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P.E Nation turns tomboy aesthetic into menswear range

Fourteen months after launching activewear brand P.E Nation, co-founders Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning are expanding into menswear.

Edwards, who has previously worked at sass & bide, Ksubi and General Pants Co said the move is a natural extension of PE Nation’s existing activewear offering, which has a decidedly masculine aesthetic.

“We never intended for P.E Nation to only be for women,” she told Internet Retailing. “It’s a tomboy-ish brand with roots anchored in menswear.

“The desire to deliver to men what we deliver to women – effortless, comfortable, functional, everyday wear – this has always been our vision.”

The first menswear items will be available in October, when the brand’s Q4 collection Club Sport launches, with the full offering becoming available in January 2018. The online retailer will offer two menswear collections per year.

P.E Nation has hired an additional designer to support its growing output. This brings the team up to 13, from just two co-founders a little over a year ago.

According to Edwards, the brand is already worth millions and continues to “smash” its season-on-season sales targets. Such rapid growth puts paid to predictions of athleisure’s dwindling appeal, the designer said.

“I don’t see it [athleisure] as a fashion trend as such. Really, it’s a lifestyle, and being fit and active is part of everyday life for many people,” she said. “I think because activewear is now fully integrated into our everyday lives. It’s here to stay.”

“A store will come”

P.E Nation’s retro-inspired, fashion-forward crop tops, leggings and hoodies have struck a chord with international customers in particular. About 30 per cent of the brand’s online sales originate overseas, with the strongest demand coming from the US, UK and New Zealand.

Edwards is focused on making that figure grow: “We had a really strong press plan and approach [to international sales].

“We’ve had some really incredible celebrities wear and love the product, but we’ve also aligned that with a great selection of stores and a quality product customers love to wear.”

Although the online retailer experimented with physical pop-up stores in London and Sydney last year, Edwards said the brand doesn’t plan to open its own bricks-and-mortar store anytime soon.

“It was an amazing experience to do a pop-up in Sydney and in London. They were both great opportunities to test the market.

“There is certainly a need and a desire for our own bricks-and-mortar. However, as a business, we have made a decision to focus on international and online growth where we are seeing such great results.

“A store will come. It’s just a matter of time.”

This story first appeared in Inside Retail Weekly issue 2140. To subscribe, click here

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