High-end activewear retailer Bandier debuted its first in-house apparel brand with the launch, in January, of a brightly hued workout-basics collection called We Over Me. Sold on Bandier’s site and through its brick-and-mortar stores, as well as via luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter, We Over Me signals the company’s readiness to take advantage of its athleisure expertise to create its own products.
“[We have] our finger on the pulse of everything that’s happening from a fabric and fit perspective,” says Bandier CEO Neil Boyarsky. “We have insight into what works.”
With its color-block patterns and soft, durable fabrics, We Over Me’s 14-piece collection bears a resemblance to other athleisure lines. Competitor Outdoor Voices, for one, has complained that the designs are “nearly exact copies” of its own styles. But Bandier’s commitment to inclusive sizing sets the collection apart: Everything runs up to 2XL, and the company wants to extend the range even further.
Thanks to five national retail stores, and new ones opening in West Hollywood and New York later this year, Bandier has unparalleled access to how customers use its products, since the spaces often include fitness studios (the New York flagship hosts 30 classes a week). Boyarsky calls its in-store classes “the best testing ground we could possibly have.” (Brands like Nike also use the studios for sneaker research.)
“We sit in the middle of this trend toward activewear and fashion coming together,” says Boyarsky. “As retailers, we have to constantly challenge the operating model. These are new times.”
Milestones: Bandier’s first California store, in West Hollywood, will be modeled after the New York flagship, with studios, food vendors, and a larger sneaker selection.
Challenges: As it develops more private labels, Bandier will have to stake out new design territory to avoid bumping up against its more than 40 existing brand partners.