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‘True technical design’: Inside SoulCycle’s fashion ambitions

SoulCycle poached talent from Victoria’s Secret and Barneys, among other fashion brands and retailers, to build the merchandising team.
Called Soul, SoulCycle’s new collection launched on Tuesday is its first designed by its newly created in-house team of designers.SoulCycle poached talent from Victoria’s Secret and Barneys, among other fashion brands and retailers, to build the merchandising team. Previous collections sold by SoulCycle, which has been selling apparel for over a decade, have been designed by collaborators like Public School or sourced from other brands and sold as private label.
in the $50 to $130 price range.The collections release also marks the first partnership between SoulCycle and Nordstrom, the latest retail collaborator SoulCycle has worked with after previous partnerships with Lululemon (a product collaboration) and Target (a multi-city marketing activation).Starting Tuesday, the collection is being sold at 18 Nordstrom stores nationwide, on and through SoulCycles studios and website.
Select styles are exclusive to Nordstrom. SoulCycle has not sold its own label through wholesale partners before.
SoulCycle began marketing the collection at the beginning of February, relying on a combination of social media advertising and more organic advertising of having SoulCycle instructors wear the collection while teaching classes. Just having the instructors wear the pieces from the collection during a class speaks more strongly than words, in terms of marketing, said Caroline Gogolak, vp of retail at SoulCycle, noting instructors were not required to wear the products but were given pieces from the collection.We’ve had a lot of riders come up and ask where their instructors leggings came from, for example.The worlds of athletic clothing and high fashion have been on a collision course recently.
From suits made with performance materials to athletic brands runway presenceWe tried to find a white space in that market where we could fit in, said Gogolak. There are few players providing true technical design.
If you’re in an indoor cycling class or any other athletic activity, you’re really being active. We wanted the product to actually perform, as well as be fashion-forward.Nordstrom’s decision to host SoulCycle’s new collection is consistent with its recent buying process. Over the past few years, Nordstrom has made a reputation of being a starter home for small DTC brands like Thinx, Sandy Liang and Dagne Dover looking to test wholesale.
But the relationship between Nordstrom and the brands it carries has not always been seamless. DTC brand The Arrivals, which partnered with Nordstrom last year, had to scale back on its Nordstrom’s partnership when the retailer put pressure on the brand to expand to a larger number of stores than it could handle.Gogolak said she has not had that experience with Nordstrom.One of the fears of wholesale is that you dont have control, but Nordstrom has acted like a partner, she said.
Nordstrom was not able to comment in time for the publication of this article.For Gologak, SoulCycle’s deeper expansion into fashion has been a unique exercise in brand building.Its unique for us since weve built our brand for a long time. So were starting with feedback on what customers want first and then building the collection after.
Most brands put something out there, test, get feedback and then iterate, but we were able to hear from people for over 13 years and build our collection off of that. It’s like building a brand in reverse.

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