The fitness industry has a long history of failing to include consumers who are not deemed "fit" by societal standards, and that's often reflected in activewear. Commercial brands cater to customers of a smaller size and rarely offer anything above XL, while their campaigns tend to feature slim, super-toned models. But we know that men and women of all shapes and sizes exercise -- and brands are finally starting to recognize this. This month, Adidas is introducing its first plus-size athletic collection in partnership with the size-inclusive brand Universal Standard.
Adidas currently offers sizes up to a 2XL, but this new collection will extend to 4XL. It has everything you could need, too. The range features leggings, shorts, tees, tanks, sports bras, hoodies, and even sneakers, all available in deep, earthy tones. The clothes are stylish yet practical.
"We want the industry to keep witnessing that inclusion is the only way forward," Universal Standard's cofounder Alex Waldman said in a press release. "Together with Adidas, we want to change the way fashion looks at women and the way women look at fashion. This is to the benefit of the industry, the consumer, the idea of diversity, and to creativity itself."
“You can buy great workout gear and look like you’re taken seriously by the activewear industry. It’s not just an old pair of whatever stretches, and an oversized T-shirt,” Waldman said of the collaboration.
Universal Standard's campaign video showcases women of all sizes and ethnicities engaging in activities like rowing, basketball, and jumping rope. "This collection isn’t about asking women to change, it’s about meeting them where they are, just as they are," the Instagram caption reads. "It’s about movement - the beauty of movement through dance, the strength of community through double dutch, the belief in potential through basketball, and the power of a woman’s body in phases of transition. It’s for the athlete, the team, the mom, the anyone and everyone. It’s for all of US. As we are."
Given the amount of size inclusive brands and campaigns to emerge in recent years, it's somewhat disappointing that activewear is just now following suit. Still, it's a welcome change to the industry, joining more forward-thinking fitness brands like Girlfriend Collective and Torrid. A spokesperson from Adidas told Teen Vogue, "We are always a work-in-progress and are constantly challenging ourselves. In this instance, it is to continue making sport more accessible to women."
The plus-size Adidas collection is available on adidas.com and in select Adidas stores in New York City, Santa Monica, and Portland, Oregon. Prices of the pieces range from $40-$90. And anticipating the collaboration's success, Adidas has already said they're working on a follow-up launch with Universal Standard for early 2020. The brand is also said to begin to roll out inclusive sizing across all its ranges this fall.
Adidas joins Nike, who now carries athletic clothing up to 3X and recently introduced plus-size mannequins in stores. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a new direction for activewear brands everywhere.
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