WWD Exclusive: AE Brand Launches Men’s Activewear

By: Kellie Ell | Link to article

“We call it couch to court,” AEO’s Jennifer Foyle said about the new AE 24/7 collection.

American Eagle is upping its menswear game.

The AE Brand, which is part of the American Eagle Oufitters family, is growing its menswear business with the launch of a new activewear collection for men called AE 24/7, meant to be worn “whenever, whatever, wherever,” according to Jennifer Foyle, president and executive creative director of the AE, Aerie and Unsubscribed brands.

“We call it couch to court,” Foyle told WWD in an exclusive interview. “It’s comfortable sportswear that you can work out in, but also live in. On the court or off the court, we’re going to offer an outfit for him.”

That explains the collection’s three main categories: “Good Vibes” (meant to be worn all day); “Hangout” (with soft fabrics meant for lounging), and “Training” (think moisture-wicking and performancewear).

“It’s no different than our leggings business,” Foyle added, referring to the retailer’s activewear brand for women, Offline by Aerie. “With our girls who go to yoga and then coffee [in the same leggings].”

In fact, the success of Offline, which the company launched in the summer of 2020 — and the continued evolution of the activewear and wellness markets, which show no signs of slowing down, even in inflationary times — have been major catalysts for AE 24/7.

“The men’s activewear business is a growing market,” Foyle explained. “There’s white space there for innovation at the right price points.”

The executive added that in the last year the nameplate brand had “nice results in men’s. We realized there’s something there [for more]. We’ve carried elements of men’s activewear before. Now we’re just rounding it out in general. We’re offering a more robust product offering.”

But it’s not just menswear that’s growing. The entire American Eagle Outfitters’ portfolio — which includes the AE, Aerie, Offline, Todd Snyder and Unsubscribed brands — is on a roll thanks to its niche in the market. The retailer recently had its second highest holiday sales period in the company’s history and is on track to reach the high end of its quarterly expectations.

The company will release its full, fiscal year 2022 results on March 1.

Meanwhile, the AE 24/7 collection launches today at ae.com and in select stores. Pieces from the assortment will slowly roll out to more stores as the company continues to gather learnings, Foyle said. The collection — which comes in sizes XS to 3XL and ranges in price from $19.95 to $69.95 — includes T-shirts, shorts, boxer briefs, hoodies, joggers and accessories, such as hats, socks and messenger bags. About 100 pieces in total, including various colorways. In addition, many of the pieces are made from sustainable fabrics.

The collection will kick off with a 48-hour social media challenge, asking YouTube, TikTok and Instagram influencers and creators to post reels of themselves in pieces from AE 24/7, demonstrating what being active means to them.

“The video clips get you into the soul of the brand, the DNA,” Foyle said. “It’s a whole 360 approach.”

“The whole AE brand is coming to life,” she added. “I’m so excited for what’s to come with this brand — the whole portfolio. There’s an end game here and we could really win in the men’s activewear category.”