Making an impact in fitnesswear

S280F, S283F and S284F
S280F, S283F and S284F

2016 has been a year of product innovation for SPIRO, the activewear division of Result Clothing. This year alone the brand has introduced countless products for the female fitness market, the latest range being Impact Fitness Wear. P&P editor Melanie Attlesey reports.

The SPIRO brand was formed in 2010, adding activewear products to Result’s already expansive range of garments. One of the key elements of the brand which helps it to stand out among others is the easy ability for clubs and teams to fully co-ordinate their teamwear across garments and colours.

SPIRO and Result also make it incredibly easy for clubs, teams and retailers to replenish their stock because the company carries it for them. “One of the messages that we always try to promote is that our warehouse is your stock,” says managing director, David Sanders-Smith.

Right time, right place

It was Result’s move into a larger warehousing facility in Beccles, Suffolk at the beginning of the year, which has been the driving force behind the product innovation that has taken place. The new warehouse has provided Result and SPIRO with 228,000sq ft of space to work with, increasing the company’s stock holding from £7.5m items to £11m worth of items. “Three years ago we wouldn’t have been able to create all of the new products that we have because we were restricted on warehouse space,” explains David.

SPIRO’s Fitness range dedicated to leisure and fitness landed earlier in the year. Items in this collection feature vibrant colours and stylish contemporary designs to cater to the growing demand for fashionable female activewear. And now to appeal further to this market, SPIRO has just launched Impact Fitness Wear.

The idea stemmed from just one fabric – Softex. This fabric was spotted by the team at a materials fair in Shanghai last year and it was just too good to pass by. The Softex fabric is a peach soft, carbon brushed, quick-dry textile, with high elastane content – 15% Spandex in fact. “We had no real plans to introduce the Impact range, but when we touched the material and saw just how flexible it could be, we then felt obliged to expand the Fitness range,” explains David. “We had something good in our hands and knew that somebody else was going to find it at some stage, so we decided that since we had the warehouse space that we would carry on filling it.” So it was this combination of having the right amount of warehouse space and the right fabric that inspired the launch of the Impact Fitness Wear collection.

S281F and S283F
S281F and S283F

And it appears that the customers are in agreement with David about the quality of the fabric as since the launch in September, SPIRO’s distributors have been reporting record sales. “We already had enquiries about the range through the enquiry line on our website from end-users, PT instructors and such like, asking where and when they can get the product, because they were so excited by the colour range. It is quite unusual to be getting such enquiries in advance of a product launch,” says director, Sara Sanders-Smith.

She adds: “Although it is early days, the feedback we have had from wearers already has been very positive. Wearers have commented on the ease of movement, from dancers to runners to those who wear it for athleisure. They love the feel of it and have said they don’t feel hot or sticky while wearing it. The feel of the material, the loft of it and the drape is just gorgeous. It has a really nice body-hugging feel to it. ”

A unique concept

The bright colours used in the range are a reflection of what can currently be seen in retail environments. Sara explains: “We knew we didn’t have to go corporate with this range, so the colours could be quite retail orientated and a little bit feminine. Turquoise is a big colour and used a lot by PT instructors, while orange is a big trend colour at the moment.”

Both David and Sara agree that they believe the range is completely unique in the fitnesswear market. Sara says: “This range has the highest percentage of elastane in it than any other brand out there on the market.” David adds: “There have been other fitnesswear products released into the market earlier this year, but there wasn’t a complete range. There was the odd garment that could fit into the fitness section, but we more or less drove the sector forward with our products. The launch of the Fitness range earlier in the year was quickly followed by some distributors’ own brand products, but they limit their SKU counts and colours. What we bring to the market place are products of great value and of course great quality. We know we’ve got an elite product that will appeal.”

David admits that as a company their products will never be the cheapest, but what Result and SPIRO have proven is that they can certainly be one of the best. He says: “People recognise the quality and are prepared to pay that extra pound or two for a SPIRO T shirt. They could quite easily buy another T shirt for cheaper, but will find these won’t be made from the same quality fabrics or have the same feel that ours do.

“I think in the printwear market there is an element of brands looking at what other brands are doing and seeing if they can get a price edge on products. I think this is the wrong approach to take. It’s better to get the material aspect correct, and the feel and the design, and the price is a little bit secondary.”

New direction

With the launch of the Impact range, David and Sara saw the opportunity to take the SPIRO brand in a new direction with its look. Regular eagle-eyed readers of Printwear & Promotion will have noticed in the September issue and on the front cover of this month’s issue, the striking new photography used to showcase the collection.

“We wanted the range to live up to its name and to be impactful,” explains Sara. “We felt strongly that the photography should demonstrate the range of movement possible from the garments and to show the bright colour palette. We wanted to give the impression that it is a fresh and colourful range.”

A new photographer and new models were used, while the photos were shot on location in sunny California.

S291X and S290X
S291X and S290X

But the product innovation doesn’t stop at feminine fitnesswear, for last month SPIRO also released a range of Compression sleeves – one for the calf, another for the arm and a final one for the quads. This range was developed for the Chinese market by SPIRO China in Shanghai. After being extremely popular among the very athletic Chinese population, the product has been introduced into the UK. These knitted compression tubes are designed to prevent stiffness, cramp and micro muscle injuries, by absorbing shockwave effects on muscles, veins and joints.

With many more products ready for release in 2017 across both Result and SPIRO, it is clear that this is a company that has no plans to stop growing and developing.

You can see all of these new products and more at Printwear & Promotion LIVE! 2017 in February at the NEC in Birmingham.

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