Premium athletic and yoga sportswear brand hailing from the United Kingdom, Sweaty Betty, has opened a Hong Kong shop in Central’s ifc Mall following a leap in sales in recent years. This marks the brand’s very first store in Asia, a region ripe for launching fitness-oriented products, especially thanks to a booming health and wellness sector.
British women’s activewear brand, which is often compared to Canadian counterpart and rival Lululemon, has just opened a shop in Hong Kong’s ifc shopping mall, its first retail store in the Asian region. Following an 18% rise in turnover from last year, which reflects the global appetite for athleisure apparel, the brand now boasts over 60 locations across Europe, the United States and now Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong store will feature the brand’s entire collection, as well as added services available at their London Carnaby flagship, such as monogramming, free-flow kombucha drinks, personal shopping experiences and yoga classes.
Commenting on the launch, Sweaty Betty chief executive Julia Straus told The Evening Standard: “We are mindful of economic and political uncertainty, but shoppers don’t seem to be holding back on fitness-related spending…as people increasingly concentrate on health and wellbeing.”
Founded in 2000 by Tamara Hill-Norton, Sweaty Betty has broken through the competitive activewear industry by providing powerful and beautiful sports clothing designed by women for women. From the gusset and the hemming to the seam details, Tamara explained in an interview with Vogue that they have a “big focus on the fit, and the team really pays a lot of attention to how it looks on a woman’s body.”
A part of what has made the company successful is also their value placed on functionality – each pair of Sweaty Betty’s leggings are not only meant to flatter appearance-wise but are sweat-resistant and comfortable for any type of exercise. Unlike the human rights scandals that have recently hit their competitor Lululemon, the company has made pledges to follow strict regulations regarding modern slavery, ensuring that they source only from suppliers compliant to international codes of conduct.
After starting out as with one store in London’s trendy Notting Hill neighbourhood, the brand – led by an all-female team – has since travelled far, and has gained quite a cult following with a large European and US fanbase proudly donning Sweaty Betty’s signature leggings.
According to company figures, during the first half of 2019, they sold one pair of its premium leggings every minute. Back in 2018, the company partnered up with luxury fashion behemoth Nordstrom to launch 25 “shop-in-shops” across the United States and relaunched their website to tailor it to mobile online shopping in order to appeal to the tastes of tech-savvy young consumers.
Sweaty Betty’s launch in Hong Kong is bound to attract the region’s consumers, who have shown a dramatic shift in interest towards health and wellbeing in recent years. According to figures from a 2018 report by market consultancy Oliver Wyman, Asia’s wellness and fitness trend is riding on an all-time high: sales in the industry have jumped 30% in just a decade, a reflection that Asian consumers are more willing to pay premium prices for high-quality health and fitness products and services than ever before.
Other major fitness brands have capitalised on the trend in Hong Kong, such as integrated wellness company Pure who have since their inception opened up 20 gyms and yoga studios, including one in Hong Kong’s airport lounge, launched multiple locations of their organic food concept noodfood and debuted their own line of Pure Apparel.
Sweaty Betty Hong Kong: Shop 1028, Podium Level One, ifc Mall, 1 Harbour View Street, Hong Kong. Open Daily: 10AM – 10PM.
Lead image courtesy of Green Queen.