Competing in the active wear market

At some point, consumers realised that the comfy clothes they wear to the gym could be worn all the time. Initially started by women wearing yoga pants outside of class, athleisure wear hit the big time in 2015 at New York Fashion Week when the men’s collections shifted from blazers to hoodies.

On the other end of the spectrum, producers of sportswear realised their clothing didn’t have to be dull… bright colours and designs could lift their products so customers would want to wear their clothing out and about, not just in the gym. 

The growth in athleisure wear has been blamed for a dip in jeans sales in the US, which fell by 6% in 2014. And in 2016, the sports clothing marking was reported to have risen by 42% over the previous seven years. We’ve printed athleisure and active wear lines for a growing number of brands and businesses too, including some of London’s hippest gyms and fitness studios

If you’ve just started your own athleisure line (or if it’s something you’re thinking about), here are some tips to help you market it effectively online – and start selling.

Know your audience

Consumers of active wear will have certain traits – i.e. they’re likely to take part in regular physical fitness and see going to the gym and being active as an essential part of their life. But they shouldn’t be taken for granted as a generic bloc. The active wear market is huge and the outfits someone might wear for a yoga class will look – and feel – very different for what someone might wear on a running track. Even different subsets of gym session come with their own aesthetic, from yoga to spin class to HIIT and cross training. Be clear about which category you’re focusing on and make sure your marketing reflects this. 

Take the right photos 

Once you’re clear on your audience you can begin building your marketing strategy. Photos are crucial, particularly as Instagram has risen up as a platform to launch, promote and sell fashion brands on. Make sure you have a range of photos. Use appropriate models – preferably people that actually partake in the sport or area of fitness you’re focusing on – to show how your clothing line looks when worn; also make sure you have a photos showing the clothing on its own – with details as well. If you’re selling online, you need your customers to be able to get a strong sense of the quality and style of your clothing from visual content. 

Use video

Building up from photos, videos are an important tool in online marketing. Again, focus on specific sports and fitness activities that will chime with your target audience. Use video to show how your clothing moves, as well as how great people will look while active in it. Don’t simply think about making videos that show the clothes, however, promoting activewear offers a unique opportunity compared to other fashion brands to share videos of high level athletes in action. Promoting a yoga line? Share videos showing yogis demonstrating impressive moves in your outifts. Marketing tennis clothing? Capture players in action. Videos will always catch the eye of customers better than photos. 

Use social media

Once you’ve got your photos and videos share these through social media. Busy and active potential consumers and more likely reached through Facebook or Instagram than traditional media. Use imaginative hashtags to reach social media users shopping for new clothes. Also focus on building a community around your brand. Encourage customers to share photos and videos of themselves in action. Again, don’t focus on the clothes – focus on the activity and ask your audience to post videos of them doing what they’re proud of. 

Use influencers

Once you’ve built a foundation for your brand online, a key way to boost a social media campaign is to use influencers. In this case you’ll want to find  inspiring athletes and sporty social media personalities to see if they want to collaborate in exchange for some free outfits. Think hard about who will represent your brand well – it’s not always about who has the most followers, but who has the most engaged, relevant followers. 

Looking for athleisure or active wear printing in London? At ICON Printing we offer fast turnaround printing and embroidery with a wide-ranging catalogue from t-shirts to caps to bagsGet a quote in 2 minutes online.