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Better Late Than Never: J.Crew and New Balance Are Launching an Activewear Line

Allure editor Rachel Wang models the New Balance x J.Crew women's active collection.

Allure editor Rachael Wang models the New Balance x J.Crew women’s active collection; Image: New Balance x J.Crew

The athleisure bubble has grown so precariously large that industry analysts are shocked it hasn’t burst. The more cleverly designed, eco-conscious, celebrity co-signed leggings hit the racks, the more we’re buying. (Hey, there’s comfort in comfort.) In the words of Gigi Hadid, card-carrying member of the cult of cozy, “[Athleisure is] one of a certain amount of relatable things in fashion. I think that when people see it on the runway, they can imagine themselves in that…it’s great when you’re sweaty, and it’s flexible and all the good stuff — but also you can mix and match it with other pieces and it looks really high-fashion. That’s what people look for.”

Fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur Taryn Toomey in the New Balance x J.Crew women's active collection.

Fitness enthusiast and entrepreneur Taryn Toomey in the New Balance x J.Crew women’s active collection; Image: New Balance x J.Crew

Which is why, starting next Tuesday, J.Crew will vie for a place in our nylon-filled closets. Years into the athleisure game, the company is finally launching its first full-scale activewear collection in collaboration with longtime partner New Balance.

“We did not have the expertise to do this alone,” said J.Crew CEO and email enthusiast Millard Drexler of the project. “We have style sense and quality sense. But we didn’t have the technical sense in getting it done. It’s really important for us to do it — and to do it right.”

A look from the New Balance x J.Crew women's active collection.

It wouldn’t be J.Crew without stripes — Taye agrees; Image: New Balance x J.Crew

The cobranded range features 20 pieces —sneakers, pants, sports bras, shorts, tops of all sleeve lengths, jackets and pullovers — and will run shoppers anywhere from $15 (for a headband) to $200 (for a soft-shell jacket).

The line will be available on both brands’ websites, along with select J.Crew and New Balance locations throughout the United States, London and Canada. Tuesday’s debut will cater solely to the ladies, but we can expect men’s activewear in Spring 2017, along with additional patterns and styles and a new, synthesized J.Crew x New Balance logo, because branding.

Brazilian model and master Muay Thai fighter Gracie Carvalho in a look from the New Balance x J.Crew women's active collection.

Brazilian model and master Muay Thai fighter Gracie Carvalho in a look from the New Balance x J.Crew women’s active collection; Image: New Balance x J.Crew

As for the aesthetics, expect offerings that are “very J. Crew in spirit, very cohesive. It’s not about just a black pant or black top. It’s about color, stripes. We think it brings a new dimension to the business,” said Drexler. The campaign imagery for the activewear line, much like the company’s Spring 2017 presentation, features influencers and friends of the brand, including Taryn Toomey, founder of The Class, Allure editor, runner and master Instagrammer Rachael Wang and SoulCycle instructor Taye Johnson. Personally, we’re loving the long-sleeved true orange and royal blue performance tee Brazilian model and master Muay Thai fighter Gracie Carvalho rocks in the promos.

[ via WWD ]