Free People’s FP Movement has teamed with Olympic gymnast Suni Lee, along with professional golfer and long drive champion Troy Mullins and professional race car driver Toni Breidinger, for the brand’s Thanksgiving campaign and initiative with Girls Inc.
“The campaign is about highlighting these three incredible women in the fields they’re in and really focusing on the prep [that is necessary] in order to be great at something — as opposed to just saying, ‘Here’s an elite athlete,’” Jack Reynolds, chief marketing officer of Free People, told WWD. “That can sometimes diminish the achievability and the aspiration from others.
“These are all extraordinary athletes from different disciplines. But they all have a shared drive that we want to focus on that is relatable to everybody,” he continued. “We want to highlight the things we have in common, which are the training and the effort and the passion that goes into game day, whether that game day is on the Olympic stage or on your local run [or] walk. It’s the effort that goes into that elegance that we want to highlight.”
In addition, Reynolds said FP Movement, Free People’s activewear subbrand that launched in 2014, wanted to work with Lee because she represents the label’s overall sensibilities of fitness, wellness and happiness.
“We always look for somebody that can embody all three,” he explained. “And Suni certainly does that. We all know what she did in Tokyo. We know what level of athlete she is. And while her athleticism can stand on its own, we were really drawn to the heart that she showed and the respect for her teammates.”
Lee, “a really longtime fan of Free People,” said she’s equally pleased to partner with the brand.
“I always wear Free People to, like, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ workouts, or even when I go and practice gymnastics,” she said. “Or if I’m just working out in general. And then I always just wear it around the house, because it’s so comfortable.”
Free People has been partnering with Girls Inc., a nonprofit that supports girls ages five to 18 in cities across North America, since 2016. To date, the brand has donated more than $1 million to the nonprofit. This year, Free People is continuing its support of Girls Inc. by contributing 1 percent of proceeds from FP Movement, excluding swimwear, to the charity. In addition, 100 percent of proceeds purchased on Thanksgiving Day from FP Movement, excluding swimwear, will be donated to Girls Inc.
The FP Movement Thanksgiving campaign will be broadcast across FP Movement’s site, social media channels and customer emails, as well as to Lee, Mullins and Breidinger’s personal social media accounts. In addition, the campaign and images of the three female athletes will be featured in print media outlets in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Texas the week of Thanksgiving
Meanwhile, both Free People and FP Movement, which are owned by Urban Outfitters Inc., continue to grow. In the most recent quarter, the Free People Group, which consists of both the Free People ready-to-wear and innerwear collections and FP Movement activewear, registered nearly $250 million in revenues, up from $178 million a year earlier.
FP Movement opened its first stand-alone brick-and-mortar store in 2020. Currently there are 17 FP Movement stores, including an Austin, Texas, location that is set to open at the end of the month and will include the first FP Movement Studio, where Free People customers can take classes while shopping the FP Movement collections.
“We’ve had a lot of fun building FP Movement from an activewear category into a brand of its own and with stores of its own and we’re keen on continuing to establish ourselves as a strong activewear brand,” the Free People executive said. “The ambition that we have for FP Movement is that it can be as big as — if not larger — than Free People collections. But we are by no means [eliminating] the collections side of things. That’s a very, very key part of the Free People brand.
“We’re excited to see how many existing Free People customers we can continue to introduce to FP Movement and have them embrace that more,” Reynolds continued. “But also, driving in a new customer who may not have been a traditional customer for us with the store expansions. We definitely know that our product is there — we differentiate ourselves in terms of style and color, without sacrificing performance — and we’re well positioned at this intersection of fashion and function.”