Move Over Lululemon! Fabletics New Yoga Line Changes The Rules!
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that in the past year, sales of yoga clothes went up 45%, but participation in yoga only went up 4.5%. Why is there a never ending group of poseur yogis wearing tight pants and tanks everywhere but the yoga studio?
Well, first there is the casualization of clothing – North Americans are increasingly donning sneakers in the boardroom and yoga pants at brunch. This is also supported by the growing trend for Millennials to dress active, with or without the intention of hiking or running.
There is a larger shift here: Over the past 5 years, the size of the athletic apparel market grew an average of 5% a year, from $54 billion to $68 billion, while participation in individual, racket and team sports fell and outdoor, water and fitness sports remained flat.
It comes as no surprise that with that kind of growth in athleticwear, new brands will emerge. Waves of yogawear brands over the last decade have attempted to muscle in on the turf that lululemon so cleverly staked out, but one that caught our attention for its serious disruption potential is Fabletics.
Their model is smart, innovative and enticing. It’s based on a fitness subscription – for about $50 a month, you get a new outfit. Every month. You can bypass months if you want, but the fee, depending on the outfit, will get you an entire outfit, and who doesn’t want to be fully kitted out for $50? That, by the way, is a much lower price point than most if not all Lululemon-brand ensembles. There are additional discounts if you pay the monthly fee, although you also can buy straight from the site if you don’t want to subscribe. With more women spending significant amounts of their life in stretchy pants, Fabletics may have hit the target.
Fabletics has two elements in its favor — actress Kate Hudson, and affordability. “I want every woman to be able to afford great quality, great fit, and hip styles,” Hudson recently shared. “For me, the most exciting thing about Fabletics has been making sure we’re designing for every woman and every body type.” Sports bras are available to members for $20. Fabletics gives you a quiz asking about favorite activities, color palettes and body type, and offers recommendations. After putting in your preferences, the site offers up its series of picks for you, and emails you your pick of the month on the 1st of each month. New styles are released frequently.
For their part, lululemon is launching a line called &Go, which also seeks to fit the perceived need to go from the gym to happy hour all in one outfit. The line has been highly criticized – it remains to be seen whether this will help the yoga-wear giant.
But, when I came across a brochure for yoga classes with the headline: “Do you wear yoga pants? Why not try yoga?” – I realized we’re in a new era of the stretchy pant. And, it’s no wonder everyone’s trying to capitalize on the potential.