• Retail Dive/ Daphne Howland

Adidas partners with Universal Standard on size-inclusive collection

Dive Brief:

  • Adidas and Universal Standard on Tuesday launched what the brands called a "collaborative performance collection" in sizes XXS through 4XL.

  • The Adidas and Universal Standard collection is available on adidas.com and in some Adidas stores in New York City, Santa Monica, California, and Portland, Oregon, according to a press release from the companies.

  • Items include a performance hoodie, a top, a tank, a crop mesh tee, a long tight and a short tight, available in four colors (black, "legend Earth," maroon and white). Items range in price from $40 to $90.

Dive Insight:

This collection is all about movement — in the sense of athletic pursuit, but also of a push for size inclusivity that has driven Universal Standard's Alex Waldman, co-founder and chief creative officer, to find partners that recognize, as she puts it, that it's "the only way forward."

"Together with adidas, we want to change the way fashion looks at women and the way women look at fashion," she said in a statement. "This is to the benefit of the industry, the consumer, the idea of diversity, and to creativity itself."

In her own statement, Alison Stewart, vice president of concept development at Adidas, noted that the brand sees the potential for change in this space.

"As a brand, we are always a work in progress and we constantly look for ways to evolve our business," she said. "Our approach to inclusive product creation is born from our commitment to making sport more accessible, and as the industry-leading experts, Universal Standard were the perfect partners to collaborate with. The partnership is designed to inspire and enable all women, as they are."

Athletics retailers, in general, have been more focused on female consumers lately, and are waking up to the specific needs that aren't being met, as well as the lack of female leadership in the sector.

In terms of inclusive sizing, Universal Standard has been at the forefront of the movement to merchandise for all body types and sizes at retailers that don't specialize in petite or plus, and to expand efforts at those that do offer such sizes, often in limited or separate ways. J. Crew is among its other prominent partnerships, and Universal Standard itself broadened its own range a year ago.

As more apparel manufacturers and retailers bring size inclusion to their main floors, specialty players appear to be suffering. Apparel conglomerate Ascena is reportedly mulling the sale of its Lane Bryant and Catherine's plus banners, for example. And plus retailer Avenue in August abruptly shuttered all stores and is winding down its business.