Since the athleisure phenomenon first erupted onto the fashion industry, designer activewear collaborations have abounded — from Stella McCartney x Adidas and Riccardo Tisci and Olivier Rousteing x Nike to A.P.C. x Outdoor Voices and Prabal Sport x Bandier. J.Crew, which has built its ready-to-wear business on khaki ball gowns and preppy basics, has respectfully refrained from joining the commotion, and understandably so: It's not exactly characteristic of the J.Crew woman (i.e., J.Crew's President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons) to wear black Lyrca leggings to brunch. But on Wednesday, the brand revealed its first-ever women's active collection created in collaboration with longtime partner New Balance, and it's a game changer.
The New Balance x J.Crew range, priced $15-$200, features 20 pieces made for actually, you know, working out, including sneakers, pants, shorts, sports bras, tanks, long-sleeved tops and jackets — all made with what a press release deems "techy fabrics" and "unique colors and prints." And in the same vein as its spring 2017 presentation, J.Crew enlisted four "real," fitness-minded women to model the collection for its campaign: Gracie Cavalho (Brazilian model and competitive Muy Thai boxer), Taryn Toomey (founder of The Class), Taye Johnson (celebrity trainer, SoulCycle instructor and DJ), and Rachael Wang (Allure's fashion director and erstwhile runner).
"I admit it: I dread the gym, cannot for the life of me figure out how to clip in and out of a spin bike and the thought of ice cream is the only thing that gets me to do any type of physical exercise," said Lyons in an extremely relatable statement. "But when our friends at New Balance agreed to collaborate with us earlier this year, we jumped. We hope these clothes (along with ice cream) help motivate you to do whatever activity it is you like to do. And if they don't, we still think they look great sitting on the couch."
See Cavalho, Toomey, Johnson and Wang in the New Balance x J.Crew campaign below.