What is the hottest fashion category right now? For industry insiders, the big buzz word is athleisure. Designer Alston Yang was well aware of that when he launched his label West 56. Athleisure describes fashion forward clothing that is also made with performance capabilities for working out (or at least putting on after the workout). I thought I would bring you some stylish gear to inspire you for Women's Health & Fitness Day.
Most young designers who launch their first label aim for a luxury collection to express their wildest creative leanings. While a few create something great, maybe even gather some press, it rarely sells on a large scale. Ths is not a workable model for a new line. Pricing ends up being exhorbitant, production is not even factored in the creation of the samples. Retailers are reluctant to take a chance on a newbie with super expensive clothing when there are hundreds of other competing, more established designers.
Alston Yang on the other hand, paid his dues first working with Derek Lam and Opening Ceremony. He then spent his time working with his family and factory to develop a proprietary fabric call HEATIMPACT. As a fashion designer who lives/works a healthy lifestyle, he created the ultimate collection to outfit the way he lives. In his first few months out, West 56 already landed a major deal with upscale gym chain Equinox.
So newbie designers, what have we learned? Market for a lifestyle, not celebrities. Have a unique fabrication, not just "creative vision". Also, West 56 pieces retail for under $100, making it accessible to all potential customers. I was most surprised by that. It has a high end aesthetic. I loved that many of the pieces had intricate seaming details, hidden pockets. I usually see this level of execution on more expensive brands. Of course it helps that Yang is producing with his label with his own collections.
So get ready to get healthy. Make your running track your personal runway. West 56 is there for you, affordable, luxe and ready to sweat.