NEW YORK — Sporting goods companies of all stripes are moving from the playing field to the street for their coming collections.
While athletic firms have been steadily fusing function with fashion in the last few years, this fall and holiday may be the most fashionable yet, as a number of new lines from old-guard companies are taking the lifestyle route. In addition, a number of retro sport brands are staging a comeback with collections that build on their heritage.
Among the new developments this fall: Nike is launching a Michael Jordan women’s line with street-inspired looks, Fila is rolling out its Filativa line for younger customers and Puma is building up its fashion looks with a new footwear collection designed in conjunction with Alexander McQueen.
Adidas has found success with its heritage division that takes looks directly from its archives, as well as its fashion collaborations with Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto, while retro brands such as Le Coq Sportif, Lotto and Kappa are being relaunched.
Some wonder, however, whether the sport lifestyle arena is getting too crowded. The Adidas Missy Elliott collection, Respect M.E., which is part of the company’s heritage division, is being revamped after a slow start, company executives said. A number of other sport-inspired labels also have relaunched in recent years, including Fred Perry, Lacoste and Penguin, and many of those brands now compete with the more traditional sport lines.
Orna Amzaleg, co-owner of athletic footwear and apparel retailer Sportie L.A., said, “There is room for these brands as long as they do it right.”
She said her company has seen strong interest in track jackets from brands such as Hummel and Members Only, and looks from Italian sport companies such as Ellesse.
“People don’t want an entire head-to-toe look, though,” she said. “They like to pair track jackets with jeans. It gives these looks a fresh fashion spin.”
This story first appeared in the July 7, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.