Sport Seasons has a stand out group of dedicated buyers. In a recent interview with one of them, Lydia, who’s at the helm of all training and running apparel, I was able to ask a few questions about what major vendors are doing to keep in step with the interest of their audience. We also talked about what trends she sees coming down the line.
Lauren: Is there anything you see coming down the line from some of the major brands that you’re excited about?
Lydia: Cotton has always been king, so, even brands that didn’t have cotton, saw they could do it. Like Under Armour, they have reinvented cotton. Under Armour has a whole cotton line and Nike has Dri-FIT cotton. The price points on these are good, they are usually around ten dollars less and they hold up just as good as more technical materials.
Lauren: What is your favorite item or items of yours?
Lydia: The Under Armour women’s Victory tank. It started as a technical piece in my workout wear and it transitioned to an everyday piece. Women come in and talking with them, they love it and they come in looking for what‘s new. For the guys, the men’s Under Armour Boxer Jocks.
Lauren: What do you see as strengths or something that makes the items these brands are producing especially good pieces? Do these brands set themselves apart in fit or colors, etc?
Lydia: Both Nike and Under Armour are perfecting their fit. Under Armour does offer base layer, semi-fitted, and loose fits, so they have that. Nike aims to keep sizes consistent, for example, they keep a size 4 a small, a size 8 a medium, and so on. Both brands have looked at waistbands. At the end of 2012 and early 2013, they updated core lines and tried to perfect waistbands of shorts, pants. Now, instead of the waistband moving on you, it moves with you, whether you are doing lunges or CrossFit. That’s for women’s, and for men’s, it’s that things have gotten so much lighter. The fabrics are lighter and there is more ventilation. Lighter weight meshes are being used, so it dries way quicker than styles in the past.
Lauren: Are you seeing any particular trends locally? Nationally?
Lydia: Capris in women’s. These brands have not only perfected the waist bands- it’s the fit. It’s like shopping for jeans. There are tight, slim, regular, loose cuts. Most women know what fit works with their bodies, what they’re most comfortable in. In men’s, men’s shorts with side pockets. Pockets are it. Men like to travel with everything they own in their pockets, whether it’s to the gym or to Starbucks.
Lauren: It’s their version of the purse.
Lydia: “On a wider scale, its prints. Fashion has crossed over into function.” Lydia keenly observed there is a different take on prints in women’ and men’s approach in apparel. “With men’s, its embossed fabrics. It’s a more subtle approach to prints. With women’s, it brings the entire outfit together. The print is out there and we want it to be out there.”