Athleisure may be the panacea for creatures of comfort seeking hybrid, multitasking products in a post-pandemic market – and Danish footwear brand ECCO is ready to meet a growing demand for real life comfort and style in the category with a wholly unique take on connecting with consumers.
The company told FN that the global pandemic and new consumer moods swiftly accelerated a focus on delivering fashionable, fun and engaging customer journeys fit for shoppers’ evolving buying habits and lifestyles. And for ECCO, this is coupled with newly integrated and well-known campaigns such as the launch of the #MovesLikeYou brand platform in 2020.
ECCO Athletic Leisure Club (EALC) is a solution and collective response to this profound shift in consumer buying trends and the footwear market at large. Set to launch in late July, the EALC – a “sibling” in the ECCO family – will debut with a fall 21 collection that features men’s and women’s footwear, with a wide range of styles. Price points range from $100 to $180, targeting consumers with a shared attitude of confidence and a spirited outlook on life and community.
“Our journey into athleisure began prior to the global pandemic, and our conviction in the new collection has only strengthened with the dramatic and significant changes to customer lifestyles,” business unit leader Nikolai Rabæk Christensen, told FN. “We knew we needed to double down on product and designs that would work for the ways our customers liked to live life in a new way.”
ECCO explained that the demand for “extremely versatile footwear has become key” – and shoppers are seeking footwear that is adaptable, meets the expectation of comfort with a sporty look and feel, and is ethically and sustainably made, which the brand prioritizes through its slow fashion approach and robust sustainability targets. But perhaps most notably, consumers want hybrid capabilities, taking a “one style stretches across all” approach.
Beyond EALC’s decidedly playful, jaunty aesthetic, the brand caters to shoppers yearning for a feeling of inclusivity in their fashion choices. “Athletic and social clubs have a reputation for being exclusive and selective – the EALC approach is the total opposite of this,” ECCO explained. “We know what we stand for. The ‘club’ proposition was established to help make our customers feel included and part of the evolution the brand will go through. We plan to listen, iterate and adapt.”
“We celebrate all customers, old and new as part of the club, and everyone is welcome. We aim to make our customers feel and look good, create a smile, champion comfort and make everyone feel part of the club.”
Joining the Club
Naturally, the EALC’s fall line-up promises a blend of athletic functionality and sporty style that’s relaxed, yet leisure-focused for its Phorene™, Fluidform™ and GoreTex™ models, think of easy to get on, easy to get off footwear with utilitarian elastic laces that are laced once and never again.
Its color range aligns well with the spirit of the collection, with the introduction of hues such as “matcha” and “blush pink” that contrasts with monochrome colorways, as well as dusty, muted shades, a variety of camouflage prints, and a freshened up take on texture.
EALC’s key products include ECCO EXOSTRIKE in both trainer and boot styles, the ECCO ZIPFLEX, with a distinctive sole design; and the ECCO ELO, that features a wave sole and mix of textures.
Most styles are made with ECCO’s own curated leather and premium blends of fabrics; and its sports materials include Neoprene and GoreTex™. Materials used in the midsole of its Phorene™ model offer all-day comfort and technology for an “energy return,” while Fluidform™ materials are used to shape the interior around the natural shape of your foot for maximum comfort all day long, the brand explained.
ECCO told FN that EALC fundamentally believes in close community collaboration as a cornerstone of the brand’s growth and evolution – engaging the social fabric of local communities around the world.
“Working with likeminded creatives from a multitude of disciplines to develop experiences, local events and concepts will surprise and delight our customers. This is a focus for the EALC team, and we are really excited about this approach, and where it could lead for the ECCO brand.”