In an athleisure market that blurs the lines between sports and fashion not only loud designer collaborations such as the Adidas x Alexander Wang season 2 for f/w ’17 or the eye-catching collaboration between Nike and Japanese fashion label Sacai back in 2015 lead from the front. It’s also commercial fashion brands that take credit for making athleisure the new normal. German fashion label s.Oliver is yet as another player to address the ongoing fitness trend. With the new s.Oliver Active women’s sportswear line the brand rather keeps it classy–targeting those women who look for nice functional bras and tights to work out in during a normal, busy week.
S.Oliver first stepped into the field back in March 2017 when it launched The Fusion Collection, which integrates sports elements into a fashion collection. Now the time has come to do it the other way around: The brand has launched s.Oliver Active (only in the German market), mixing “sports and urban fashion.” Bras and tights form the key items, which are complemented by tops, shirts, jackets and accessories. The f/w ’17 collection contains 78 articles at a mid-price level ranging between €20 for a top and €120 for a padded jacket.
S.OIiver is hardly the first commercial brand to introduce a sports line. One of its strongest competitors might be H&M which dove into sportswear in 2014 when H&M Sports became a constant section of H&M stores. The fashion giant even teamed up with the Swedish Olympic and Paralympic teams at the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia and the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. But while H&M sets a strong marketing focus on connecting its sportswear collection to professional athletes, s.Oliver markets its collection close to “real women”–those who like sport for its fun factor. “We do not always have to get faster, higher, further or prepare for a competition. For us, the time we work out is our personal quality time,” says Miriam Schmidt, division head s.Oliver Active.
A look book clearly referring to street wear aesthetics presents a design kept simple, avoiding prints to ensure a timeless, high-quality look and to provide mix-and-match possibilities. Classic sportswear elements such as mesh materials and striped cuffs and neckbands have also been added.
The collection is divided into three categories: Running inspired “Energy” styles drop in September, while “Core” gym inspired and “Flow” yoga inspired styles follow in October and November. Key items such as the colorblocked sports bra are constantly featured during all three drops.
For the launch of the current f/w ’17 collection, s.Oliver Active is cooperating with the gym brand McFit and various German female influencers. The collection retails at seven selected s.Oliver stores and in the brand’s online store as well as in pop-up spaces that are operated in twelve big German cities, including Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and Hamburg, among others. S.Oliver Active also cooperates with e-commerce players About You, Amazon, Engelhorn and Zalando. “For the upcoming collections we plan to expand our retail strategy by working together with sports retailers,” says Schmidt who has expertise in directing a successful women’s sports line. Prior to joining s.Oliver Active she served as global category director at Adidas Women Training and Adidas by Stella McCartney.