By and  on March 30, 2006

NEW YORK — A fresh crop of brands is looking for space in the $16.2 billion women's activewear arena.

While the sector is dominated by global players such as Nike and Adidas, and chain stores like The Sports Authority and Foot Locker, small and newer labels are searching for space in alternate venues, including spas, yoga studios and health clubs, all of which have been building their apparel businesses. Health club Equinox Fitness, for example, has 33 boutiques stocking fashion brands such as Michael Stars and Velvet alongside Adidas, Sugoi and other activewear labels.

Many of the newcomers are also designed as athletic leisure brands that can transition for activities outside of the gym. The sector as a whole has been on an upward trend. Wholesale shipments of sports apparel rose by 9 percent to $26.1 billion in 2005, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

"What's significant is that consumers purchased more units of sports apparel and paid more for them," the SGMA said in a report on 2005 sales.

Here, a roundup of some new and relaunched labels from around the U.S. joining the action this season.

Amma
Women's activewear label Amma is being revived for spring under new ownership.

The brand name was bought late last year by garment industry veterans Richard Cohen and Dennis Spitalnick. They acquired the label for about $1 million as part of an asset purchase from Jorge Santos, who had run the company out of Miami for about six years until last spring. Cohen and Spitalnick have set up a new company, Derian Apparel, to oversee Amma and have updated the brand with new silhouettes and styles.

"This line is designed now for an upscale and sophisticated customer," Cohen said. "It's yoga-inspired, but can be worn for a variety of activities."

The line has a clean look and features a few silhouettes that are available in different colors. There are about 18 items in the initial spring collection, including tank tops and zip-up jackets in bright colors such as pink, purple and teal.

The bottoms are available primarily in black and there are a few different bodies. The line ranges in wholesale price from about $22 for some tank tops to bottoms for $32 to $35 and jackets at $42.

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