Actress and dancer Jenna Dewan is expanding her repertoire, teaming with Danskin to produce a Jenna Dewan x Danskin capsule collection.
It’s the first celebrity capsule for Danskin, the 136-year-old dance and activewear brand that’s owned by Iconix Brand Group.
The 37-year-old Dewan, who’s the host of “World of Dance,” began her career as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and starred in the 2006 movie “Step Up” with Channing Tatum, whom she married in 2009 and separated from earlier this year. She is also mother to five-year-old daughter, Everly.
Dewan, who is based in Los Angeles, explained that what attracted her to Danskin was her history with the brand. “I was wearing Danskin since my very first dance class. It was my very first leotard ever. The simple black class scoop neck leotard. I have worn it for years as a dancer. I really like the classic quality they have. When they approached me to work with them, I said ‘yes,’” she said.
Dewan became an ambassador for Danskin in 2016, and the relationship steadily grew. “Both of us have very similar visions for the company, for the line and the vision for what they create. It just felt authentic,” she said. She was the face of their fall 2016 and spring 2017 ad campaigns. “It was a perfect combination because I really believe in their vision, and they think I’m authentic to what they’re selling, and we had a great working relationship, very symbiotic,” she explained.
While Dewan has never designed anything before, she immersed herself in the process.
“It was such a fun process, picking the fabrics, the designs, the textures, the way it fits on the body. I love doing it,” she said. “It was a real collaboration. We started with an idea. I explained my inspiration, what I was hoping to see in the line. Danskin was very supportive, and immediately liked the vision I had for it. We had a couple of meetings, one in New York, one in L.A., going over everything with the designer, going over every seam, every line, every placement on the body, every cinch of the waist,” Dewan said.
Dewan said she’s been fortunate that her professional life often calls for dancing. “These days, I’m still dancing. I still get to pull out my dancing shoes. We just did a big performance on ‘World of Dance’ at the upfronts, and it’s also going to be in our finale episode. It’s like riding a bike. It’s always there for me, it doesn’t mean I don’t hurt afterward. I have these really great opportunities in my work lately to bring my dance shoes back out. I also take dance classes when I can, and it’s my favorite type of workout. I really try for a body-mind-soul connection and get to dance class when I can,” she said.
“I’m a pretty active person, I grew up that way,” she continued. “It’s second nature for me to want to be active. Because I have a crazy busy life, it’s about what I can squeeze in and when and where I do a lot of hiking, I do Pilates, I do spin class when I can. A dance class is a dream when I can make a dance class. I work out with a trainer. I feel better about myself when I’m active and putting energy toward feeling healthy and feeling strong,’ she said.
Jamie Cygielman, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of Iconix, said the company chose Jenna to design the collection for several reasons.
She said they were attracted to Dewan because Danskin has its roots in the world of dance, and that’s where Dewan’s roots are as well. “We’re 136 years young and Danskin started as a dance brand and we were always servicing the dance community, but the brand has evolved over the years to be so much more than that,” Cygielman said. “We really represent women’s health and wellness, and the brand has expanded to activewear, loungewear, sleepwear, intimates etc.” In addition to hosting “World of Dance,” she also does fitness videos on YouTube.
Cygielman also loved the fact that Dewan grew up wearing Danskin and now her young daughter wears Danskin, as well. She explained that dance is usually the first sport for girls, and the company does a lot of business on the girls’ side, going from 2 toddler up to sizes 7 to 14. “Our goal is to capture this young girl and take her through adulthood. With Jenna, it came full circle or her, having worn the brand as a young girl and having her own young child wearing the clothing as well, following in her mom’s footsteps. She lives the life we’re looking to portray here with Danskin,” Cygielman said.
According to Dewan, “I designed this line for active women who want to look comfortable and chic when they work out and go to dance class, but also transition to night with boots and a jacket and make it an outfit that can go to dinner. I’m very much always in leggings because I’ve worked out. I wanted to do a line that was comfortable and chic and also wearable. And something that feels good on the body. You feel comfortable and sexy in it, but also can be for multiple uses.”
Dewan tweaked many of the classic looks. “The leotard is a little different than Danskin’s line. It definitely has a little Jenna flair on it. There’s one with an interesting cutout, there’s one that’s quite low and sexier in the back. All the leotards are ready to dance in, they’re very appropriate for a dance class. It just has a little of an edge and a little sexy flair to it that will make it fresh and interesting,” she said.
Personally, she said, she likes a lot of the monochromatic colors. “I also went for nude, but also pops of colors, some fluorescent colors. There’s nudes, maroons, a rose gold pink, a pop of fluorescent orange. I really tried to design what I would want to wear and what my friends would like to wear,” she said.
She said she intentionally bypassed printed leggings. “I like printed leggings, but with this collection, it’s more solid colors. To me, it’s kind of about classics and staples in your closet. That you can keep season after season,” Dewan said.
The Jenna Dewan x Danskin capsule is a one-season deal. The line hits stores in October and will be sold on danskin.com and specialty stores. Wholesale prices range from $10 to $60. Danskin’s wholesale prices range from $10 to $40. Cygielman declined to reveal volume projections. The black label says Jenna Dewan x Danskin in rose gold lettering. Dewan will also appear in ads for this collection this fall. She’ll also be promoting the line of her social channels, where she has more than 8.3 million followers. It will also be promoted on Danskin’s social channels.
The line includes 16 pieces, including leggings, sports bras, bodysuits, unitards, leotards, tops, T-shirts, cropped hoodies and joggers.
Describing her favorite pieces, Dewan said, “I really love a catsuit that I designed that I’m really excited personally to wear. I think it’s very in at the moment. I’m excited to wear that with a cardigan and boots and go out. There’s a low back leotard that I’m excited to put on with jeans. There’s also a jogger pant and a cropped sweatshirt that I’m living in. It’s the most comfortable fabric, and I can see myself wearing it to the airport, around town, going to lunch, it’s just really versatile.”
She said she designed the capsule with certain criteria in mind. “I’m very particular about the type of fabric. I know what feels good on the body and can transition from the dance class to dinner and night out. We were pretty picky about certain fabrics and different feels to them. Every button and every snap was designed to look the chicest possible and also wearable. You can absolutely transition this from the gym to night out,” she said. Key fabrics are cotton/polyester jersey, polyester spandex with power mesh and soft fleece.
Turning to her acting career, Dewan said she’s on the third season of “World of Dance,” and is working on a movie coming out next year called “The Wedding Year,” a comedy with Sarah Hyland. She’s also started a production company called Everheart Productions, where they have several projects in the works. “It’s very busy over here, lots of irons in the fire,” she said.