Fashion has tennis fever.
Whether through short-term collaborations or permanent lines, Louis Vuitton and Lululemon are just one of the brands that have only recently entered the game. The latest brand to ride is Fabletics. The activewear brand launched its first official tennis collection on May 12, a co-branded clothing line by tennis company Universal Tennis, which is running the Universal Tennis Ratings Pro Tour competition. Both brands will sell the line through their various marketing channels including in -store events. Fabletics is the official outfitter and sponsor of the UTR Pro Tour.
Ryan Heller, chief marketing officer at Fabletics, said one area the brand is exploring is sponsorship of athletes, even if it hasn’t named any specific athletes as ambassadors. “High-performance brands [like Nike or Adidas] Big names have been grabbed, but tennis has a lot of white space, ”he said.
The Fabletics line includes skirts, shorts, sweatpants, polo shirts, T-shirts, sweaters and visors, from $ 18- $ 60. This price point puts it slightly below the same tennis offerings from Nike. Styles from Nike’s capsule collections featuring tennis stars like Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal sell for $ 100.
Tennis is just the latest in Fabletics ’focus in new categories after launching the lounge in December 2021 and swimming in March 2022. Fabletics wants to expand into any category where it sees growth potential.
“We listen to our consumers and pay attention to what’s going on in the world,” Heller said. “All the category expansions you see come from us because people ask for it. Some have developed over a year or so, and some have grown faster. Tennis has taken maybe about one and a half years. years from beginning to end [to launch]. ”
Heller said the expansion of the category, especially in the surrounding areas of athletics, is likely to come in the future as part of the brand’s future growth strategy.
Tennis got a lot of attention, thanks to a spike in interest during the pandemic. By 2020, the sport has grown in popularity by more than 22%, and it will grow 27% by 2021. In April, fashion brand Sporty & Rich dropped a tennis-inspired collection, Lululemon launched a tennis category in late March, and Louis Vuitton is previewing. a tennis collection called “Match” in April that includes a bag with a tennis ball as a zipper pull. On Monday, Michael Kors dropped a collaboration with Italian sportswear brand Ellesse with tennis clothes and a tennis -themed campaign with Emily Ratajkowski.
New brands dedicated to tennis apparel were launched last year such as Furi Sport in July and Jgame in late April. Existing tennis giants like Lacoste have seen growth, due to interest in the sport changed. Lacoste’s parent company, Maus Freres, earned more than $ 5 billion in the first year of the pandemic, from $ 3.4 billion pre-pandemic, more than half of it from Lacoste.
“The pandemic is good in tennis,” said Robert Aldrich, North American CEO of Lacoste, who spoke to Glossy in March. “It is one of the beneficiaries of the pandemic. It’s a socially distant game, you can do it and still be safe.
In fact, 21 million Americans started playing tennis for the first time in 2020. Since then, tennis stars have become even bigger celebrities. For example, Naomi Osaka became an in-game fixture at Fortnite, joined the likes of Lebron James, and hit big fashion deals at Louis Vuitton, Nike and Comme des Garçons. And tennis -influenced styles can be noticed even outside of tennis -specific collections, such as UpWest’s athlete’s tank top.