Trending: department store workouts

How fashion-focused brands are becoming the next workout destinations

From Harrods in London to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, people are stumbling upon workout studios in the most unlikely of places, like right next to the shoe department. An interest in wellness has become nearly ubiquitous and brick-and-mortar fashion brandsare realizing that they, too, can participate in the world of health and fitness all while bringing added value to their customers. Here’s why it makes more sense than you might think.

London’s Fitness Fashion Boom

The department store pop-up trend firmly started in London, with their very biggest names in retail taking part. Harrods, which has done experiential fitness collaborations with brands like Bodyism, Lululemon, and Equinox, has made a firm commitment to being a destination for health-minded Londoners. Yoga Brunch Club, a London-based producer of pop-up events that involve both food and vinyasa, has hosted several well-attended events at Liberty London, the posh department store.

Perhaps most significant of all, Selfridges has started an initiative called Body Studio, which is focused on inclusivity, regardless of body type or fitness level. With in-house residencies by spin studio Psycle and immersive yoga experience Yung Club, customers can get their sweat fix followed by a little retail therapy. Smartly, it’s a way for brands to get those who prefer to shop online into their physical stores, and a way for customers who aren’t in the know about the newest fitness trends to discover and experience them hassle-free. In other words, the trend is mutually beneficial, which is why it might just stick.

What’s Next?

Stateside, old-school stores are catching on. Saks Fifth Avenue is the first major department store to make a foray into the wellness pop-up space, with their new concept called The Wellery, which is located on the second floor of their Fifth Avenue store. The area includes a space for fitness classes by ConBody, a prison-style bootcamp workout, classes available for shorter periods by studios like Bari and MNDFL Meditation, plus a huge selection of top-of-the-line activewear, fitness accessories, and beauty products.

As for why the store is so keen on getting in on the health-conscious movement, the answer is simple: “Health and wellness have become such a focus in today's society and we are constantly looking for ways to bring new experiences to our customers,” explains Tracy Margolies, chief merchant at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Much like the exclusive fashion brands we offer, The Wellery consists of our ultimate edit of wellness brands.” In other words, the store saw an opportunity to curate wellness much like they do fashion.

The Saks concept will remain open until October 31st. After that, it’s anyone’s guess which shopping destination will be next to jump on the bandwagon, but New York City’s department store fitness pop-up explosion is likely imminent.

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