Are Leggings The New Gateway Designer Buy? Prabal Gurung Thinks So

Photo: Courtesy of Prabal Gurung Sport/Bandier.
Athleisure has taken many forms as it's flourished over the past few years. You can wear a sports bra designed by your favorite celebrity, like, say, Beyoncé. Fast fashion brands like Zara have gotten in on the activewear game; so, too, have successful ready-to-wear designer labels like Tory Burch. Now, another name on the NYFW calendar (with steeper price points than Burch's designs) is joining the high-end leggings fray: Prabal Gurung. The designer just rolled out his first activewear collection, Prabal Gurung Sport, in collaboration with retailer Bandier. Hailey Baldwin stars in the collab's imagery.

"We’ve been interested in expanding into active for some time now, as our woman is very much on the go and appreciates options for all aspects of her life; however, it was crucial for us to do this at the right time and with the right partner," Gurung told Refinery29. "I was introduced to the Bandier team through a trusted friend, and it truly felt like the perfect fit."

The initial offering comprises a dozen pieces. While the first collection was created in tandem with the NYC-based fitness retailer, this isn't a one-off foray into the realm of spandex: Gurung will continue designing activewear beyond this first collection with other retailers in the future.

While leggings from brands like Lululemon and Sweaty Betty are already in the triple digits, Gurung's activewear pieces are, indeed, on the pricier end of luxury activewear, ranging from $105 for a tee to $395 for a jacket. But, for a designer whose red-carpet creations bear four-digit price tags, it's a relatively affordable gateway purchase for the Prabal fan that can't feasibly swing anything from the designer's RTW offerings. "This collection allows us to speak to a younger customer and offer glamour at a more entry-level price point," he explained.
Photo: Courtesy of Prabal Gurung Sport/Bandier.
Photo: Courtesy of Prabal Gurung Sport/Bandier.

For the customer who's already got a Prabal piece or two in her wardrobe, the designer envisions a mash-up of runway looks and yoga-class items being worn together. "The idea behind this collection is for our ready-to-wear and active pieces to be interchangeable — the Prabal Gurung Sport bomber can be mixed with a great skirt, the bra can be layered under an off-the-shoulder knit, and our ready-to-wear cardigans can be thrown [together] with the Prabal Gurung Sport leggings," the designer told us. "With everything I create, I aim to evoke modern glamour; with this collection, the glamour is in the details, the ease, and the high quality." Prabal Gurung Sport utilized technical fabrics the designer had never worked with previously: "there is so currently so much innovation happening with active fabrics," he remarked.
Photo: Courtesy of Prabal Gurung Sport/Bandier.

The collection is more size-inclusive than Gurung's runway looks: it goes up to an XXL, equivalent numerically to a size 16 or 18. "I don’t like to put a confine on shape or size to define beauty or to service a customer; our ready-to-wear collection is already less inclusive by virtue of its price point, so it was important for me to create an inclusive collection in the active market," Gurung said. "Why shouldn’t a woman with wider hips or a fuller chest have access to quality active wear?" (Beyond activewear, Gurung recently launched plus styles, via his collab with Lane Bryant.)

If Gurung has anything to say about it, the designer sports bra or legging will soon be the new status key chain or logo T-shirt, when it comes to a first-ever designer buy.

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