However oxymoronic outdoor apparel may sound, brands of all shapes and sizes continue to step into the sector.
The global outdoor apparel market is expected to increase to $3.9 billion by 2023, and is projecting a compound annual growth rate of 5 percent during that forecast period. While established brands like L.L. Bean and Patagonia have seen robust sales during the pandemic, more mainstream brands have edged into the category.
The new Wrangler collection has styles with such features as UPF protection, wicking, water repellency and quick dry properties and high-back waistbands for unrestricted movement. This isn’t entirely new terrain for Wrangler, which has offered ATG for men and boys.
Wrangler’s vice president and general manager Jenni Broyles said the introduction of the women’s collection was driven by the success of the men’s line, the strength of the outdoor category and “women’s desire to be outdoors.” Declining to comment on sales projections, she said the distribution could lead to new channels like the mass market, sport or outdoor specialty retailers in general and mid-tier stores. The men’s ATG, which launched in late 2019, is offered at Target, Broyles noted.
As for what the athleisure rollout means to Wrangler’s denim business, she described the latter as “strong and healthy” and the brand’s foundation, calling the former as “a complementary category.”
The women’s ATG x Wrangler collection, which includes an anorak, pocket T-shirt, cargo leggings and other active-friendly designs, is meant to be moderately priced. Retail prices range from $19.99 to $109.99.
While outdoor conjures up images of kayaking, ice climbing and backcountry skiing for some, Wrangler sees it first and foremost as “our chance to really build this connection to wide opens spaces, which is obviously very relevant for the Wrangler brand. Outdoor in general has been an increasing trend and we’re leaning into that trend, as more and more people are trying to get outdoors and be outdoors. For us, that’s everything from open ranges to sprawling farms. We’ve always been connected to the land. For us, a fundamental part of our lifestyle has always been about this kind of outdoors. This is a natural way for us to kind of connect to that.” Broyles said.
She added that outdoors could involve doing activities “like hiking, fishing, or a soccer mom going to a ballgame and wanting to have that versatile product that allows her to move through her day throughout all of her different activities.” For those and other purposes, Wrangler has designed the “Trail Jogger,” “Athletic Style Trail Short,” and “Cargo Boot Stretch Pant,” among other styles.
The ATG by Wrangler assortment is offered in inclusive sizing from small to extra-extra large, and 4 to 20 for tops, bottoms and outerwear. The outdoor offerings are being sold in stores and online.
Playing up the label’s versatility and affordability, Broyles said that combination is not always easy to find in the outdoor category. Making the collection available to everyone is what makes it unique, she said. “It’s product that does allow anyone to have innovative, highly functional outdoor gear at a price point that is accessible,” Broyles said, noting features like convertibility and four-way stretch fabrics.
In terms of the sustainability factor, before any piece of clothing is made every decision that executives weigh in on “starts with respect for the planet and people,” Broyles said. ATG by Wrangler products are made from recycled polyester and many have sustainable materials like organic cotton. “Sustainability is built into every product that we make as a brand so we’ve taken an extra effort to make sure that is the case with ATG by Wrangler.”