Nike City Ready Collection
The most secretive place on earth might be in Beaverton, Oregon. It’s there, at Nike’s headquarters, where a building called the Kitchen is guarded with locks, keys, NDAs, and countless security cameras. The mere act of taking your cell phone out of your pocket causes alarm. That’s because within those walls, Nike’s performance apparel is tested by expert scientists and the company’s roster of elite athletes. Every item that goes to market is engineered to the exact demands of what it needs to do: running shoes that make you faster, a sports bra that leaves you cool, running shorts that reduce friction. It’s where technological advancements happen—but what about style?
Throughout Nike’s 47-year history, athletes have always come first. That’s been a long-standing advantage for the brand—ultimately, it’s hard to argue against LeBron James and Serena Williams picking up trophies while wearing that swoosh. But as the lifestyles of the well-off pivot to a more natural fusion of exercise and daily life, and as athleisure becomes a fashion statement, Nike has lagged where other activewear monoliths have thrived. That’s about to change with its newest womenswear launch, Nike City Ready, a collection of athluxury pieces that targets the modern woman in an urban center, the woman who sees Bella Hadid leaving a training session in high-waist leggings and a bodysuit and wants to do the same.
“The exciting design challenge was bringing performance and style details together seamlessly without compromising on one or the other,” said Nike Women’s senior creative director Maria Vu, a former New Yorker who knows plenty about being a woman on the go. “The collection is grounded in Nike’s most pinnacle performance innovation, but the design challenge—and the fun!—was reimagining Nike’s innovations through a fashion lens.”
Vu calls City Ready “a collection without compromise.” That means that you can sweat it out at the Dogpound in a sweetheart-neck bra and then take that very bra to dinner at A Summer Day Café, layered underneath a bodysuit with cut-outs that smartly show off the bra’s perforated band. Pants come with a curved zipper from hip to ankle, allowing the wearer to stay warm or reveal those quads she spent all morning toning. An anorak-like jacket is so keyed into the tactical, practical trend of the moment that it warrants a street style turn. The nine-piece range is engineered to go together seamlessly, with each item layering over or under another like a puzzle, so that the hem of the sweatshirt hits right at the top of the high-waisted pants, or the tank reveals just the right amount of the sports bra. Priced from $55 to $250, the collection is also fairly competitive with the other lifestyle-meets-activewear concepts on the market and comes with reflective elements for added safety in dark environments.
To anchor this all in the functionality that Nike prides itself on, the brand has chosen U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens as the collection’s model. “This is my first campaign with Nike, so it’s very exciting for me. It’s a great product, and I love to represent women and all shapes,” she said, admitting she’s the ideal candidate for a gym-to-girls’-night collection. “I think I’ve worn more leggings in my life than anyone on the planet. It is nice to dress up sometimes. [With this collection] I don’t have to think, I just have all my outfits ready. It works out perfectly for me.”
Will other women trust Nike with not only their performance gear but also their personal style? The City Ready collection is a good start. Most of us would be happy to have that black bodysuit, but I expect to see it on Bella first.