We all thought we’d forever associate Juicy Couture with velour tracksuits. But the brand is trying to shed that image with its new “Couture Nouveau” fall campaign. Featuring brightly patterned dresses and accessories, the ads will be printed in high-profile fashion magazines like V Magazine and Vogue.
It’s clear why Authentic Brands Group (which paid $195 million to acquire the Juicy brand in 2013) wants to distance Juicy from its iconic look. However, the company might not want to completely ditch the tracksuit. “Athleisure” apparel is more popular than ever. Lululemon, whose signature yoga pants epitomize the athleisure trend, reported Q1 revenue of $423.5 million – a surge of 10% on the year. The company ranked ninth in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Sportswear for its easy-to-use mobile app and impressive organic search real estate. Further proof of its popularity: 65% year-on-year growth on Instagram, making Lululemon one of the 10 sportswear brands with the biggest following.
The athleisure look has helped establish sportswear brands like Nike and Under Armour, building their products’ appeal with mainstream consumers as well as athletes. Social media is a key element of this approach: more and more sportswear brands are featuring non-athletes as celebrity ambassadors. Currently, only 20% of sportswear brands do so, but many of these partnerships have exponentially extended brand reach by employing celebrities with massive followings, like Justin Bieber (adidas) and Heidi Klum (New Balance).
The athleisure trend has also led to the creation of new brands, such as Jockey’s new casual footwear line and Tory Burch’s Tory Sport. Even celebrities are trying to cash in on athleisure. Beyonce partnered with Topshop to launch a line of “athletic streetwear.” Singer Carrie Underwood launched Calia. Actress Kate Hudson and her brother created Fabletics, a fashion line for “men with busy lives.”
As Juicy Couture looks to move from its athleisure legacy to high fashion, the most popular clothing brands seem to be headed in the opposite direction.