Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2014 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show Aug. 6 – 9. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.
When Jade Yoga President Dean Jerrehian started bringing yoga mats to Outdoor Retailer, he also brought a yoga teacher to demonstrate what they were for. Today’s retailers are way beyond a “What’s yoga?” response, and yoga-centered manufacturers are seeing interest from major retailers.
And instead of a demo on a single mat, there’s a studio to practice yoga near the cluster of yoga apparel companies in the Pavilion and poses are popping up on the paddleboards in the pool outside.
“It may not at first blush be something an outdoor retailer can say, ‘I need that in my store,’ but so many of their customers are doing yoga, it’s really a no-brainer for them to have it,” Jerrehian said. “Sales just keep growing.”
Similarly, yoga apparel manufacturers say they spot their attire on anyone, everywhere. There’s an increasing fashion trend toward an outdoor-ready look, whether customers are at happy hour or on the hiking trail, and yoga companies have been meeting demand by adding lifestyle-focused styles. They’re ramping up the off-mat appeal with patches of mesh, sheer fabrics, peek-a-boo backs as well as bright colors and bold prints.
“Active wear in general is crossing over into all areas. It’s definitely outdoor … so I think it’s a great fit here,” said Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic figure skating gold medalist, who is at the Summer Market for the first time with her newly launched active wear line Tsu.ya. “Yoga in general you’re seeing done on paddleboards, you’re seeing it done on the beach, it’s such a hot trend right now that it’s going wherever.”
Her crossover-ready pieces — proceeds from which benefit the early childhood literacy foundation she created, Always Dream — include jackets that would work with leggings post-workout and skirts she’s seen on trails and around town.
“Activewear was a natural segue for me because I’ve lived in activewear most of my life,” Yamaguchi said.
“We see the increasing presence of more brands at the show, and that includes new brands and existing brands that are getting into yoga because yoga is definitely increasing,” said Martin Trudel, vice president of sales for North America for Lolë. Annually, some 20 million people participate in yoga. “You have the core outdoor practitioners, which is your backpacker, your camper, the normal outdoor activities, but those people are doing more sports now, which includes running, which includes yoga, and I believe that that’s why there’s more presence and there’s more brands at this show catering to those categories.”
This is Lolë’s 17th Outdoor Retailer, he said, and sales have come up double digits since its first. This year, the company is bringing lifestyle pieces like the travel-ready Arletta dress and the Danica tank, a racerback top with built-in support that would suit the studio or the happy hour patio.
“Outdoor apparel is the lifestyle. Pretty much everyone can wear yoga nowadays,” said Lindsey Kramer, marketing manager for Cozy Orange Yoga Apparel. “Even if you’re hiking or spinning, you’re probably wearing a legging or a crop. We have a lot of pieces that easily go from day to night, or the mat to lunch.”
Cozy Orange is at Outdoor Retailer for the second year with a line of lower price-point, eco-friendly clothes often made with from a fabric that’s 90 percent from recycled plastic bottles. The Rue top is a prime example of clothes ready for down-dog poses or heading downtown.
The brand’s Wednesday morning appointments included some major retailers, a step outside the studio box for a brand currently carried in Bar Method locations, and it’s currently in talks with boutique retailers from surf to skate shops.
“We call it ‘active fashion.’ That’s what we’re trying to design into,” said Jeff Schmitt, CEO and president of the Active Fashion Group, which includes the Soybu line. “We get the whole gamut of buyers coming here. It’s much broader than it used to be.”
Soybu has been at Outdoor Retailer since the line launched in 2010, and has included both lifestyle and active pieces from the beginning.
“What we’re finding is Lucy is establishing growth in an area where women are willing to invest in activewear, because it includes transitional pieces,” said Jennifer Whitley, Midwest sales rep for Lucy Activewear, which is at the Summer Market for its second year. This season, she’s seeing high-waist pants matching with crop tops for a look that works on and off the yoga mat.
“I think it’s an incredibly fluid and natural extension,” said Laurie Etheridge, president of Lucy, of yoga apparel’s place in the Outdoor Retailer crowd. “We’re really focused on performance, style and versatility, and that combination has proved to be very powerful and very well-received.”
Putting yoga apparel on the racks at an outdoor store also brings a component that, unlike some of the more season outdoor sports apparel, can be sold 12 months of the year.