Luxury Brands are Embracing Athleisure

China Insights

Nowadays, more and more people are joining gyms and participating in outdoor activities, leading to an incredible expansion in China’s sport and leisure industry over the past three years.

The new business casual includes Balenciaga sweat shirts and Zegna sneakers. Luxury brands are capitalizing on this trend by collaborating with sportswear brands, and launching athleisure collections with a designer touch. However, at the same time, they starting to move the cooperation to another level – to provide an athletic lifestyle.

1. Chanel – Fashionably Sporty

The 2014 Chanel No. 5 fragrance ad pioneered this trend and featured supermodel Gisele Bundchen toting a Chanel surfboard.

Director Baz Luhrmann was inspired by the dichotomy of something so current and sporty with the legend that is Chanel. Priced at nearly 18,000 USD, the Chanel surf board has been available in boutiques since early 2015 and is still in high demand. The fashion house produces other sports equipment including tennis racquets and balls, wetsuits, snowboards, and basketballs making it own of the main suppliers of luxury athletic goods.

2. HUGO BOSS – Extreme Athlete in Suits

In early 2016, HUGO BOSS collaborated with Mercedes-Benz on the third installment of its extreme sailing stunts – following the “Mast Walk” and “Keel Walk”. The stunt was performed by Alex Thomson, a British sailer often referred to as the real James Bond. In the video, the daredevil dressed in HUGO BOSS suit, combined his love of sailing and kite-surfing by attaching himself to a racing boat via a rope tied to the top of the mast. He then kite-surfed behind the yacht before using its speed to propel himself 280ft into the air.

Watch the video

The advertisement was named the best marketing video of the year and presented an extreme sports lifestyle to the audience. Along with HUGO BOSS’ collaboration with many European soccer teams, its branding strategy achieved great success in 2016 and first half of 2017 benefitting business enormously.

3. BMW – Business Athletic Lifestyle

Automobile brands are also getting in on the action. In early 2017, BMW partnered with American kite-surfing equipment brand – North Kiteboarding, to produce the official launch film for the all-new BMW 5 series Touring. The video was shot at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and features a business man getting out of  his BMW and hitting the water on his wake board. The video effectively juxtaposes the car’s impressive design, innovative technology, and intelligent functionality with extreme kitesurfing footage, resulting in one of the most memorable automobile commercials  in recent time.

Watch the video

4. Thom Browne – Surfing on the Runway

In a more recent example, Thom Browne really brought the fashion show to a new level with a lively, beach-inspired collection that included everything from surfers to a dancing parrot.

Typically we rarely use “surf” and “suits” in the same sentence, yet, Thom Browne introduced us to the “surf-suit” in his Spring 2017 Men’s Show. Continuing the theme, the brand revealed an exclusive photo series titled “Surf League”, which featured a wetsuit that borrows all of the elements of a traditional men’s suit – jacket, trousers, lapels, top collar, tie – and merges them into a single, streamlined garment connected at the back with a zipper.  

Within 48 hours of its reveal, the “surf-suit” had the entire fashion world abuzz and surfing and diving fans lining up to purchase their own tailor made Thom Browne wetsuit. So, while this bold collection might seem strange to a mainstream audience, it is has proven a major success from a marketing perspective.

Luxury brands’ foray into sportswear have shifted them into the realm of lifestyle brands. Consumers are increasingly looking for products that can not only update their wardrobe but that also represent an aspirational lifestyle.

By   -   Aug 10, 2017   -   0 Comment
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