P.E Nation clothing, swimwear and accessories will soon be available in H&M stores and online worldwide, thanks to a collaboration between the fast fashion giant and four-year-old Australian athleisure brand.
“It is a massive deal,” P.E Nation co-founders Claire Tregoning and Pip Edwards (pictured, l to r) told Internet Retailing on Thursday morning.
“We’re flattered that the recognition was there, that the brand was noticed halfway around the world and that they understand that we’re trying to make women look and feel good,” Edwards added.
“That [aim] is now going to resonate with women around the world.”
Launching worldwide on March 5, the 30-piece collection is made up of P.E Nation’s best sellers, including leggings, tees, sweatshirts, swimwear, bum bags and other items emblazoned with its signature logo.
P.E Nation designed the items in-house but had input from H&M on the colour palette and ways to make the range more “commercial”, according to Tregoning.
The price point for the H&M collection is about half of what P.E Nation typically charges.
H&M also manufactured the collection, ordering tens of thousands of units per SKU, making it, by far, P.E Nation’s biggest collaboration to date.
“We didn’t think it was real”
It all started back in June 2019, when the brand’s customer service team received an unusual email.
“We received an email from H&M that they wanted to have a discussion around a collaboration,” Edwards said.
“We didn’t think it was real, but we emailed them back and they immediately jumped on a conference call with 20 people.”
From there, the collaboration moved quickly and organically.
“One of the most amazing things I took away [from the process] was that they loved the personality and energy and how it translated to apparel,” Edwards said.
Another aspect of the brand that H&M supported was its focus on sustainability.
Tregoning described P.E Nation’s activewear line as “95 per cent sustainable” – in terms of the material used and suppliers’ certifications – and its sweats, tanks and tees as 100 per cent sustainable. The H&M collection is about 90 per cent sustainable, she said.
“One of the biggest drawcards for us [to collaborate with H&M] was to use their global platform to help push that message of sustainability – to get it to the masses,” Tregoning told Internet Retailing.
Edwards said the business is “so ready” to see a boost in brand awareness from the collaboration with H&M, and is well prepared to handle an influx of customers.
“We set up the business from day dot to be a global business – our supply chain, the whole structure. We can’t wait to see what the impact [of the collection] is, we can’t wait to see how it resonates. There’s no other way for a brand to get more global than this,” she said.
P.E Nation’s annual revenue is in excess of $20 million. It has 280 global stockists and 27 staff. Online makes up 50 per cent of the business.
“It’s going to have a knock-on effect”
According to the co-founders, the H&M collection will not impacted by the coronavirus – production was complete before the quarantines went into effect in China – but P.E Nation is experiencing delays.
“It’s impacting us more and more day to day,” Edwards said. “We have to keep updating our stockists with what’s happening.”
And it’s not just the items currently in production that are experiencing delays. P.E Nation isn’t able to get samples of its next collection made, which it needs to secure wholesale orders.
“It’s going to have a knock-on effect for a good year,” she said. “It’s a serious situation, and even Apple is acknowledging their delivery issues.”
This story first appeared on sister site, Internet Retailing.
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