New Activewear Brands

Activewear brands are more successful than ever before. Alongside well-known names like Lululemon, New Balance, Gap Inc’s Athleta and Nike are newer arrivals like British brand Sweaty Betty, multi-brand boutique Bandier and Tory Sport, Tory Burch’s activewear line are taking the spotlight.

Some of the new arrivals are listed below:

OUTDOOR VOICES

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The Story: Founded in 2013 by Parsons School of Design graduate Tyler Haney, Outdoor Voices has fashion industry support — A.P.C.’s Jean Touitouis one of the brand’s strategic investors — as well as venture funding, thanks to its direct-to-consumer strategy. Haney says the company’s focus is on recreational sport, not competition. (Brand signatures include colour-blocking and heathered fabric in minimalist shapes and fashion shades.) “I very much felt there was an opportunity to free fitness from performance, taking every day activity and finding the beauty in it,” Haney said. “We wanted to create product that functions in the same way as that of Nike and Lululemon, but more aesthetically aligned with what I wear day to day, like Acne and A.P.C.” This helps to explain why Haney felt someone like Touitou was important to bring on not only as an investor, but as an advisor. “I wanted to have partners in the mix who have operated businesses in the fashion world.”

CARBON 38

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The Story: Founded in 2013 by ex-ballet dancers and Harvard classmates Katie Warner Johnson and Caroline Gogolak, e-commerce site Carbon 38 features high-fashion, high-end activewear modelled on fitness instructors. (Warner Johnson was one of the first instructors at the popular barre studio Physique 57.) “We realised that there was all of this white space in the market that Lululemon created, and an opportunity to grab some of that market share,” Gogolak said. “There is a lot of room to take a bite out of that.” In 2015, Carbon 38 introduced an in-house label, meant to fill the gap between the activewear it sells on the site — from brands including Lucas Hugh and Alo Yoga — and ready-to-wear. The collection currently makes up just 5 percent of the retailer’s overall sales. “It’s a way to speak to this growing trend of activewear as everyday wear,” Warner Johnson said. “But it’s going to [remain] a small part of the overall story.” The range features basic leggings, but also blazers and coats made from technical fabrics.

KIT AND ACE

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The Story: Founded in 2014 by JJ and Shannon Wilson, with support from father/husband/Lululemon-founder Chip Wilson, the Vancouver, Canada-based company aims to outfit its customers in everyday clothes that perform like athletic apparel. “We saw this as an untapped opportunity to take everything we’ve learned from athletic clothing and then apply it to streetwear,” Shannon Wilson said. “Most people are living what we call these full-contact lives. They’re up and out of the house at 6am and they’re going until 10pm at night, and they really require one set of clothing to take them through that.” Best-selling products include brushed French terry cloth t-shirts and “technical” cashmere, which is preshrunk and machine washable.

While the product’s end use may be different than Lululemon’s, there is certainly customer overlap. About 70 percent of Kit and Ace’s customers are female. “I’m pretty impressed that we have 30 percent men,” said Chip Wilson, whose previous company catered predominantly to women but is now gaining ground in the men’s market. “I think it says a lot about where the market is for this.”

TORY SPORT

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The Story: Founded by Tory Burch in 2015 as a complementary line to her main collection, “We see Tory Sport as a peer to Tory Burch,” the designer said. “We want it to stand on its own because it’s a true performance brand.” The line covers several sport categories often ignored (or at least undervalued) by traditional athleticwear brands, including tennis, golf, and studio. “Activewear is something I have wanted to do for almost six years and we have been working on it for three,” Burch said. “I’m always interested in the idea of designing things that are impossibly hard to find.” Pieces from the first two collections — including accessories and items from the day-wear-focused “Coming and Going” category — have garnered waitlists.

SWEATY BETTY

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The Story: Founded in Notting Hill in 1998 by husband and wife duo Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty was originally a multi-brand boutique featuring labels sourced predominantly from Scandinavia and Italy. In 2007, the company pivoted its business model to produce its own label, competing more directly with Lululemon. It now operates more than 40 stores in the United Kingdom, with annual sales upward of $46 million. “We realised that reselling other people’s sportswear brands in a premium location wasn’t going to work. The margin on sportswear is so low, because everyone was doing the high-turnover stores on the high street,” Tamara Hill Norton said in 2014. “We needed to change direction and do our own label. Also, we were beginning to gain awareness and really wanted to push our brand.”

BANDIER

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The Story: Former music executive Jennifer Bandier partnered with her husband, Neil Boyarsky, and Barney’s Co-op founder Jayne Harkness to introduce a multi-brand retailer that carries everything from Mary Katrantzou’s Adidas collection to Monrow and Spiritual Gangster. The company’s Flatiron store, which opened in 2014, features a 3,000-square-foot fitness studio that offers more than 25 classes each week taught by superstar instructors. Like many high-end boutiques, Bandier has negotiated exclusives with the brands it sells, offering styles or colours unique to the retailer. What it hasn’t done is focus its entire efforts on e-commerce, which currently makes up just a quarter of the company’s sales. “We went the other way,” Boyarsky said, referring to the e-commerce-first trend in apparel businesses. The retailer averages 2.4 units per transaction and $1,400 per square foot. (The average cost of an item is about $80.) Sales are up 40 percent year over year.

IVY PARK

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The Story: Beyoncé and Topshop’s Sir Philip Green are equal business partners in this new activewear brand, which will be available in mid-April at 12 retailers across the globe, including Topshop, Nordstrom, and Selfridges. The 200-piece collection, priced between $30 and $200, will not be sold through its own website. “Sir Philip has created some amazing collaborations but I wanted a partnership and a standalone brand,” the entertainer-turned-mogul said in a statement.

TRACKSMITH

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The Story: Founded in 2014 by chief executive Matt Taylor and Luke Scheybeler, the latter of whom also co-founded cycling brand Rapha, the Boston-based Tracksmith is a running-first brand. “The great thing about running specifically is that almost everyone owns a pair of running shoes and shorts, and people will do lots of different activities in those clothes,” Taylor said. “Right now, we are perceived as an apparel brand. But the vision for Tracksmith is a lot grander and much more wrapped around a complete lifestyle. It’s for anyone who is passionate about running.”

Tracksmith has raised $5.7 million in funding with partners including the Pentland Group, a collection of apparel brands with a foothold in the outdoor/performance arena. The brand originally launched with men’s apparel only, introducing women’s nine months later. Currently, the male-female customer ratio is 70 percent to 30 percent, although Taylor predicts that to level off at an even split as more women learn about the product, which aesthetically nods to the collegiate track-star gear of the 1970s and 1980s. While the company will not disclose revenue numbers — and says that previous reports have been inaccurate — Taylor will confirm that sales have doubled year-over-year.

AETHER

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The Story: “When we started Aether in 2009, there were barely a handful of brands doing technically sound outerwear for the urban dweller,” company co-founder Jonah Smith said. “We looked around and if it was technical, it looked like you should be out in the field or on a mountain, and if it was good looking, it probably wasn’t particularly warm or weatherproof.” Smith and co-founder Palmer West set out to do just that, creating a range of gear that is meant to perform in all types of weather and conditions, from water-repellent wind breakers to stretch-ponte leggings. Self-financed, the company operates four standalone stores — Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Aspen, Colorado — alongside e-commerce and has experienced annual growth of an average 40 percent year-over-year for the past four years. “About two years ago, we shut down our entire wholesale business, which was about 150 stores in seven countries, and instead chose to focus on our own stores and a primarily direct-to-consumer model,” Smith said. “We are just now starting to reap the rewards of that significant change.”

Courtesy of Business of Fashion.


Denim in Style

Time for a denim update, but which washes, cuts and details are trending?

The level of creativity when it comes to denim is off the rails, and almost nothing surprises us anymore. A pair of jeans that are essentially made up of a handful of patches? It’s probably happening.

Denim is no longer just denim. What once was a simple counterpart to a plain white tee and sneakers is now a clothing category all its own that’s exploding with trends.

One-size-up menswear shapes are gaining ground, while tailored jackets are a perfect alternative to blazers. As for the details: fussy embroidery and logo patches for the fresh simplicity of deep indigo, preferably with super-refined top-stitching.

DARK RINSE DENIM

Deep indigo is the crisp workaday shade to be seen in: stick to high-waisted, straight-leg, and wear with the want-it-now Western boot.

EXPOSED STITCHING

The chicest detail in denim right now? An exposed stitch. Even better if it’s set to flatter, neatly bisecting your silhouette.

THE COAT

A denim coat? Take the plunge. You’ll find it’s a handy wardrobe binder.

LOOK SHARP

A tailored jacket style is perfectly in tune with a slick ladylike sensibility. Don’t forget the chain-handle bag, tucked into the crook of an arm.

ALL WHITE

White jeans should be cut roomy, and worn with sharply cut and cropped spring jackets.

DUNGAREES

Dungarees are back and back to stay. Play with colour style and layering for the ultimately street style look.


The Fabulously Ugly Trainer Trend

There are few sneakers that are as divisive as “dad” trainers. If you’re not sure what I mean by that, then allow me to explain. “Dad” sneakers are the clumpy, supposedly “ugly” shoes that look like the kind of trainer a “dad” would wear during the late ’80s and ’90s.

However, for this summer the uglier the better.

They’re oversized and are anything but elegant. However, true to the fashion world’s cycle of regeneration, they are currently one of the biggest athletic shoe trends around. So who would even wear such a thing? Well, we already know that Kendall and Gigi are big fans of the look, and we’ve also seen plenty of street stylers wearing it too.

High tech and souped up, the new wave of pumped-up trainers aren’t just pounding the streets – they walked onto the spring/summer 2018 runways too. Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Prada have all produced styles that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Blade Runner 2049.

So who brought it back? Was it Raf Simons x Adidas Originals Ozweego, or the Balenciaga Triple S (why have one sole, when you can have three?) that catapulted it to new heights?

Shop your favourite below. Who do you think won the fabulously ugly trainer trend?


Thinking of Travelling? | Cape Town

Thinking of Travelling… Visit Cape Town

Cape Town is a city close to my heart and after spending time there year after year, there are certain things to do that we’ve either discovered and love, or are old favourites that you just can’t miss if you ever get the chance to travel to the beautiful cape.

1. Walking up Lions Head

Stunning panoramic views over Cape Town.

Although taking the cable car up table mountain is an experience in itself, the short hour walk to the top of Lion’s head is filled with 360 degree views over the whole city, along with exciting step ladders and ropes to help with the climb and once at the top, an absolutely stunning view over the whole city, including the beautiful table mountain, standing strong. If you are visiting over a ‘full moon’ then climbing Lions Head on this night is an absolutely must. Hundreds if not thousands of people scramble their way to the top to catch a glimpse of Cape Town under the light of a the full moon. An adventure you have to experience.

Or better still walk up Lions head and paraglide down!

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2. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Beautiful walks and picnics.

This world-renowned botanical garden is nestled at the eastern foot of Table Mountain. It lives up to it’s reputation as the most beautiful garden in Africa and not many others around the world can match the sheer grandeur of the national reserve against the slopes of the mountain.

Take a picnic and relax to Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset concert surrounded by the stunning scenery of the Cape Town Mountains.

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3. Boulders Beach

Swim with penguins.

This really is a place for all the family, with wooden board-walks built up across the penguins home, you can watch them living their lives, building nests, integrating with mates, you can even see the eggs hatch if you’re there in the right season. Then at Boulder’s Beach, where you can sunbath, rock climb and swim in the sea, the penguins are free to roam around so you might even get the luck chance to swim with the penguins.

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4. The Old Biscuit Mill

Food, shops, restaurants and market.

Located in Woodstock in buzzy downtown Cape Town, The Old Biscuit Mill really is the place to be on any evening of the week as it is filled with both local and Michelin star restaurants, ready to tickle your fancy. Along with this, is the Saturday morning buzz of all the local produce and restaurants arriving to set up their stands and fill the area with mini cafes, hot and cold food stalls, along with biltong making, chocolate tasting, soap trying, vegetable markets, you name it, it’s there on a Saturday morning.

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5. Long Street

For the Nightlife – clubs and bars.

Long Street is the backpacker central of Cape Town, it is buzzy and loud and full of exciting atmosphere. With famous hostels all along the street and crazy pubs and bars on every corner, it is the young soul of Cape Town and the place to be when travelling.

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6. Noordhoek Beach

Windy walks and kite flying.

As you probably know, sometimes in Cape Town the weather can be hit and miss and when the winds come, they come in strong, and when this happens there is no where better to be that Noordhoek beach. The vast stretch of white sand is perfect for long walks but even better for kite

flying. We have huge 3 meter trick kites that lift you off the ground and fill up a whole day with fun-filled activity.

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7. Camps Bay

Evening drinks at sunset.

Camps Bay, along with being an the ideal beach location, with the sun staying shining on the sand until late, is also a great evening destination. Camps Bay high street runs along side the beach with bars and restaurants looking over the vast ocean, absolutely perfect for watching the sunset in the evening with a glass of wine. All the restaurants are always full so the atmosphere is always on point and the seafood couldn’t be fresher.

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8. Food

So many places. So many choices.

Over the many years of visiting Cape Town we have been able to experience a wide range of restaurants.
We would like to share below our all time favourites, Cape Town wouldn’t be the same without them!

Pot Luck Club

The Pot Luck Club, situated on the top floor of the Silo of the Old Biscuit Mill on Albert Road, Woodstock opened February 14th 2013.  It has been dubbed the coolest place to be in Cape Town and its success is based on innovative cuisine, served in a relaxed yet edgy environment in a part of Cape Town that has never attracted an evening dining crowd.
Luke collaborated with renowned Cape Town based architect Greg Scot along with some of the city’s foremost art and design personalities.
Luke Dale-Roberts is a name synonymous with the finest, most creative and innovative food in South Africa. Since coming to Cape Town, Luke has consistently proven his mettle with a string of awards and accolades.

Delaire Graff

A luxury Winelands experience at Delaire Graff Estate, a world-leading destination for wine, art and hospitality in an unrivalled setting. Designed with the discerning global traveller in mind, savour breathtaking, uninterrupted views of the Stellenbosch Valley.

Nestled between majestic mountains and overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch, the incredible views provide the perfect backdrop to our outstanding restaurants, state-of-the-art winery, exclusive Lodges, exuberant landscaping, destination Spa and luxury boutiques.

La Colombe

Scot Kirton, executive chef of La Colombe in Constantia, Cape Town, has earned the title S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year.

There’s a playfulness to the menu, especially in terms of presentation. Take their signature dish, the tuna tataki served in a can, which also made an appearance on the menu at the Sunday lunch awards ceremony. It’s clear that a lot of thought, hard work, and more than a touch of fun goes into designing the menu.

Scot explains, “We start by looking at what the season holds, and then we try to think outside the box. Every dish has to be unique and original; this sometimes means that it takes weeks to master.”

Greenhouse

Greenhouse is the flagship restaurant of The Collection by Liz McGrath, and a celebration of local flavours fashioned into an exquisite experience by the genius of the culinary team working here.
Greenhouse is a place where local ingredients and great African fables come together in a tasting menu that takes guests on a unique culinary experience. It’s why we were ranked number four in the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards’ list of South Africa’s top 10 restaurants, along with the Bsochendal Style Award.
Menus change with every season, and guests are guaranteed fresh, seasonal, local ingredients wherever possible, and often from the Cellars garden. Let the expert sommelier assist you with pairing your meal with the perfect wine for the ultimate dining experience.

9. Robben Island

To get a sense of the real culture.

In order to get a true representation of the history of such a country, you have to explore back to its roots and for South Africa, this Island located in Table Bay, is hugely significant both to the nation and it’s people. Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, and visiting this tiny cell and the rest of the prison island will allow you a true insight into South Africa’s struggles.

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10.  Table Mountain

Everyone has to be a tourist at some point

Its on everyone’s list of ‘things to do in Cape Town’ but it really is an opportunity that you can not miss out on. Take the 360 degree cable car up the side of the mountain to reach the table top. Leisurely walk around and explore the wildlife and take in the views of the surrounding Cape. The best time to go is just before sunset. Take a picnic and watch the sun go from the top of the mountain and Cape Town transform from day to night.

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