This Former Nike Director’s New Activewear Line Has *Major* French Girl Vibes

Photo: Wone
It all started with a pair of black leggings. Or, more precisely, black leggings that would satisfy Kristin Hildebrand's requirements: high-end fabrics, pared-down silhouettes, and a flattering fit. The only problem? They didn't exist. "I'd spend hours browsing online, and all of the leggings would have nods to performance," says the former creative concept director for women's at Nike. "A coverstitch here, a flatlock there, paneling, mesh inserts, colorblocking. I didn't need any of that."

That quest for simplicity inspired Hildebrand to design Wone, her new collection of luxury activewear separates, which opened preorders on Monday and expects to deliver its first pieces on June 1. Pronounced "one," the brand embraces minimalism, quality, and refinement. "My intention is to make the most amazing product on the planet—period, the end," Hildebrand says.

While the separates are tough enough to withstand back-to-back spin sessions, they're also sophisticated.

Instead of creating dozens of designs, she created just five: a short, a tee, a long-sleeved crop top, a spaghetti-strap sports bra, and leggings. All are black ("universal and timeless," Hildebrand says) and have a subtle, expensive-looking sheen.

That quality comes at a cost, though, and Hildebrand acknowledges that Wone's price point—$150 to $320—puts it at the higher end of the activewear market with brands like Ultracor, Laain, Michi, and No Ka'oi.


But, she says, there are good reasons behind the pricing. First, there's the construction. She uses couture finishing techniques to create pieces that support and sculpt without showing off seams and stitches.

Hildebrand also proudly points out that these fabrics—which cost $20 to $25 a yard (compared to $2.50 to $4 for fabrics more typically used in activewear), are guaranteed through 50,000 washes. Typically worn for intense athletic events like the Tour de France, they're ultra-fine, interlock, high-powered knits composed of polyamide/elastane material that doesn't warp or stretch with wear.

The result: separates that are tough enough to withstand back-to-back spin sessions and sophisticated enough to wear with Balenciaga sneakers or Chanel ballet flats.

"Sticking to classic silhouettes brings you to a place of sustainability."

"By sticking to classic silhouettes that aren't so of-the-moment, that brings you to a place of sustainability," Hildebrand says.

Plus, you won't see everyone in the same crop top: Wone produces only 600 units of each style per season, and it plans to create only two collections every year.

If all of this sounds like a quieter and more thoughtful approach to activewear, that's Hildebrand's goal. "Actually, this less-is-more approach extends to life, to dressing, to even cleaning up your mind, too," she says. How very French, indeed.

Don't forget to look at this season's sporty It bag—and see why fashion is borrowing from athleisure more than ever.

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