Stylesight takes a look at the trend of High Street merging with professional athletes and Active market. Most recently, with brands H&M and Uniqlo.
H&M revealed in mid-January that the brand will begin a long-term partnership with the Czech professional tennis player Tomas Berdych, who is currently ranked 6th in the world. Berdych ended his contract with Nike a few weeks prior to signing with the Swedish brand. Aside from wearing H&M on and off the court, Berdych will assist the brand’s design team in creating a tennis apparel collection that will be released later on this year. This collaboration is huge for H&M — it being the first time having a professional athlete wearing its clothing on court. And, well, the Active Team couldn’t be more excited about this new shift in sport and High Street fashion!
Tomas Berdych for H&M
The unveiling of this partnership points to a fresh trend emerging among fashion retailers, as it follows the similar collaboration of Uniqlo and Novak Djokovic, which we first reported about last May 2012. High Street brands are taking the recent athletic-inspired trend to the next level by sponsoring professional athletes and developing activewear collections around their specific needs.
Novak Djokovic for Uniqlo
Beyond tennis, fashion brands are taking interest in a variety of other sports, hitting a diverse range of new markets. Additionally, H&M is expanding its active offering with a newly minted partnership with London’s bike specialists Brick Lane Bikes, collaborating on a line of sustainable biking apparel. The retailers worked closely together to develop fashion-forward gear with technical cycling-specific details so the range can be worn both on or off wheels.
Items range from colorful, vintage-inspired jerseys and waterproof anoraks to quilted jackets and Merino wool chinos. The line hits stores globally on March 7th.
As worldwide fashion labels begin to merge with athletes and sport shops for unexpected partnerships and collections, we are definitely hoping to see many more unfold. Perhaps Gap or Topshop will be on board next, creating fashionable activewear for tennis as well, or maybe taking on another sport such as running or spinning. We couldn’t be more excited about this collaboration trend in the Active market and are anxiously awaiting for more to come!