Oh, Gap. Whither Gap? “Dress Normal” didn’t get their flagship brand anywhere; Piperlime’s days are numbered. Now the company is trying to position itself for the newly dawning Age of Athleisure, betting everybody will start defaulting to yoga pants and leggings.
BuzzFeed reports on Gap Inc’s efforts with Athleta, their fitness brand launched in 2008, which they’re attempting to grow into a major chunk of the company. But they’re not selling this shit simply under the assumption that everybody in America’s going to spin class twice a week. No, they’re hoping to sell to the type of customer who wants you to know she goes to spin class twice a week (even if she maybe doesn’t). Explained brand president Nancy Green:
“We are not just selling activewear, we are selling lifestyle products for a woman who is very fitness-oriented,” Green explains. “We deliberately have a much broader range so we can fill a much bigger percentage of her closet versus just what she’s going to wear to the yoga studio or just what she’s going to wear to go running.”
They like to call it “performance lifestyle.” For instance, the sort of pants you can wear while biking to work without changing once you arrive at your desk. And of course, if they can make some money off the customer who went to spin class one time six months ago and never went back but really loved those pants, that’s all good too. “This generation is growing up in yoga pants and activewear,” Green added. This is what Lululemon hath wrought, of course:
Lululemon’s IPO filing back in 2007 noted that founder Chip Wilson had observed “the increasing number of women participating in sports, and specifically yoga,” and saw a lack of style amid functional, comfortable athletic apparel. More importantly, the company believed that people were increasingly wearing technical athletic gear in casual settings “to create a healthy lifestyle perception.” In other words, it was becoming fashionable to give off the vibe, via clothing, that you were active and mindful — particularly among educated women. Whether you really were was another matter entirely.
Miss you already, denim.
Photo via AP Images.
Contact the author at email@example.com.