Swedish brand Under the Same Sun talks growth and athleisure
Emelie Lindgren and Anna Engellau have come a long way since launching their sustainable activewear label Under The Same Sun. The duo met in a yoga class, became friends, and later launched the yoga brand in 2013 despite not having formal fashion design training.
“We searched for a long time for activewear that let us embrace both our love for fashion, function/fit and green thinking but turn up empty handed,” they said. “Finally we decided to take matters in to our own hands and start Under the Same Sun.”
Under the Same Sun is designed for high performance yoga, swim, and surf wear, all while ensuring UV protection, breathable fabrics and a low environmental impact. The products are designed in Sweden, produced in Los Angeles and constructed with a Newlife Premium Polyester fabric made from recycled water bottles (the fabric uses 53% less energy and water and produces 54.6% less greenhouse gas emissions than regular polyester).
The Swedish activewear brand is currently stocked in approximately 10 global retailers, one of which is Urban Outfitters, which helped put the brand on the map worldwide. The duo took time to speak to FashionMag about the brand, its expansion and the athleisure trend.
FashionMag: How does Under The Same Sun differentiate itself from other yoga brands?
Under the Same Sun: We spend a lot of time on our prints to give them a more sophisticated and high end feel then most other yoga brands. For our more simple items, the fit and quality is an obsession of ours. We want them to be your go to favorites—the first things you wear after laundry day! Our goal is to make athleisure wear that you want to wear out of your practice too.
FM: To you, what does athleisure fashion mean?
UtSS: Not compromising, being comfortable and stylish at the same time. We met the head designer of one of the biggest fashion houses that felt that this new trend was the death of fashion. I think it’s just evolving as people’s needs and awareness develops. It will be fun to see how it develops in the coming years.
FM: How was the response at Urban Outfitters, and how does it feel expanding in the US?
UtSS: Seemingly out of nowhere we got over 300 new followers on Instagram in a little under 24 hours. We figured out that Urban Outfitters had posted our leggings on their account, which had promoted our new following. Being a young brand and getting such a warm welcome was an amazing feeling. The US market is the front-runner in this booming trend and we are excited to be a part of it.
FM: What have you learned selling in Sweden that you can apply to the US market?
UtSS: Staying true to our own aesthetic and be willing to go the extra mile. The Scandinavian and North American markets are both very aware and interested in eco-conscious products and sustainable living. The Scandinavian consumer is more conservative when it comes to choice of color and print. They tend not to want to stick out of a crowd. Seems like the colorful melting pot of North America has given their consumers a more versatile background that inspires a more bold and experimental thinking when it comes to fashion.
FM: Have you noticed any differences between the American and the European consumers?
UtSS: That is a really hard question to answer since Europe is made up of so many different countries, all with different tastes and needs. But to sum it up in broad strokes the American consumer is more comfortable with bolder prints and colors. They are also a bit a head of the game regarding the athleisure trend since it has been around in the US longer.
The US market was undoubtedly first [in athleisure], but the trend is spreading quickly. Selfridges in the UK has just opened a new department with this focus and Ludwig Beck in Germany will launch theirs in August. It’s only a matter of time until it is common in most markets.
FM: Do you have any plans to develop the brand outside Sweden and the US?
UtSS: Ever since day one our goal was to expand worldwide. We are currently stocked in retailers in Dubai, Australia, Germany, and the UK among others. In Sweden and the US combined, we are in about 10 stores so far.
Starting out we did all the sale and distribution ourselves. Now we have agents in the US, Germany and in Australia. It’s important to find the right people to work with that understand the trend and our ethos. We are lucky to have found such great people to work with
FM: Do you feel that the increase in yoga and athletic brands is just a trend or is it the new normal?
UtSS: It is a real trend and it is growing rapidly with big fashion houses jumping on the bandwagon. It is without a doubt a new normal. And what a great new normal it is too! Working out has become a part of who we are rather then something you had to find time to do.
FM: Lastly, what are your plans for the near future and your long-term goals?
UtSS: It’s a busy fun time for us right now. We are expanding the collection with new sustainable fabrics and garments making Under the Same Sun even more of a lifestyle brand. We are developing a few new products with a fabric called cupro. Super soft! Can’t wait to share it with the world.
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