Athleta Isn’t Like Other Athleisure Brands, But It Could Save The Gap

Athleisure is a major trend. Gap Inc. knew they needed to turn it into profit, and Athleta might be a better investment than they imagined.

Michael Beausoleil
Marker
Published in
6 min readOct 27, 2021

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Simone Biles in Athleta
Simone Biles in Athleta

In April of 2021, gymnast Simone Biles ended her partnership with Nike. The separation may have come as a shock because Biles is such a decorated athlete and the Olympics were right around the corner. Nike might be the most notable name in the sports world, but Biles wanted more than a name. She wanted to use her platform to empower women.

She decided to work with Athleta. The Gap-owned sportswear line has been catering to all types of women since it was founded, and Biles recognized the brand’s mission. Athleta has remained committed to this mission, and the identity has become part of its appeal.

Clearly, Biles isn’t alone in her fondness for Athleta. The brand has been a critical part of Gap Inc.’s growth this decade and it continues to drive profits for the company. As Gap Inc. tries to envision a future outside of the mall, Athleta will need to be part of the evolving strategy. Their mission to be an inclusive, empowering brand has connected with customers and athletes. Now, it’s time for Athleta to prove they’re different from other athleisure brands and worthy of the attention they’re getting from athletes.

Why Customers Love Athleta

While Athleta’s origins can be traced to 1998, Gap Inc. acquired the brand in 2008. This was early into the rise of “athleisure,” but it was clear that athletic apparel had a place in most wardrobes. Toward the end of the ’00s, Lululemon was establishing itself as a mall staple. Many brands knew they’d need to compete, and Gap Inc. wanted to use Athleta to establish their ability to create athletic clothing.

via Athleta

Athleisure has also allowed for athletic clothing to merge with other items in the closet. The 2010s was a decade known for embracing leggings. No longer a trend reserved for fitness, Gap Inc. used Athleta to round out its…

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Michael Beausoleil
Marker
Writer for

User Analytics | Digital & Brand Marketing | Productivity … hoping to explore topics that interest me and find others with similar passions