Kim Kardashian West wants to keep Team USA comfy at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The reality star and entrepreneur, who launched the shapewear brand SKIMS in 2019, is creating a limited-edition collection of sleepwear, underwear, and loungewear for each of the 626 U.S. female athletes going to the Games this year. The pieces encapsulate SKIMS’ aesthetic, which consists of tight-fitting basics like tank bras, socks, and boxer-like undies, made from soft, breathable fabrics. “The assortment was designed to provide athletes what they need for cooling down, recovering, and getting the best rest possible during their time in Tokyo,” a SKIMS spokesperson wrote in an email to Fast Company.
West launched SKIMS in 2019 with her business partner Jens Grede. It was initially focused on shapewear designed to enhance a woman’s curves. But over the past two years, the brand has expanded to create underwear and other basics like slip dresses and pajamas made from stretchy fabrics. The brand is characterized by its monochromatic designs in neutral colors, and is aesthetically similar to the fashion label Yeezy, created by Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West’s former husband.
Partnering with Team USA is a big step for SKIMS, which will be able to get more visibility within the athletic community and broader public. It’s effectively a licensing deal that will allow SKIMS to emblazon the Team USA and Olympic logos, along with the American flag, on their garments. While not specifically designed for athletes, SKIMS makes the case that its focus on creating comfortable, supportive garments geared toward sleeping and relaxing will serve Team USA well. “Team USA approached SKIMS to design this special collection of sleepwear and loungewear,” said the SKIMS spokesperson. “The collection includes form-fitting leggings, boxers, and lounge tops along with a classic pajama set and robe.” The general public will be able to purchase pieces from the collection on the SKIMS website, starting July 12.
This is not the first time a brand has been tapped to create official loungewear products for Team USA. In the past, Ralph Lauren has designed Team USA’s official outfits for the Opening Ceremony, and has created pieces for the athletes to relax in, like polo shirts and comfy tees.
But SKIMS has taken the loungewear in a decidedly more casual direction, a testament to how dominant loungewear has become in the United States. Americans are increasingly swapping jeans for comfy, casual clothing–like sweatpants and leggings–that were originally designed to be worn at the gym or at home. Google searches for loungewear have steadily increased over the past five years—and spiked during COVID, when people were stuck at home. Analysts believe the sector will grow by $19.5 billion between 2020 and 2024. Creating a loungewear collection for Team USA that is also available for the general public makes sense at a time when Americans prioritize comfort in their clothing.
To launch a campaign for the collection, SKIMS brought on performance artist and photographer Vanessa Beecroft, who is know for delving into themes of gender and power. Her work has been shown at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art, and she has collaborated with both Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West in the past on photoshoots, music videos, and more. For this campaign, Beecroft creates portraits of five members of Team USA, including Delilah Muhammad who set the world record for the 400-meter hurdle in 2019 and Scout Bassett, a paralympic athlete who spent seven years in a government-run orphanage in China after she was abandoned on the side of a road after losing her right leg after a chemical fire as a small child.
“These women are incredible role models for younger girls, including my own daughters,” West said in a statement. “Showing them anything is possible if you work hard enough.”