Roxy, the $770 million junior brand from board sport behemoth Quiksilver, is getting physical with a new activewear line called Roxy Athletix launching for the summer.

This story first appeared in the May 13, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

With the first shipment hitting stores on May 25, Roxy Athletix aims to appeal to a sporty, but style-conscious college student with flashes of fluorescent tints, low-riding shorts and color-blocked prints. Joining Gap and Michael Stars, the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company is the latest player pushing fashion in a competitive athletic market dominated by giants such as Nike, Adidas and Puma.

The concept for Roxy Athletix was hatched 18 months ago when its marketing team surveyed more than 900 women between the ages of 12 and 24 to learn which new category the customers wanted to see Roxy enter.

“The response to that question — and their voting for fitnesswear — was above and beyond,” said Kenna Florie, vice president of marketing at Roxy. “It was a revelation. The girls clearly want it.”

Bright, playful colors also ranked high on the wish lists of customers. Holly Dorrell, senior designer of Roxy Athletix, referred to the same palette used by her counterparts designing sportswear, bikinis and snowboarding jackets. In addition to lime green, fluorescent pink, coral and canary yellow, Dorrell splashed sporty stripes, oversize prints of flowers mixed with geometric shapes and contrasting blocks of color all over the 26 styles, ranging from tanks with cutout backs and built-in bras to Capris and running shorts whose waistbands could be rolled up or down.

To ensure a better fit, most of the fabrics are cut from a polyester-Lycra blend, with some offering added benefits such as ultraviolet sun protection and bonded seams to minimize skin abrasion.

“The goal was for us to have our girls feel comfortable in everything [and] make her feel like she wants to work out,” Dorrell said.

Wholesaling from $9 to $38, Roxy Athletix’s debut collection focuses on base layers, with more than half comprising bras and tops. The company will offer four collections each year, making two deliveries a season. Roxy declined to forecast first-year sales projections for the activewear, which will be sold at its freestanding stores and through wholesale accounts, including Sport Chalet, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Huntington Surf & Sport and Jack’s Surfboards.

To promote the subbrand, Roxy will launch a marketing campaign featuring some of its sponsored female athletes — surfer Kassia Meador, skier Sarah Burke and snowboarders Torah Bright and Lisa Sheldon — in August issues of Teen Vogue, Seventeen and Lucky. Photographed by Chris Craymer, the ads depict the four stretching in the sunlight and sprinting on the sand at Laguna Beach, Calif.

“We are about athletes, but we are also about being outside and having fun with your girlfriends,” Florie said.