In Activewear, Where Are the White Spaces?
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BoF correspondents Chavie Lieber and Daniel-Yaw Miller discuss why fashion brands are making products for sports like pickleball, padel, rugby, boxing and skiing.      Background:    Two decades ago, Lululemon built its brand around yoga — then considered counter culture. Today, it’s a $6 billion behemoth that makes products for everything from running to swimming and tennis, becoming a model for upstarts like Gymshark and Nobull hoping to filch market share from giants like Nike and Adidas. Now, as sports like pickleball, padel and skiing are gaining traction, there’s yet another opportunity for start-ups to disrupt the activewear market. “If you go niche and focus on a very specific customer base with a very specific niche following, that might be a better way to crack activewear as opposed to selling everything for the masses — then you’re going head to head with Lululemon and Nike,” said BoF correspondent Chavie Lieber.       Key Insights:  Instead of going after the activewear space in general, brands are serving underrepresented groups or making noise with differentiated products and price points.  A few brands, like Gymshark and District Vision have succeeded by identifying strong communities and putting themselves at the centre of them.  The activewear market represents a massive opportunity for brands: global sportswear is expected to grow to $395 billion by 2025, at an annual rate of 8 to 10 percent, according to McKinsey.  Brands are tapping into the desire to look good while playing sports like pickleball, rugby and boxing. They are poised to benefit from and buzz surrounding events like the 2028 Olympics and 2031 and 2033 Rugby World Cup, which will be held in the US.  Skiwear exploded last winter: Matchesfashion’s sales of men’s ski were up 30 percent, while Farfetch stocked 190 percent more skiwear this year. Luxury brands, specifically, are capitalising on the trend by selling statement pieces like goggles or branded skis.    Additional resources:  The Hunt for Activewear’s Next Big Category Activewear’s Biggest Disruptors The Race to Develop the Best Sports Bra   Follow The Debrief wherever you listen to podcasts.    Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout.    Want more from The Business of Fashion? Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.
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