Challenger To Watch 2017: Outdoor Voices
Recreation not competition.
Founded just two years ago by Tyler Haney, Outdoor Voices is a fast-growing sportswear brand built around the insight that, actually Nike, not everybody wants to be an athlete, thank you very much. Instead, Haney has built a performance activewear brand for those of us without the competitive streak.
Dubbed ‘technical apparel for recreation’ – these aren’t yoga pants for sitting on the couch binging on Netflix, nor are they pitched at those training for their next marathon ever harder, better, faster, stronger. No, this is a brand encouraging us towards the far more achievable goal of ‘doing things’ everyday; dog walks, hiking, jogging, yoga. The difference with the multitude of fashion brands in the crowded athleisure space is that these clothes are designed for activity not lounging – as Haney puts it; "everything is meant to sweat in".
Outdoor Voices had a great 2016. With a reported sales growth of over 800% last year, they are rapidly expanding into brick and mortar spaces, opening 3 new retail stores in the US at the end of 2016, and can currently lay claim to being the it-girl’s sportswear brand of choice after some very on-brand collaborations with A.P.C and ManRepeller’s Leandra Medine (and unofficial patronage from the likes of Lena Dunham).
Having raised a total of $22.5million in funding to date through General Catalyst (who also back Warby Parker and Honest Company), this is a brand with big ambitions and wind in its sails. The question is, can they break through from being a niche label for the fashion-conscious to become, as Haney intends, "the next great activewear brand"?
This lifelong sports refusenik is on board - now who wants to buy me some $100 leggings?