Amid Athleisure Boom, Aerie Launches Activewear Offshoot

Ella Chochrek

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As athleisure continues to boom amid the pandemic, Aerie is getting into the activewear space.

The American Eagle Outfitters-owned brand today announced the launch of a new sub-brand called Offline by Aerie. The collection builds on the “growing success” of Aerie’s activewear and leggings, according to global brand president Jennifer Foyle. It includes over 250 pieces, with leggings, sports bras, biker shorts, fleece and accessories. Prices range from $15 to $65.

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“Health and wellness have always been at the core of Aerie’s mission as we’ve led the body positivity movement, inspiring and empowering women around the world to feel confident inside and out. Offline’s unique take on active lifestyle products celebrates real life when some days you feel like you can take on the world and other days you need that extra push to get off the couch,” Foyle said.

Offline by Aerie products are available to shop online beginning today. AEO plans to open two Offline brick-and-mortar stores by the end of the year but has not disclosed where the shops will be located.

While retailers have mostly been hit hard by the novel coronavirus outbreak, activewear has represented a rare bright spot as consumers swap their dresses and heels for leggings and sneakers. According to NPD Group, the activewear category generated $50.3 billion in sales for 2019, with men’s accounting for 51% market share and women’s at 49%.

“Traditional athletic brands continue to struggle at the expense of vertical brands,” said NPD SVP and sports industry advisor Matt Powell back in March of the growing momentum for non-athletic brands in the space. “To be successful, brands and retailers of all sizes must put a lot of resources behind women’s product. Making a sincere connection and understanding where she shops are also essential.”

A well-established brand in the intimates space, Aerie’s brand ethos has long centered on empowering women to feel confident even on their down days. Even the Offline logo celebrates imperfection, featuring a slanted “i” as a reminder that there’s “no straight path to the finish line,” according to Foyle.

While the pandemic may seem like a bold time to launch a new brand, this is the second retail concept American Eagle Outfitters has launched this summer. At the end of June, the company opened Unsubscribed — a single store in East Hampton, N.Y. which focuses on “consciously-made, slow fashion.” The shop stocks women’s wear, swimwear and accessories, including styles from outside brands such as Veja, the hot Paris-based sustainable sneaker brand.

 

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