Into the land of fashion giants comes a Brooklyn athletic wear brand determined to Inject new vigor Into the genre, as well as kick the “shrink and pink” approach to women’s lines
by Evan Monroe
If jazz is what America added to the history of music, then its contribution to fashion is without question athletic wear. As early as the mid 1920s, U.S. advertisers were advancing the notion that “sports type” apparel was also suitable for everyday activities and one 1929 Vogue ad placed by Abercrombie and Fitch stated that men found women “more approachable” when ladies wore what was also referred to at the time as “resort wear.”
Of course, today, activewear, which includes hoodies, tracksuits, yoga pants, and traditional sportswear, is a trillion dollar industry, with behemoths like Nike and Adidas at the forefront, helped by restless reinvention from names like Philip Lim, Stella McCartney, The Upside, and Without Walls.
Into these august ranks bursts Matthew Rosetti, cofounder of both the Brooklyn Running Company and RunBK, a boutique running lifestyle brand that just released a designed in Brooklyn line of athletic wear.
“Running apparel brands have increasingly defaulted as an attempt at differentiation to pursuing and promoting overthought technical performance designs at the expense of style,” Rosetti explained. “Why can’t the consumer have both? RunBK endeavors to reach that Holy Grail.”
Launched as a dedicated men’s line, the company’s style and palette were intentionally discreet and muted, with a production emphasis on sustaining the brick and mortar supply channel and supporting local running communities.
“The first pieces were very NYC, very Brooklyn, very urban,” said Rosetti. “Almost approaching gender neutral. However, our view was, and remains, that the women’s market is saturated and that our best opportunity was to first establish a foothold in the men’s sector. A funny thing happened along the way: women embraced the brand. We sold out of smalls! As a means of voicing their frustration with the industry’s standard approach to designing for their gender ‘shrink and pink,’ we call it women are buying us up. Our brand’s slogan is ‘cross the bridge, ‘and I think we did.”