Can Wilson Sports win in lifestyle fashion and direct to consumer sales? – RetailWire
May 28, 2021
Wilson Sporting Goods, the 108-year-old sports equipment maker, presents its first collection of lifestyle clothing and opens its first stores to support the launch.
The Wilson Sportswear line “signals Wilson’s evolution into its next phase as a domestic athletic lifestyle brand,” according to a declaration. Located at the “intersection of sport, fashion and culture,” the performance line draws inspiration from Wilson’s heritage spanning team sports, tennis and golf. Nowadays, Wilson is particularly known for its tennis racquets and baseball gloves. Wilson has been the official football brand of the NFL since 1941.
The initial collection of sweatshirts, joggers, shorts, polo shirts and skirts fulfill the promise of athleisure by offering enough performance attributes, such as antimicrobial properties, for an athlete to play their favorite sport or train, but also be stylish enough to use on the playground and outside the gym.
“We really decided to blur the lines of fashion and function – and solve the two,” said Joelle Michaeloff, design manager at Wilson Lifestyle. V Magazine.
The initial lineup will be sold exclusively on Wilson.com in the United States, and through WeChat and other sites in China.
To generate the buzz, Wilson will publish new articles every two weeks and plan special collaborations around “key moments in sports culture”. Later this year, Wilson will open its very first stores in Chicago, New York, Beijing and Shanghai to showcase not only sportswear, but also sports equipment.
Wilson is also expanding its advisory staff network of more than 10,000 professional athletes, coaches and education professionals to include taste makers such as artists, musicians and activists. Phillip Leyesa, a sneaker customizer and new member of the advisory staff, said, “The styles are modern, versatile and can easily take anyone from the court to everyday life.”
Wilson appears to be taking a page from sports brands such as Nike, Adidas, Champion and Fila to exploit collaborations and lead limited edition drops to generate fashion buzz and cachet. Gordon Devin, President of Wilson Sportswear, said WWD, “We want to own Saturday and Sunday.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Wilson Sports launching a collection of sportswear and physical stores as a natural progression or a stretch? Do you see more brands, especially in categories like apparel, taking the dual approach of traditional wholesale relationships and direct consumer business?
“They’ve been sleeping on their iconic brand for over 100 years. I think they’re finally ready to make this smart game.”