By: Lisa Slagle, Founder & Creative Director
The Wheelie Creative HQ is a lively place. It’s a funky, old house just steps away from downtown Whitefish that has been renovated into a welcoming, handcrafted, creative space. You will be greeted by at least one dog (possibly three), and a high five or two, and you’ll need to navigate your way to the meeting table through a maze of employee bicycles, skateboards, and probably a few boxes of merchandise we have queued up to photograph for our clients.
There’s a good chance our project manager will bring you coffee in a mug with a logo that we designed, and then she will try to wrangle in the members of the creative team that you came to meet with.
And then you’ll see them: Colorful yoga pants. Moisture-wicking tank tops. Trucker hats. Board shorts. Watches that tell you how fast our hearts beat and how many stairs we’ve climbed that day. Shoes that can just as easily grip mountain bike pedals as they can the office floor. You feel right at home.
At Wheelie, we have fully embraced the athleisure movement.
What may appear to be a normal lifestyle outfit for you, too, is actually an entire shift in the world of fashion called (athletic+ leisure) athleisure. (Yes, you just got suckered into reading a fashion article.) However, the outdoor industry is the perfect place to not only capitalize but also evolve what is happening around us.
Denim sales have gone down by 5% or more every year since 2013, and in 2015, Americans spent just under $44 billion on “active-wear,” up 16% over 2014. What does that mean?
People are trading jeans for more versatile clothing, which is allowing them more adaptability in their days.
For example, maybe you’ll have time to get to that lunchtime yoga class. Maybe not, but you might as well be prepared. Cutting out the time you would have to spend on changing outfits makes that potential easier to turn into a reality. By wearing yoga pants that are stylish enough to wear to work, you no longer have to waste time changing— you can transition seamlessly from work to play and back to work.
What may seem like a simple efficiency solution actually goes a lot deeper. It turns fitness from categories in your life to a lifestyle. This allows athletes to have a more whole, well-rounded view of themselves, less segmented into categories with uniforms for every interest.
Up until last year, workout clothing was primarily black. Now you’ll see bright patterns, designs, and artist-edition lines, and way more options for people to choose from. People can now just as easily go get coffee with friends as they can go to the gym.
The outdoor industry has a huge opportunity here.
Look at mountain biking. For a lot of us, this is what we do for fun almost every day after work. This is a very big part of our “real life.” However, most mountain biking clothing is very specific to what it needs to do, and we definitely have separate clothing for mountain biking than we do for hiking or trail running or grabbing post-ride beers, making it feel less like “real life” and more like a separate thing that requires a separate identity.
Think about it. The entire notion of having to “change” in and out of your clothes is kind of funny. Like you have to change who you are to transition from one activity to the next, put one identity on and take the other off.
Now outdoor industry, now! There is a huge opportunity for blending worlds. Seize it!
What if you could wear the same outfit to work as you could your lunchtime trail ride? (Minus the chamois, of course. Those should stay separate. You don’t want to wear that at your desk all day.) But what if there were shirts that could transition seamlessly through your entire day without the inconvenience and emotional segmentation required by uniform changes? What if you could ride, work, and go out to dinner all in the same shirt. Thanks to all the awesome, wicking, anti-microbial materials out there, this can become a reality.
You don’t have to be a mountain biker. And a skier. And a marketing manager. And a friend. And a significant other. And a poor runner. And all the things in all the categories.
You can just be you.
Let's do this, outdoor industry.
If you'd like to try instigating this change, I'd love to help. If you're interested in hiring WheelieCreative to make wild, meaningful, irreverent, or hilarious content for your brand, I'd love to hear that, too. Just hit the orange button below: