With the much needed and unfashionably-late improvement in how people talk and preceive woman sports, late 2020 is most certainly a time when we already should be living in a world where maternity sportswear is a basic thing that just exists. But what about getting it the attention it deserves?
Well, count on Nike to take the lead on this one, as no one can get more awareness to sportswear than these folks.
And so, just in time for fall, Nike is launching its first-ever maternity sportswear collection, Nike M – and is about to conqure another segment of potential customers.
As it has been carefully designed with input from athletes, mothers, and Nike staff – both pregnant and post-partum moms are said to find this new gear comfortable and easily wearable.
“The more we listened to expecting mothers and postpartum mothers, the more we learned, reworked and innovated through inclusive design,” said Carmen Zolman, Nike Senior Design Director for Apparel Innovation.
“It’s the project of a lifetime to work in lockstep with all kinds of mothers to bring to life a capsule that truly supports women’s relationship with sport during such a transformative time in their lives.”
The whole initiative comes at a great time for a number of reasons. First, the US Open woman’s tournament is underway in New York, lead by mom-champion (and Nike athlete) Serena Williams – while the men’s brakcet is missing most of its big names. It’s a great chance to be noticed.
Secondly, though the birth rate in the U.S. has been relatively stable, the American maternity market has grown at an average of 3.2% per year in terms of sales.
And according to a New Research study, the worldwide market for Maternity Intimate Wear is expected to grow at a CAGR of roughly 5.3% over the next five years.
“A lot of this growth has come from women spending more on maternity clothing,” said Neil Saunders, retail analyst and managing director of GlobalData Retail.
Despite answering consumer demand – some critics say the new line will be launched in response to last year’s criticism about Nike’s treatment towards its sponsored athletes who became pregnant.
And following the criticism, Nike revised its maternity payment policy.
“Female athletes and their representatives will begin receiving written confirmation reaffirming Nike’s official pregnancy policy for elite athletes,” a Nike spokesperson wrote in an email last year.
“In addition to our 2018 policy standardizing our approach across all sports to ensure no female athlete is adversely impacted financially for pregnancy, the policy has now been expanded to cover 18 months.”
Seems like other sportswear giants are planning to launch a maternity wear line, too. Adidas, for instance, recently wrote on their website:
“Get ready for adidas maternity wear – soon available on adidas.co.uk. Discover sporty outfits to stay active and fit during your pregnancy, or to lounge around in style.”
All the while, Athleta is launching its first-ever sponsored athlete partnership with a women athlete. The athleisure brand teamed up with Olympian, Allyson Felix, to “empower women of all ages.”
The 6-time Olympic gold medalist hopes to inspire women and girls to feel confident, also in what they are wearing.
“The Athleta (Em)Power Hour series aims to keep girls active, positive and motivated and it comes at a time when they need it now more than ever,” Felix said in an interview with Forbes.
Surprisingly or not, the mother and activist is also one of the athletes to call out Nike last year for its maternity policy.
Overall, we think this booming mini-segment is a useful example of how brands can keep expanding, merely by considering other types of people to attend to. The authentic messaging is a well appreciated cherry on the cake.
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