Gap sports brand Athleta Monday announced a new Athleta Girl line, available April 26, aimed at girls six to 14 years old.
The items rival Lululemon’s girls line ivivva, launched in 2014, with slightly lower prices, but still far higher than similar items found at Gap’s Old Navy brand.
The launch coincides with the brand’s new “The Power of She” campaign, including a first-ever TV advertisement, with slogans like "the frenemy is finished” and “undermining is over.”
Gap acquired sportswear company Athleta eight years ago, just in time for performance wear and athleisure apparel to take off. The brand has emerged as a bright spot in Gap’s continuing woes, which include the tapering fortunes of its once formidable Old Navy results.
Lululemon has been the retailer to emulate in the athleisure space; that brand persuaded women to buy yoga pants for upwards of $100 a pair thanks to their flattering fit, sweat-wicking ability, and designs good enough for going about town. Lululemon first launched a brand aimed at tweens, and Gap is smart to add that facet to its Athleta lines too.
“We believe in the limitless potential of women and girls, and we are passionate about the power of women coming together – it’s in our DNA,” Athleta president Nancy Green said in a statement. “As we enter the girls’ activewear category with the launch of Athleta Girl, we feel a responsibility to create a campaign that can teach and inspire the next generation of women and girls about the power of collaboration.”
The “Power of She” campaign also taps into the current wave of feminism and successful women athletes ushered in with the 1972 Title IX amendment from the U.S. Department of Education, which requires local school districts, among others, to provide the same level of sports participation and other opportunities for girls as for boys. Other brands like American Eagle's Aerie and Dove have built successful campaigns around female empowerment, choosing to eschew photoshop and plaster body-positive messages in print and video.
"Athleta's mission is to ignite a community of active, healthy, confident women and girls who empower each other to realize their limitless potential. Now is the time to start an important conversation that inspires collaboration and brings awareness to the issue of undermining," Athleta marketing SVP Elisabeth Charles said in a statement.