Bandier, one of activewear’s leaders, is extending its reach with a private label collection.
The multibrand retailer Bandier is launching its own We Over Me label exclusively through its own site and five freestanding stores, as well as via Net-a-porter.
Despite a blizzard of brands in the sport sector, more keep joining the fray. In its 2015 “Global Athleticwear: Very Bullish Five-Year Outlook,” Morgan Stanley Research estimated that the industry could bulk up by $83 billion in sales by 2020 or a gain of more than 30 percent.
Bandier chief executive officer Neil Boyarsky said the plan is to have a very limited distribution “for the foreseeable future.” This summer, the company intends to open a West Coast flagship in West Hollywood and another New York store in Noho later in the year. Bandier sells about 45 apparel brands. “We are a growing retailer. We definitely have always had a point of view from a fashion perspective on the market. We’ve been influential from a collaboration standpoint, and a driving force in a lot of the partnerships with the third-party brands we carry. This is a natural extension to really design to what we think is white space in the market,” he said.
Noting how the company’s employees “truly are our customers,” Boyarsky said Bandier aims to differentiate from a fit, fabric and fashion standpoint. The in-house team tackles wear-testing too, having tried out 50 variations of its private label leggings.
With 40 brands — Nike, Tory Burch Sport and AdidasOriginals among them — sold in Net-a-porter’s “Sporter” category, global buying director Elizabeth von der Goltz described the category as “very strong” with ski being “massively successful.” She said, “We want to speak to our woman for all the parts of her lives. Obviously, you’re not only going to parties or to work. This wellness, experiential lifestyle has become a much more important part of everyone’s lives whether that’s yoga classes, running, SoulCycle, skiing or all those things. But we look at it from a much more fashion viewpoint. We’re not just going to buy activewear.”
Bandier’s 11-piece We Over Me styles fit the bill, due partially to the color palette and feel of the fabric. So much so that Net-a-porter decided to commit earlier than planned in time for a Wellness Weekend in Palm Springs, Calif. We Over Me will be among the emerging brands Net-a-porter plans to introduce to 12 global fashion influencers who will be hosting at Sparrows Lodge starting today. The fact that Bandier has its own stores and on-site classes gives the company a real understanding of athletic-leaning clients’ needs, von der Goltz said. “This collection came out of what they couldn’t find out in the market.”
A fan of Bandier’s store for a while, von der Goltz said, “I’ve always loved going to their store and looking at their edit. I thought they did an amazing job as far as the first place to really curate and edit activewear in a very cool fashion way.”
After connections were made and an informal meeting with founder Jennifer Bandier about 18 months ago, von der Goltz reconnected with the Bandier team when they suggested the prospect of a private label collection. “We decided that whenever they had anything to show us that I’d be there,” von der Goltz said. “And that’s how we started.”