Habits

Are Sporting Goods & Outdoor in a Death Spiral?

7 Common Fashion Brand Management Mistakes

The Dix & Pond Blog, by Stephanie Bernier is the blog of  Dix & Pond Consulting, a Boston-based, company that consults on business strategy, creative direction, brand experience, trends, product development and merchandising. Clients include retailers, apparel, footwear & consumer companies.  CONTACT US TODAY! 

Thank you for sharing with a friend, if you enjoyed the post! 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Vintage & Novelty Denim Trending For Fall 2015

For fall 2015, there is a resurgence in denim, the all-American fashion staple. Novelty jeans, new silhouettes and denim-related, casual dressing are refreshingly new again. I call this fashion trend “American Vintage”.

We never quite fall out of love with denim. After several years of down-trending due to the growth of athleisure, jean sales are starting to perk up again. Surely women will not drop their comfy activewear bottoms for good, however. They have become staples in and out of the gym, with fashion brands offering a wide range of comfortable knit and woven gym pants, way beyond basic yoga pants and leggings.

Also, polyester/spandex pants are practically indestructible, but women’s wardrobes may be reaching critical mass with these long-lasting pants, just as they were with high-quality, premium denim jeans.

Flares, ripped, handcrafted and vintage denim looks are trending for fall 2015.

Flares, ripped, handcrafted and vintage denim looks are trending for fall 2015.

The return of the flare bottom and higher-rise waists, as well as novelty handcrafted, patchworked, ripped, distressed and embellished denim, is giving women new reasons to buy jeans again, after years of skinny jean dominance. I particularly like jeans from Frame, Rag and Bone, RtA Denim and Current Elliott. Flares will gain steam going into 2016.

Look for easy tees, plaid shirts, romantic tops, chambray and denim shirts. Retro vulcanized sneakers and high-tops complement the vintage vibe. The palette is a classic range of washed blues, khaki and whites.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies and retail analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post!

Flaming Hot – Warm Color Trend in Home & Fashion

Go from the frying pan into the fire. Flaming hot maraschino, tomato, mandarin and pumpkin colors are trending in home décor and fashion accessories for fall 2015. These in-your-face, sizzling shades are creating fashion flare-ups everywhere they go.

This powerful fall color trend is best used in small does for maximum effect. In home furnishings warm, bright colors are on pillows, sheets, towels, lamps, rugs, vases, tabletop, etc. They add a playful pop and seasonal update to neutral rooms and tablescapes. They look especially good when paired with greys. clean white and navy.

Warm colors add serious pop to home décor and fall 2015 fashion.

Warm colors add serious pop to home décor and fall 2015 fashion.

Hot, bright colors say uber-sexy or athletic, like no others, on fashion accessories or apparel. A red-hot handbag, pair of shoes, lingerie, dress, puffer, jean, top or nail color has the power to steal scenes. Again, restraint is key here, overdoing can send you down in fashion flames. Pair best with neutrals, denim, navy and black.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for apparel, footwear, home & consumer products companies and retail analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post!

Top Women’s Casual Shoe Trends for Fall 2015

The Top Casual Women's Footwear Trends For Fall 2015

CLICK THE PHOTO TO SEE THE SLIDE SHOW

THE TOP WOMEN’S CASUAL FOOTWEAR TRENDS                 

There are five big trends in women’s casual footwear for fall 2015. Look for strong athletic inspiration, vintage looks, under-construction, simple styling, ultra-comfort and the contrast of glamour with sportiness.

Vintage Sport: Simple, vintage, vulcanized shoes continue to be a strong trend for fall 2015. Look for hipster sneakers, slip-ons, boxing and basket ball styles, as well as rubber soles on leather-upper boots and shoes. These under-constructed, athletic-inspired shoes pair with skinny, boyfriend jeans, skirts and athletic pants.

Seventies Bohemian: Under-constructed, hippie sandals and boots complement the retro, seventies, bohemian, fashion trend. There is a resurgence of suede, tan leathers, cork, stacked heels, lug soles, chukkas, ankle boots, sherpa and fringe details. Reemerging flared jeans require higher-heeled boots, sandals and shoes.

Easy Living: Comfort is a mega-trend in casual shoes. Soft, bend and stretch ballerinas, slip-ons, lace-free styles, brogues with rubber soles and driving moccasins, in a range of colors, patterns and materials are endlessly wearable for work and on the weekends.

Looking Sharp: Very pointed toes emerge in women’s ballet flats, Mary Janes, loafers, menswear looks, booties and lace-ups in suedes, patterns, metallic, rustic and patent leathers. These pair well with pants, short skirts and jeans.

Glam Sport:  Sport shoes go glamorous. Sneakers, loafers and shoes with rubber bottoms get a serious dose of cosmopolitan in metallic, patent leathers and edgy details. These pair well with urban minimalist and athletic looks.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SLIDE SHOW

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for retail, apparel, footwear & consumer products companies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post!

Twelve Hot Design Trends in Athletic Apparel

If you still think of women’s active apparel as polar fleece and half-zip poly jackets you’re living in a time warp. Fashion athletic apparel has disrupted and blurred casual lifestyle apparel, like Uber has to transportation. We aren’t going back to formulaic tees and jeans any time soon, as the dominant uniform of women’s weekend casual.

This seismic shift started when market disruptor Lululemon questioned the assumptions that women didn’t want fashion and were not willing to pay for style, comfort and quality in athletic apparel. Until then women’s activewear was an identical twin to men’s, in equally dismal fabrics and devoid of fashion. Under Armour began pushing the envelope in men’s at the same time as Lululemon. Both of these innovative brands were born from a fashion point-of-view, not the footwear industry that used to drive the category.

Dix & Pond Athletic Apparel Trends

Athleisure was born. Women have adopted the fashion, quality performance fabrics and comfort to wear in and out of the gym, at the expense of the traditional jeans and tee businesses.

As one of  the few bright spots in women’s apparel, competition is rising dramatically. Everyone is getting into the game. Athleta, Gap’s active division has elevated themselves from dated “new-age” California looks to a more urban vibe with a wide range of lifestyle items. Tory Burch, Kate Spade and many startup brands have entered the game. The competitive stakes are much higher now, and only “brand relevant” innovators will win. If your company is following, not innovating, your going to feel the squeeze.

Here are twelve significant trends in women’s athletic apparel design. Did your company see them coming?

Sheer madness. Sheer insets and translucent fabrics add cool functionality and peek-a-boo sex appeal, to everything from tops, legging to outerwear.

Under & over. Highly-evolved sports bras are a key classification to be worn layered and alone. Matching “no-show” undies from leaders such as Lululemon, Under Armour, Moving Comfort and others complete the look.

Self reflection. Playful and highly creative, reflective detailing adds function and fun-factor, to all categories of running apparel.

Printed matters. Hip, urban, abstract and geometric prints are driving legging, capris and short sales. Spiritual, “zen-like” yoga wear prints are now soooo 2010.

Back story. Naughty or nice? Back interest…cut outs, layering, lingerie detailing, halters and criss-cross backs, have been heating up top sales.

Booty call. Design and functional back details and shorts are the ultimate “booty call” and driving bottom sales.

Town down. Regular and micro down filled outerwear vests, parkas, anoraks and baseball jackets are ubiquitous and go uptown in styling. Try this, count how many Barbour, Canada Goose and Moncler jackets you see in 30 minutes on an East Coast city street on a December day.

Dress up. One piece ease and comfort, knit dresses are layered over gym clothes, swimwear or worn alone. This hot category is the ultimate multi-tasker from gym to street.

Metro techno. Unique knit and woven technical fabrics with performance properties such as SPF 50, wicking, anti-stink, water resistance, etc. are used in fashion forward, modern styling. Outerwear is a stand-out category, in new fabrications.

Short & sweet. Short-shorts, boy shorts, gym and bikes shorts layered and worn solo are driving sweet sales.

Walk the talk. Graphic typography plays to the mega-trend for self-expression and individualism. Edgy, motivational and descriptive words, quotes and sayings are on tees, tops, jackets and bottoms.

Tony trousers. The market has gone way beyond yoga pants and leggings to drawstring gym pants, knit jeans and “city pants” in comfortable and durable functional knits and techno wovens.

How did your company do?

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting, Boston-based, product development, creative, branding, business consulting and executive coaching for retail, apparel, footwear & consumer products companies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Thank you for liking and sharing this if you enjoyed the post!

Caged Animals – Gladiator Shoes

Act out your best warrior, bondage, bohemian and dominatrix fantasies. Take a walk on the wild side. Very few shoes have the power to transform the wearer and “blow-the-mind” of the observer to the extent, of the the “Caged Animal” gladiators for 2015. This badass shoe trend proves it’s good to be bad!

Gladiator sandals are white-hot for 2015.

Gladiator sandals are white-hot for 2015.

Sexy caged sandals, pumps and wedges come in a variety of leathers, suedes and metallics. Look for powerful details like studding, zippers, tassels, ties and athletic bottoms. Radical fashion trends like knee-high gladiators, are burning white-hot and will give birth to tamer versions for the masses in 2016. Wear them with shorts, skirts and culottes.

These shoes are scene stealers. Keep everything else minimal for maximum impact.

Some of the best are from Chanel, Ancient Greek Sandals, Stuart Weitzman, Valentino, Christian Louboutin, Sam Edelman, Free People, Michael Kors, BCBG, Joie, many others including the athle-chic, innovative Lunarsandiator Sky Hi from Nike!

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Hot Shots – Warm Up to Summer 2015

Warm up to the sexy, sultry colors of spring/summer 2015 in endless shades of coral, pink, orange and red. These uber-feminine shades make scene stealers out of life’s understudies. This fashion trend is what impulse purchases and standing o’s are made of.

Warm colors are trending for spring/summer 2015.

Warm colors are trending for spring/summer 2015.

Hot shots of color take center stage on dresses, tops, jeans, active, swimwear, lingerie, shoes, sandals, handbags and accessories. They look especially modern paired in tonal combinations, accented with white or light neutral browns, to avoid an epic sugar rush.

Most notable shades are impatien coral, ripe tomato, begonia, juicy pink and blush. Expect this salable color trend to do an encore in 2016 apparel and footwear collections.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Street Smarts – Red Hot Athletic Style

It is survival of the fittest in the urban jungle. Fitness is power. Women are increasingly turning to power workouts such as CrossFit, strength training and boxing. There is also an empowering trend in athletic apparel. It is urban inspired, edgy and sexy. I call it Street Smarts.

The lines are blurred between what was once strictly apparel for the gym and casual sportswear. Men and women are mixing the two in a sporty mélange that goes in and out of the gym. “Athleisure” is the new normal in casual; because it is comfortable, durable and empowering. Lululemon and Under Armour were the birth parents, but now it’s pervasive.

Edgy, urban styling is trending in athletic apparel.

Edgy, urban styling is trending in athletic apparel.

Street Smarts mixes lounging tomboy with hormone-charged bad girl. It is feminine and masculine. Think retro boxing gym.

Body conscious leggings and comfy sweats are the key bottoms. Look for “townie bad boy” outerwear like hoodies and baseball jackets. Important details on tops are radical back interest, sheer and mesh insets. Knit dresses are a key element of Street Smarts worn with leggings. Neoprene, metallics and zipper details add a structured, modern city touch.

Graphics include assertive text and smoky abstract prints. Footwear includes high-top and retro sneakers and combat boots, such as Dr. Marten’s. Backpacks, retro gym bags, baseball caps and headbands complete the look.

The color is grounded by sooty black, heather greys and white, but can be popped with an extroverted color like hot pink or citrine or softened with a pastel like blush or lilac.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

A Letter To Mickey Drexler – What Happened To J.Crew?

Dear Mickey,

We need to talk. I thought you were “the one”. I consider myself a classic girl, the type you can bring home to mother, with an individualist fashion sensibility. After a very long loving relationship with J. Crew, I feel we’re drifting apart. You showed me the love, always wanted to please and surprise me. I gave you loads of attention and spent a lot of money on you. Lately our relationship has gotten repetitive, lost its color and doesn’t fulfill my needs. I’m not faithful to you anymore. Let me be specific on where our relationship lost its way:

1. You missed the athleisure trend. No, I don’t do downward dogs, but am very active at 2 gyms. I have blurred the lines between gym clothes and ones “formerly known as casual” in my wardrobe. Lately, I’m tired of shapeless cotton tees, that get little holes at the waist. I’m buying more substantial, expensive, inventive and sexy athletic tops for everyday use. You continue pushing twill cropped pants, when I am buying knit pants that look like jeans and sweats. I’ve never seen a comfortable knit dress in J.Crew.

I had a big crush on Lululemon, but find myself stalking a new love named Athleta. I’m loving athletic inspired outerwear, too. Who would have thought 2 years ago, I would buy a $500 leather/French terry moto jacket from my new crush?

Great outerwear is dominating athleisure apparel.

Great outerwear is dominating athleisure apparel.

You are the master of the casual playlist, taking classic pieces and pairing them in a hipper way. Somehow you missed the macro trend of mixing quality sport-inspired items into one’s everyday wardrobe.

2. You used take me on quality dates. Lately, you seem to be cheaping out, taking me to “fast-fashion ” places. I would rather pay more for a good meal. Why did the fabric qualities go down hill? I’d rather pay $98 at Lululemon for a relationship that will last, than $58 for a quick hook-up.

J. Crew stores lost the sharp focus of Madewell and became cluttered with junk food. Are you distracted by the Zara and Forever 21 effect? They aren’t your competition.

3. I thought you loved tall girls? Many of your clothes don’t fit me. I’m on the tall side (5’9″) and physically fit. Many of your specs are either too short or cut really small. Your customers aren’t all 24, 5′ 4″ and a size 0.

4. You don’t give me the attention you used to. I would never “trash” your catalogs, and always took your calls. The catalogs arouse me, causing emotionally driven online behavior. I would always buy more than needed. I get fewer catalogs now, so you  stopped “playing me” with your enticing images.

A look from J Crew for Spring 2015.

A look from J Crew for Spring 2015.

5.  Something changed. I trusted you to color my world. Some of the colors got very repetitive and harshly un-wearable. Dirty ochre anyone?

Mickey, I will never forget the good times. I’m definitely willing to give us another chance. I think about you often and still drive by your house. I need you to be the reliable source for key items like tees, shirts and sweaters, but mixed with more exciting quality pieces. You have a special place in the mall. You just got in with the wrong crowd.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Blue Color Worker Spring/Summer 2015

Looking at 25″ of snow outside, I’m big-time craving the blue skies of spring and summer 2015. One consolation is that we will be seeing a lot of blue in fashion over the next few months. The “Blue Color Worker” is the backbone of America in deepest navy, Air Force blue, royal, periwinkle, tender baby and blue tint.

The perennial favorite color will be front and center in fashion on everything from handbags, tops, sweaters, dresses, jeans, outerwear, active apparel, accessories, swimwear, shoes, etc. There will be a range of denim washes from light to very dark as well as solid dyed twills.

As MVP of the color spectrum, it can morph sharply nautical, softly sensual or boho seventies. Versatile blue is a power player, the king of casual and an intoxicating pastel.

Pair blues tonally or use navy as a neutral foil against bright primaries, such as navy and citrusy yellow. Navy with tinted pastels are chic and sexy. Combine the spectrum of blues with shades of grey, khaki or optic white.

Blue is the hardest working color family for spring/summer 2015.

Blue is the hardest working color family for spring/summer 2015.

For color seasonal color forecasts, see COLORSCOOP.

 Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: