Forbes Magazine spoke to Tyler about her company philosophies and what makes the brand so special - and successful! Read on for our excerpt :)
'Outdoor Voices lives by the simple tenet that “doing things is better than not doing things.” The entire company attends yoga every Monday at Sky Ting in New York City, and gets together for a standing monthly pickup basketball game in Chinatown they call “Friday dribble dribble.” For fans outside the office, Outdoor Voices hosts a monthly O.V. Joggers Club where attendees meet at their headquarters on Canal Street and go for a run together after work, often ending at a bar a few miles away for happy hour.
“At Outdoor Voices, we’re active, but not necessarily defined by it,” says Tyler, a message she says resonates with her customers. “We created a line of activewear that’s technically constructed to perform, but sartorially designed for paths, fields, streets, and everything in between.”
Tyler had plans to run track in college, but headed to New York instead to study design at Parsons. While at school, she became obsessed with technical fabrics and performance materials.
“I loved the idea of textured technical fabric for working out, because it’s designed to perform but it also disguises imperfections and is much more flattering than a matte black legging,” Tyler said.
She began digging into new technological fabric, investigating in the science of fabrics and their impact on bodies during movement, and started visiting the mills that produced fabric for brands like Lululemon and Nike in search of what would become her core fabric.
Generally, athletic apparel conjures visions of mesh, shiny spandex, and printed neon-colored leggings, but Outdoor Voices, whose design team hails from brands like Calvin Klein, Alexander Wang, and Lululemon, features a more subdued color palate. “I felt there was a huge gap aesthetically between the clothing I was wearing in my everyday life and the active apparel available on the market,” said Tyler. “I’m drawn to greys, navy, and charcoal tones and I kept asking myself why there wasn’t an activewear line with clean, simple silhouettes and understated but really high-quality composition.”
With so many brands launching activewear as extensions of their brands however, the market has become increasingly competitive.
“There’s been this athlesiure trend,” Tyler said, “But for us it’s been so important to stay core active and on the functional side of it. The active part of activewear can’t be a second thought, and we like to think of everything we make in terms of “tech and rec.” I think a lot of these brands will ride the trend, but for us, we’re hyper-focused on continuing to deliver the highest quality product we can, and that’s made to actually sweat in.”
...Outdoor Voices is also part of a new generation of digital-first brands. Last may, they launched a social campaign with the motto of “Doing Things” where everyone from Allison Williams to GQ editor John Jannuzzi posted photos of themselves Doing Things in Outdoor Voices gear. Lena Dunham was their first celebrity fan, who posted a photo of herself running in a legging and crop top set accompanied by a heartfelt caption.
“We haven’t been celebrity focused and we wanted to build the brand in an authentic way. But seeing this happen has been super neat. There couldn’t have been a better person to represent the brand or caption we felt more strongly standing behind—it’s spot on, and we’re thrilled Lena has learned to enjoy running,” Tyler said of her excitement of Lena’s post.
Outdoor Voices also recently did a collaboration with Leandra Medine from uber popular Man Repeller website. They found her to be a perfect partner as a young professional who is active but her active lifestyle is not her main focus. The OV x Man Repeller Kit sold out within three days.
“Fit, movement, and comfort are key,” said Tyler, “We want to give people the opportunity to try everything on in-person, touch the fabrics and hop, skip, and jump around before they purchase something.” - As told to Forbes Magazine