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The two stores I visited at the South Coast Plaza are Nike and Lululemon Athletica. Both brands produce sportswear for a wide variety of sports, such as running, yoga, and gym. The overall trends in the stores are quite similar, with a prevalence of tight-fitting clothes made from innovative materials that are breathable and lightweight.
Both stores have a range of prints and colors available to choose from so that every customer would find something to suit his or her taste. The window displays of the stores, however, are different. Lululemon Athletica’s window display presents different styles for family members in an effort to build a family brand picture. Nike, on the other hand, has only a few adult mannequins with similar styles on: bright top and sneakers, plain classic tights.
With more and more people engaging in sports on a regular basis, sportswear has become nonetheless important than everyday clothes. Many people see sportswear as a chance to show their individuality, which is why virtually any trend can be translated into the target market. For instance, WGSN Insider indicates that cultural sharing will be one of the trends S/S 2018 season will bring (par. 9). This means that ethnic prints may become popular among the designers, which will definitely impact sportswear. Another future trend indicated by CSI is ‘sunbaked rebel,’ which will bring a range of light-hearted colors, such as pink, yellow, and mossy greens (par. 4).
Bright colors are especially popular in active people, so this trend will likely suggest new color combinations to the sportswear market. Finally, Feitelberg suggests that genderless dressing will continue to attract the designer’s minds (par. 7), which, in the case of sportswear, will most likely mean more loose-fitting styles for women and a wider range of colors for men, as well as unisex designs. For instance, most of Nike’s sneakers and shoes come in a wide variety of sizes to suit both men and women. While some items, such as sports bras and tights, cannot be made unisex, other tops and bottoms may become unisex, regardless of their silhouettes, prints, and colors.
The F/W 2017 Fashion Weeks were also full of new trends that may be translated into the sportswear market. For instance, Carreon discusses the power red and floral prints as some of the main highlights of the season’s fashion shows (1, 13). Red is one of the most eye-catching colors, and all-red looks may become popular among people who practice active sports. Floral prints, on the other hand, offer a calm and natural look, which is ideal for yoga practices. George-Parkin, on the other hand, addresses the rising popularity of sheer fabrics (9). Sheer fabrics are lightweight and breathable, which makes them a great option for sportswear. Pieri draws attention to metallic-colored fabrics, such as gold and silver (28). Whereas glitter fabrics may be too heavy for yoga practices, gold and silver-colored tops may be among the next top trends.
Both stores have a variety of customers of different ages and genders. However, there is a prevalent customer group that has a strong preference for the two brands. These are young females, aged 18-30, who are fit, live an active lifestyle, and are influenced by popular culture. As the two brands are far from being the cheapest sportswear options, these women also have medium to high income and are able to invest in their hobbies. They also appreciate good quality of clothes and technological advances, such as innovative fabric, stay-dry technologies, and more. Regarding clothes choice, they do favor clothes that are specific to the type of sport they practice, as they are looking for the clothes would not be constricting and attractive at the same time. Customers from this group are mostly urban residents that are actively involved in their work and social lives but spare time for hobbies and sports.
The three key products in women’s yoga section offered by the brands are sports bras, tops, and tights. In Lululemon Athletica, bra prices range from $48 to $78 depending on the style. In Nike, sports bra prices are from $17 (on sale) to $75. In both brands, yoga tops’ prices range from $30 to $100+ for tank tops and t-shirts. In Lululemon, yoga bottoms start from $88 and the most expensive model is $108. In Nike, yoga bottoms range from $29.97 (on sale) to $160.
Both brands make clothes for different sports. Whereas Nike focuses on running, Lulu Athletica has more yoga-specific products available. In both shops, there is a slightly wider choice of tops, with the overall store top to bottom ratio being around 60/40. In Lululemon Athletica, between two and five color options are offered for most tops models, whereas in Nike there are more individual designs with up to 4 color choices. Similarly, in bottoms, Nike has a wider choice of models with limited color options, whereas Lululemon Athletica offers fewer models with more colors and prints to choose from. Various types of items are promoted, but they are usually rather plain in design and not as attractive as the more expensive models.
Carreon, Justine. “A Complete Guide to Fall 2017’s Top Runway Trends.” Elle, 2017.
Color Solutions International, Inc. (CSI). “Spring / Summer 2018 Trend Analysis.” CSI Colors.
Feitelberg, Rosemary. “Spring 2018 Fashion Trend Predictions: Sleeves, Sculptural Design, Rei Kawakubo.” WWD, 2016.
George-Parkin, Hilary. “The Top 12 Trends from New York Fashion Week Fall 2017.” Stylecaster. 2017.
Pieri, Kerry. “The Top 14 Trends from the Fall 2017 Runways.” Harper’s Bazaar. 2017.
WGSN Insider. “WGSN Presents The Most Influential Trends for S/S 18.” WGSN, 2016.