Amid a consumer behavior shift toward comfortable clothing, Gap-owned Athleta on Tuesday launched its first sleepwear collection, according to a company press release.
The brand's foray into sleepwear starts with 14 pieces focused on providing "comfort for recovery," but it will add new styles seasonally. The collection was inspired by listening sessions with Athleta customers and the company's resident sleep expert.
- Athleta is pitching the sleepwear launch as a "natural extension" of the lifestyle brand it has built around empowering women through activity.
Athleta is taking its athleisure focus a step further with a launch into sleepwear.
"Athleta is uniquely positioned to bring this to market, as it continues to ignite a community of active, healthy, and confident women by supporting her throughout her entire day," the company said in a release.
Rest and recovery are "vital" to improving performance, the brand noted, making the launch a fitting extension to its existing activewear assortment. It also comes at a convenient time, when most consumers have been staying home more than usual and are looking for comfortable clothing to throw on while their formalwear languishes in the back of the closet.
A pre-holiday study by the NPD Group predicted that sweatshirts, sweatpants, active bottoms, sleepwear and socks would make up 31% of total U.S. apparel spend over the holidays, up from 26% the year prior, and companies that specialize in comfort clothing have seen sales spike during the pandemic.
"More and more women are focusing on self-care and holistic wellness, and by offering sleepwear we are able to support her full lifestyle—from active performance to rest," Mary Beth Laughton, president and CEO of Athleta, said in a statement. "We know from our masks launch this spring, that new category additions can be a great way to introduce more customers to our Athleta brand. We are excited about the possibility of reaching even more women while providing them an opportunity to make recovery a key component of their daily activities."
With the popularity of athleisure only spurred further by the pandemic, top athletics brands have used the global health crisis as a means to do what many companies are finding impossible at the moment: make investments for the future. In June, Lululemon acquired home fitness platform Mirror (and later began selling it in stores), while Allbirds launched into the apparel space with a comfort basics collection. Department stores Kohl's and J.C. Penney also tried to capitalize on the trend by launching athleisure and comfort private labels in the fall.
It's not the first pivot athletics brands have made to assert themselves as lifestyle brands. Lululemon in 2019 introduced a self-care line, while Puma partnered with Maybelline on an athleisure-focused makeup collection.