One of our favorite athleisure labels is about to really blow up: This week, Outdoor Voices just got a whole lot of cash — $13 million, to be exact — and divulged some of its major investors, including Gwyneth Paltrow. You've likely spotted the two-year-old brand's deliciously textured, gorgeously hued leggings, crop tops, and the like, whether on Instagram, thanks to fans like Allison Williams, Lena Dunham, and Man Repeller's Leandra Medine, or out in the wild, a.k.a. at yoga class or on a grocery run. Founder Tyler Haney eschews the athleisure categorization in favor of a focus on "recreation," however you choose to interpret that, and the brand's tagline is "Doing Things." Semantics aside, Outdoor Voices basically epitomizes what this whole athleisure craze is all about. Its technical performance gear, made with proprietary fabrics, is a refreshing departure from the typical slick, black, neon-accented garb, and it's totally cool, encouraged even, to wear the stuff far beyond the gym.
How, exactly, has Outdoor Voices stood out in a leggings-laden landscape? "In a crowded market, we’ve got really great product and a clearly defined positioning," Haney told Refinery29. "Our approach to activity — with ease, humor, and delight — is resonating with people who haven’t necessarily seen themselves as hardcore athletes. We’re flipping the idea of what performance means on its head and celebrating activity on a greater and greater scale each day." To that end, the brand has a big emphasis on community, be it group jogs or pick-up basketball games. It's the brand's second round of funding; back in October, the company raised $7 million. The venture capital firm that's headed up both rounds, General Catalyst, has also led investments for Warby Parker and Jessica Alba's The Honest Company. The label has lots of word-of-mouth clout, fashion editor fans, and those A-list customers-turned-investors like Paltrow (check her out her OV selfie, below). Medine, who's been a brand champion and collaborator, is also an investor in this new round of funding.
But it isn't actually sold in all that many places, at least not yet. Currently, the brand has two store locations, one in Austin, a temporary outpost in NYC and a permanent Big Apple home coming soon. In August, the label will have a "pop-in" at A.P.C. in San Francisco; it'll be stocked with the Outdoor Voices' collab with the cult French basics brand, dubbed A.P.C.O.V. Haney also plans to open two pop-ups come fall in yet-unspecified cities; she also plans to use fitness studios in certain cities where OV doesn't yet have stores, as little community hubs of sorts. It does brisk business online: In fact, a big focus for this second round of funding will be to build out the e-comm experience for the brand. So, while there aren't a fleet of brick-and-mortar stores headed to malls near you (not yet, at least) expect the already textiles-obsessed brand — Haney is a self-described fabric geek — to double down on even more "incredible product," in her words, with this new cash flow. "We’re investing heavily in material and product development," she explained, and the goal is for new customers to experience a "sense of discovery when [they] 'meet' our materials." Can Outdoor Voices truly become "the next great active lifestyle brand," as Haney puts it? Hey, the prospects are looking pretty promising right about now.