Kate Spade officially jumped into the activewear fray this past week with a collaboration with Beyond Yoga. This collab was announced a few months ago, so I’d been looking forward to seeing what these two companies had up their sleeve.
Besides the narrow black/white stripe, they also incorporated tuxedo stripes in a couple designs. In true Kate Spade fashion, bows were a common motif as well. Shown: tuxedo high-waist legging and back bow legging.
I have a couple quick thoughts about the capsule. First up, this is billed as a spring collection, but it feels like more of a holiday theme to me. If they had released this 4-8 weeks earlier, I think it would’ve made more sense. I would’ve expected a spring Kate Spade collection to incorporate more feminine, fun colors.
Second, the designs in this capsule are more simple than I expected, and just have an extra bow or two. They’re obviously not ugly by any means, they just feel a little bit on the safe side. I’m still hoping a “regular” fashion designer will come up with activewear designs that feel especially innovative and new.
I mentioned last week that Athleta released a stripe legging that was suspiciously similar to a design by K-Deer, a small activewear label out of New York. The purple/orange stripe above is just like K-Deer’s “Sophia stripe”. Well, they didn’t stop there. They’ve since released two more stripes, for a total of three, all of which bear striking resemblance to K-Deer’s designs.
This whole ordeal continues to frustrate me. Maybe you could argue that K-Deer wasn’t the first to invent stripes and ombre. That’s true, but if Athleta did want to do stripes and ombre, there are a lot of ways they could’ve made their versions look unique. Different color schemes, for one thing, would’ve gone a long way. The stripe width is also something that could’ve easily been varied to look more original. The suspicions I had last week with the Sophia stripe only smell fishier this week. With 3 pairs out and the similarities I mentioned, I’m having a really hard time believing it’s just coincidence.
The thing is, Athleta and K-Deer are in direct competition with one another for the higher-end activewear market. Athleta’s leggings are a little bit cheaper, in part because they have their size working to their advantage, and in part because they manufacture overseas while K-Deer’s production is US-based. Athleta seemingly exploiting the popularity of their signature design AND luring customers away based on price is just an awful combination.
I’ve seen a fair amount of buzz on social media calling out Athleta, but they’ve yet to acknowledge the issue. I hope they find a way to redeem themselves here.
If you’d like to support K-Deer, shop their stripes here.
Anyway, overall, this week was a bit slow for new activewear, but I’ve been seeing hints from a few brands that new collections are coming soon, so it’s looking like things might be picking up soon!