Solid & Striped is the latest brand to enter the activewear games.
“Active as a category was sort of a natural extension for the brand,” Sarah Landman, Solid & Striped’s chief executive officer, told WWD. “We’ve sort of become known as a swimwear brand, but always set out to be a vacation and leisure lifestyle brand. We just want to do it thoughtfully and strategically and not rush through anything.”
Solid & Striped might seem late to the activewear game, considering there are so many players already in the market, many of whom entered during lockdown and the current activewear boom. But Landman said the decision to offer athletic apparel was made pre-pandemic.
“We’ve actually been working on launching the category for close to two years now,” Landman said. “As the world has evolved, active is such an important part of everyone’s lifestyle, whether they’re wearing it as a functional item to actually work out in, or just to run around in, it’s a critical part of the wardrobe now. And so I think for us not to offer it, it’s a huge miss and we wouldn’t be fulfilling the idea of really offering something for every part of the customers’ day.
“I do think the activewear market is saturated, but I also think there is room to grow,” she added. “I think we have put our spin on active. It looks fresh and different. The goal is to really grow our demographic and not just dress the twentysomething, but as her life evolves and her needs change, to continue to follow her and fulfill those needs.”
One way the brand is growing is by testing out new categories through collaborations, including ones with Lele Sadoughi, Freedom Moses and Bandier. Last year’s limited-edition capsule collection with Bandier helped Solid & Striped learn the in’s and out’s of fit, fabrication, supply chains and sourcing in the active category.
“It was a small collaboration in terms of depth,” Landman said. “We didn’t want to overinvest because we just don’t know what the climate would be when we had to commit. But performance was really strong. It surpassed past a lot of our other collaborations from a sell-through perspective.”
Bandier will continue to work with the brand for its Sport collection as its production and distribution partner. But this is Solid & Striped’s first stand-alone activewear collection.
The 12-piece assortment, which ranges in size from XXS to XXL, includes sports bras, bike shorts and leggings, among other items. Prices start at $78 and go up to $128. Consumers can shop the collection at Solid & Striped’s stores and its website, in addition to select retail partners, including Bandier, Shopbop, Intermix and Bloomingdale’s.
Meanwhile, the entire Solid & Striped ecosystem continues to grow. Last December, the company, which is about 60 percent direct-to-consumer, 40 percent wholesale, launched a pop-up shop in West Palm Beach, Fla., which runs through May.
Landman said 2021’s first-quarter direct channel sales in the South Florida market are up 250 percent over 2020’s first quarter, the period before the coronavirus and lockdown reached the U.S.
“The Florida market continues to be an amazing opportunity for us,” she said. “The growth there is phenomenal.”
Solid & Striped has also recently launched a pop-up in Miami and Landman said the brand is considering additional pop-ups this summer in places like New York City, the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Nantucket, Mass.
And, she added, that as vaccines roll out and the weather warms up — and more and more consumers begin to feel comfortable again traveling — she’s optimistic for the future.
“Travel certainly has a direct impact on our business,” Landman said. “And we’re off to a fantastic start to the year. We’re seeing sales [in the first quarter of 2021] outperformed 2019. People are ready to travel again and to shop again and we’re seeing that directly through our sales.”