Have tales of loungewear’s demise been greatly exaggerated?
On Tuesday, the Kate Hudson-backed brand, which made headlines in a recent supplier worker-abuse scandal, announced plans to launch a new category, Lounge, on Sept. 1. Fabletics says its inaugural 17-piece Lounge collection “redefines comfort one fiber at a time,” applying the “best” of its expertise in active apparel to clothing crafted for kicking back in style.
“At Fabletics, we design with our members in mind and there has never been a category more in demand than loungewear,” said Felix del Toro, chief merchandising and design officer at the Southern California label. “We love evolving alongside the needs and lifestyle of our customers, which is why we are so excited to bring them Fabletics Lounge, a category that is truly made to be lived in.”
With a focus on “premium and performance fabrics” and in muted, neutral colors, Fabletics’ first Lounge drop will include a washed tricot meshing silk’s satiny hand with a knit’s flexible stretch, “resulting in a super smooth garment that’s durable enough for all-day wear, and soft enough for bed,” according to the brand. Organic cotton also features in the collection, and a “cotton flex” fabrication adds Spandex to the natural fiber for what Fabletics describes as an “unparalleled” fit and feel. Brushed recycled fibers comprise a structured fleece while a “tech terry” material borrows from plush toweling fabrics.
Given the uncertainty the Delta strain is creating—numerous employers have tapped the brakes on return-to-work plans, for example—loungewear could be in for an extended turn as consumers’ go-to apparel if social occasions fall off their calendars again. And even if and when life resumes its regular rhythms, Fabletics CEO Adam Goldenberg sees a “massive” opportunity ahead for slouchy staples.
“We have the best talent to take advantage of this surging trend, applying performance materials to a category that isn’t going anywhere,” he said. “As experienced fashion disruptors, we’re confident Fabletics Lounge will soon be a new category leader.”
Fabletics’ core competency makes entering an adjacent category like loungewear a bit of a no-brainer but even denim brands are hoping to cash in on the movement toward less-structured garments. Mother Denim and Citizens of Humanity both released lounge collections this year, following Levi’s unisex sweats drop in January.
Del Toro, the merchandising exec, says Fabletics will give shoppers a regular dose of loungey newness. “Every month we will introduce new collections with feel-good and stylish essentials that we are sure our customers will never want to take off,” he said.
The move could be a savvy play to shore up its bottom, similar to Rent the Runway’s resale debut. Standing up a new category gives Fabletics a potential new revenue stream, which investors are wont to appreciate as the TechStyle Fashion Group-owned brand is said to be gearing up for an IPO. The sister brand to Savage x Fenty, JustFab, Shoedazzle and FabKids also recently launched a secondhand program through ThredUp.
“Fabletics’ move into resale is part of a broader strategy to become more environmentally conscious. As a global fashion brand, we do our best to give back to our communities and our precious planet, but we know we must do more to lighten our footprint and stimulate more eco-consciousness,” Goldenberg said when announcing the news last month. “This deal with ThredUp is a win-win for us and a good step into circularity—our customers now have a hassle-free way to give their unwanted clothing a second life, while gaining perks to refresh their closets, and we at Fabletics are excited to play a more meaningful role in creating a more sustainability-conscious fashion industry.”