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Is Nike trying to be the next Lululemon?


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Photo: Instagram/@nikewomen

Listen up, leggings and sports bra lovers (so, like, everyone): Nike is stepping up its women’s athleisure game. The mega activewear brand is reportedly opening dedicated “yoga pant studios” in 5,000 of its retail stores starting November 1, with the intention of getting more real estate in your closet and giving brands that’ve held a stronghold there, like Lululemon, a run for their money.

According to Bloomberg, Nike is doubling down on creating more serious, style-driven pieces for women, that will be released next year. With Amazon also reportedly releasing its own activewear line, the one-stop-shop model for chic outfits seems to be a burgeoning trend—and for good reason.

“Our women’s business is outpacing our men’s business, and it will continue to do so.”—Nike brand president Trevor Edwards

While Nike’s apparel for men has historically gotten more attention, it’s now very switched on to the power of women driving the next big fitness fashion wave. (Something Lululemon has been laser-focused on.) “This $7 billion business will continue to be fueled by more women engaging in sport, wellness, and activity,” Nike brand president Trevor Edwards said during a presentation. “Our growth in our women’s business is outpacing our men’s business, and it will continue to do so.”

I guess it’s safe to say that leggings aren’t just a fluffy fashion item—they’re now the Spandex rope in a major game of tug of war that is retail economics.

I guess it’s safe to say that leggings aren’t just a fluffy fashion item—they’re now the Spandex rope in a major game of tug of war that is retail economics.

While Nike might have a leg up in terms of store count (more than a thousand, globally, compared to Lululemon’s 421), Lululemon knows what its doing: The brand did create leggings iconic enough to be featured in a museum, after all. And women-focused retailer Athleta has been chipping away the market hold of both brands with its inclusive messaging, expansion into workleisure and denim, plus a diversified retail business of online, retail, and catalog.

While there’s likely room (and demand) for all of these workout wardrobe all-stars—your closet space could become more of an issue than ever.

Follow these closet-organizing tips to make room for fall leggings. These are on sale right now.