Every time I'm in the market for a new tri-top or some shorts, I go to the runner's shop thinking; 'THIS time I'll branch out from plain black. THIS time they'll have a windbreaker that doesn't make me look like I am leading a 3rd grade field trip to Niagara Falls. THIS time there will be interesting stuff that isn't covered in some awful floral print or (god help me), is pepto pink.' And every time, I am let down and I start looking for the plain black gear. For a while, I decided it would be a fashion choice, and then I just got bored with it and starting thinking about all the awesome stuff there SHOULD be on the market for runners.
Yoga gear is making a killing these days. Lululemon makes a cute yoga pant, and their sports bras are seriously hot, but their running gear (while getting better) is still lacking. They had trouble getting the cuts that runners and triathletes need for function right, and the prints & colors they favor swing too far into the 'girly' camp for me. Shakti has some seriously hot cuts and they SAY they use performance fabrics (I am fast becoming a connoisseur of performance fabrics, and I am sad to report that 'yoga performance' and 'running performance' don't often match up), but again, a lot of the prints are heinous. The sports bras and tops are even hotter than the ones at Lulu, but I doubt they would hold up to strapping you down for even the shortest of runs. There's gotta be more out there, and I can't be the only one thinking about this. Well, I'm not.
Splits 59 is an athletic wear company started by triathletes. The styles are road tested by athletes, and while they are still a little boring, there is a better variety of cuts in the tops and the color palette is a little more sophisticated. And I like the way they styled their promotional shots.
Stella McCartney for Adidas has been around for a while, but she seemed to focus on tennis and light gym workout gear (for what Mr. Petes over at Runners Write calls The Treadmill Walkers), and what little running related gear she did was not only insanely priced, but barely functional. She's put out some new styles, and I have to say, this windbreaker is pretty hot. But it is also $210 flippin' dollars. Stella does the best prints of the bunch and her color palette is always interesting.
Hussein Chalayan was named Creative Director for Puma this summer, and I have to say that this is the work I'm most excited to see. Rather than producing a collaborative secondary line, Chalayan will be overseeing ALL of Puma's design; from shoes, to apparel, to accessories. Puma isn't really a performance gear go-to, and in the last few years their apré wear has veered a little too far in the wrong direction for my taste, but I'm v. excited to see what happens next.
So I've also had to adapt my personal style outside of training and post workout gear; everything had to change once the possibility of wearing heels and shoes without arch support went out the window. I needed to be office and socially appropriate, but when you are dealing with spasming muscles and have to stretch regularly throughout the day, you can't be in restrictive clothing and hawt shoes. I got a pair of Puma speed cats, and started working my wardrobe around sneaks. It was pretty easy, though I do spend a lot of time in American Apparel leggings. I am getting towards the end of my exile on jersey knit island, but I don't really want to leave all of this behind. I'm really starting to look at the Y-3 line that Yohji Yamamoto produces for Adidas. I could do without all the big logos, but I love the iconic stripes, and if I had the $$$, I think I'd start with a few pieces like this and this. Considering that I'm spending more and more time with my sneaks, I think these might be a necessity, don't you? Check out this beautiful promo spot to see how Y-3 takes the sport to street.
So...active wear design industry...you're doing better...we gotta tackle those accessories next though. Have I mentioned I'm an accessories designer? Call me.