Rihanna-loved designer Adam Selman gives us the intel on his new activewear line, A.S.S.


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Photo: Carbon38

Let me be blunt: If your closet’s curated in a blend-into-the-background kind of way, Adam Selman‘s work is probably not for you. After all, this is the designer who crafted Rihanna’s show-stopping “naked dress” from the 2014 CFDA Awards, not to mention OTT tour costumes for Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. But if you’re not afraid of a little neon, leopard print, or sparkle—after-hours or at the studio—then you should probably Kondo your gym bag to make space for his latest endeavor.

The new Adam Selman Sport collection, cheekily dubbed A.S.S. for short, sets out to fill a pizzaz gap in studio-to-street fashion. “When I was researching the landscape, I really felt like fun was missing from the market,” says the designer, who’s also fronted his own ready-to-wear line since 2013. “Everything felt very sweet, fresh-air, safe, or black. Nothing in between.” By tapping into the sartorial legacy of iconoclasts like Florence Griffith Joyner—the ’80s track star known for her killer nail art and asymmetrical running costumes—Selman’s debut activewear effort is infused with a “bold, playful spirit” that’s made for the Instagram age. 

For instance, a pair of sheer animal-print leggings—already sold out on Carbon38—lend modern Jane Fonda vibes to a barre-class mirror selfie. Crystal-studded sports bras, bike shorts, post-gym mini-dresses, and track pants could convince me to bring my KiraKira app out of retirement.  Many pieces in the collection, like a Carbon38-exclusive quilted bomber, are designed to be gender-neutral. (Los Angeles-based fitness instructor Jason Wimberly wore head-to-toe A.S.S. to teach at Carbon38’s launch event.) And, in another future-facing twist, Selman kept sustainability front of mind during all phases of the design process. “I am really proud that we’ve been able to develop most of the core fabric in recycled nylon, developed packaging that is EPI-certified biodegradable, and are exploring techniques for better printing on our hangtags and labels,” he says. 

Thumbnail for Rihanna-loved designer Adam Selman gives us the intel on his new activewear line, A.S.S.
Photo: Carbon38

Judging by the crazy enthusiastic response to the collection, it seems like there’s a latent longing for statement activewear that goes beyond just sneakers. “On the first day of the launch, we sold out of nearly the entire collection,” says Carbon38 CEO Katie Warner Johnson. (Don’t stress—select pieces are still available on Net-a-Porter and Opening Ceremony.) “When you think of a designer in the current market that represents [irreverence], it’s Adam Selman. Adam’s appreciation of the female form and the badass and active lifestyle his customer leads—and the fact that his collection blurs the lines between ready-to-wear and activewear—really solidified the choice to carry his line.”

And in case you were skeptical, these theatrical looks will, indeed, stand up to long sets of burpees or pistol squats. Remember, Selman’s got years of experience designing for super-physical stage shows. “I’ve done numerous world tours for musicians, which is basically building activewear disguised as a costume,” he says. “I didn’t want A.S.S. to feel costumey, but I think knowing how bodies perform and move certainly came into play.” And he’s excited to draw on even more facets of his résumé going forward. “I would eventually love to make pieces of A.S.S. be red-carpet ready,” he says. “That feels like the future to me.” Treadmill as a runway? I’m into it.

While you’re updating your active wardrobe, snag some logo leggings and chic sweatpants—two of 2019’s biggest style trends.

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