Definite Articles Expanding Into Performance Apparel

Definite Articles is branching out.

Just under a year after the company’s launch with a line of biodegradable socks, Definite Articles is taking on the competitive activewear market.

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The brand was founded 11 months ago by Aaron Sanandres, chief executive officer of Untuckit, as a pandemic passion project. He set out to produce performance products that had as low an impact on the environment as possible. He started with socks and offers four styles for men and women. But Sanandres has always had larger ambitions for the company and on Oct. 24 he will introduce an assortment of men’s and women’s performance products including sculpted leggings, a racerback tank, sports bra, jogger and hoodie for women and a lined performance short, a crew T-shirt, jogger, and a full-zip jacket for men.

The collection will range in size from small to XXL for men and XS to XL for women and will be priced “less than Lululemon and more than Athleta,” Sanandres said. The men’s crew is $58, the lined short is $78, the jogger is $98 and the performance jacket is $118. The women’s collection ranges from $54 for the racerback tank and $58 for the sports bra to $98 for the legging and jogger are $98 and $128 for the hoodie.

The line will be sold primarily on the Definite Articles website.
The line will be sold primarily on the Definite Articles website.

The fall palette is a blend of neutral and vibrant hues inspired by the planet. The women’s collection features peacock blue, olive, saffron yellow, black and orange while the men’s pieces consist of ocean blue, olive, charcoal and orange.

The collection was created in partnership with scientific and textile experts including CiClo, which created an additive that is combined with polyester and nylon at the beginning of the fiber-making process to enable yarns to perform like natural fibers, allowing them to biodegrade more quickly. Sanandres said research has shown that polyester with CiClo actually biodegrades faster than wool. Nylon treated with CiClo showed a biodegradation rate of about 40 percent after one year, he said. Per their study, 74 to 92 percent (depending on whether landfill or seawater) was fully biodegraded in two and a half years.

In addition, Definite Articles uses locally sourced and, whenever possible, recycled material. Sanandres said the full-zip and hoodie were fully sourced and made in the U.S. and include recycled zippers. This avoids the transglobal transportation that drives 75 percent of a product’s carbon footprint.

“Our driving mission is to rethink how we design performance wear in a way that doesn’t level lasting harm on our planet,” Sanandres said. “The technology exists to design performance wear that’s made to last, but not forever.”

The collection offers pieces for men and women.
The collection offers pieces for men and women.

Sanandres said the collection will be sold direct-to-consumer on the Definite Articles website, but may also be wholesaled to select retailers. The socks are carried at Fleet Feet and other sporting goods shops in the Florida area, where he is based. “The business model is changing and the way to build awareness is different,” he said. “So we’re going to be predominantly online but we’re also forging some wholesale relationships.”

Sanandres acknowledged that the popularity of performance wear at the height of the pandemic has waned, but that’s not deterring him. “It’s very difficult to play into trends,” he said. “When we launched Untuckit, we had no idea the world was going to take such a turn. And there’s no question that performance apparel has already hit its pinnacle, but there’s always room for innovation.”

For now, the collection will focus on performance apparel and socks, but there’s an opportunity to expand its reach in the future, he believes. “You’ve got to do what you know so we’re going to stay in our lane, and we have a long runway ahead of us before we start to think about adding lounge pants. And performance apparel has the worst environmental profile, so it’s the industry that needs the most change.”

To promote the new activewear line, Sanandres said he will market it to existing customers first and hopes they will spread the word. “We have repeat rates on par with Untuckit, around 20 percent, and Untuckit has 550 different skus and we have four,” he said with a laugh. “And our conversion rates are now 4 percent, which suggests there’s an interest. The challenge now is how to build awareness. But we believe the customer is your best salesperson.”

The launch of Definite Articles was funded by a $2 million round raised from friends and family and Sanandres continues to work on Untuckit in addition to his new venture. The Untuckit executive chairman, Chris Riccobono, just launched an athletic brand called Greatness Wins with former New York Yankee great Derek Jeter, former hockey star Wayne Gretzky and groundbreaking ballerina Misty Copeland.

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