While the world stops and waits patiently for what may be the most anticipated album of the year, Beyoncé has set her sights beyond the music landscape with the imminent launch of Ivy Park, a new athleisure line for women. The apparel brand, created in partnership venture with Topshop, was announced in October of 2014, for what was originally planned to be a 2015 launch.
Today, the performer and Top Shop rolled out the Ivy Park website, released a video teaser and Instagram tease (where she has more than 65 million followers) plus twin covers of Elle showing her wearing the collection — along with social outposts on YouTube, Instagram (which passed 45,000 followers in three hours), Facebook and Twitter. Next month the collaboration will go on sale in-store and online at Topshop, Nordstrom and Zalando.
A trip to the Ivy Park website immediately takes you to a slideshow of photos featuring Beyoncé and models getting physical in Ivy Park attire, to the tune of Beyoncé’s controversial single “Formation.” The slideshow allows the viewer to click onto the slideshow to switch up the photos and music. Beyoncé fanatics are already speculating that the instrumental tracks may be a preview of tracks on her upcoming album.
The otherwise minimalist Ivy Park website offers nothing more than bare details about the line for now. The introduction video, which is narrated by none other than Beyoncé herself, describes the inspiration for the line, which includes a kids collection, as shown on her daughter with Jay Z, Blue Ivy.
“Ivy Park empowers women through sport — no matter what your sporting ability or body shape,” the brand website states. “The collection centres on a core of sports staples: leggings in three rises, crop tops, drop arm tees, sweatshirts and technical jackets.”
The description for the video, a Nike-esque effort that intercuts scenes from her life and a Houston park where (a voiceover says) her father took her running as a kid with shots of the collection being modeled by the singer, her daughter and others: “IVY PARK is merging fashion-led design with technical innovation. Creating a new kind of performance wear: modern essentials for both on and off the field.”
Expanding her brand into the red-hot athleisure (a hybrid of athletic wear and leisurewear) category is a smart move for Bey. As BuzzFeed notes, “Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck says activewear could be the retail industry’s “most important” trend since the rise of skinny jeans a decade ago, while surveys show teen girls are increasingly trading denim in for athletic clothing.”
— Ivy Park (@WeAreIvyPark) March 31, 2016
Adding Beyonce’s Ivy Park brand to the mix means analysts at Barclays may have to revise upwards their estimate for the US activewear market to grow by almost 50% — to more than $100 billion at retail — by 2020.
Many apparel giants like Nike, Lululemon and adidas have found an open space in the market for those who are constantly on the run between the gym and the rest of the world, and have begun offering stylish apparel that blurs the line between casual and athletically inclined apparel. Although the athleisure industry may seem like a fad to some, celebrities like Kanye West and Kylie Jenner have jumped into the game and developed athleisure wear in the last year for other apparel companies.
While the Ivy Park website describes the line as one that is “merging fashion-led design with technical innovation” to create “modern essentials for both on and off the field,” the line has already set itself up for the possible expansion in the future. A look at the “Ivy Park” trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark office offers some clues into what kinds of offering the Ivy Park brand may expand into.
The application for the “Ivy Park” word mark indicates its intent to register the mark into a few classes. One of the classes indicates that the mark is to be used in conjunction with more traditional athletic apparel, such as tracksuits, sweatshirts, leggings, and trainers. However, a look into the other proposed class registrations reveals the possibility for much more, from travelling bags, suitcases and casual bags to jewelry, perfumery, makeup and moisturizers, the Ivy Park brand seems to have thought of the possibility of expanding beyond athleisure offerings sometime in the future.
In one other side note for the RUN DMC-like stacked word mark, the USPTO only shows an application for the mark in a non-stylized form, not for the logo shown in the collection and on social media, which could be an issue in the future unless Beyonce’s team puts a (legal) ring on it.
Mike Ortega is an Associate Trademark Consultant for Interbrand in New York City.