Druga, right, and Angela Ignasky browse activewear
by CALIA, a collaboration between Dick's Sporting
Goods and Carrie Underwood, in Ross, Pa.
the runway to retail, fashion-inspired fitness apparel
(affectionately known as athleisure wear) has become a
trend to be reckoned with.
just a couple of years, dozens of designers — Stella
McCartney, Rebecca Minkoff, Betsey Johnson, Alexander
Wang, Vivienne Tam, etc. — have dabbled in it, while
several department stores have carved out special
sections just for clothes that are suitable for the gym
but stylish enough for the street. Also, sneaker and
activewear sales were up the first quarter of 2015
compared with the same time last year, according to a
recent NPD Group report.
Pa.-based Dick’s Sporting Goods is among the latest
retail chains to cater to the fashion-minded fitness
enthusiast (or the woman who just likes to look chic but
dress comfortably). In August, it opened the Chelsea
Collective, a specialty women’s lifestyle and fitness
boutique, in northern Virginia.
shoppers can find it in a mall on the second level
sharing a corridor with Nordstrom and across from
Lululemon Athletica and PINK by Victoria’s Secret, two
stores that also have a stake in the increasingly
competitive athleisure arena. So what is it about
Chelsea Collective that separates it from its neighbors?
think the thing that really stands out is that it’s a
multibrand experience," says Lauren Hobart, general
manager of Chelsea Collective and chief marketing
officer for Dick’s Sporting Goods. "We’ve got
everything from iconic brands like Nike and CALIA by
Carrie Underwood (a collaboration with Dick’s), but we
also have these trending niche brands" including
Spiritual Gangster, Lorna Jane and Alala.
workout clothes aren’t your ordinary solid tanks and
tees (although there are plenty of those, too). Many
pieces are more fashion-forward and trend-centric, with
a mix of bold and feminine prints, jogger pants, graphic
tops and stylish outerwear ideal for layering.
addition to apparel, Chelsea Collective strives to be a
one-stop shop for footwear, sports bras, bags and
accessories, including sunglasses, jewelry, headbands
and Emi Jay hair ties. There’s even a beauty bar
stocked with brands such as Philosophy, StriVectin,
Bliss and Mario Badescu Skincare to help women pack
their gym bags with travel-sized shower gels, dry
shampoo, lip gloss, face wipes, and other bath and body
can put a complete head-to-toe look together,"
Hobart says, adding that new merchandise will be moved
onto the floor about every two weeks to keep inventory
consulted focus groups made up of fashionable,
fitness-oriented women in various age groups to
determine everything from brands to store displays.
not only want it to be a shopping experience, we want it
to be a community experience," says Kate Boyce,
vice president of women’s athletic apparel for Dick’s.
communal approach encourages customers to converse with
sales associates about their fitness and fashion
interests and needs. Chelsea Collective offers bra
fittings, alterations and gait analyses. There also will
be a treadmill and barre on site so shoppers can jog and
stretch in shoes and apparel before purchasing them.
also makes the Chelsea Collective experience unique is
the store itself. It takes its name from the Chelsea
section of New York City, known for its diversity, style
and urban aesthetic. White exposed-brick walls and
ceiling beams, ironwork, bright white lights and
photographs of Manhattan are all nods to the
neighborhood. Near the fitting rooms, there’s a living
wall lush with greenery that’s inspired by the High
Line, a public park that runs through the neighborhood
on an elevated section of an old rail track that’s a
popular trail for biking, running and power walking.
the athleisure lifestyle continues to win over women,
Dick’s plans to keep on its pulse.
want to learn everything we can about this market,"