or a while there, athleisure was downright inescapable. And, for some of us, kind of exhausting. From high-end houses to fast-fashion emporiums, clothes that looked like you could work out in them were the only thing going—even if you never wore them for anything more strenuous than going to brunch.
It’s not that it was a bad look, it’s just that it was everywhere. And when that happens, you get more and more sub-par product as brands look to cash in on the trend. Eventually, something has to give. Either the trend dies entirely, or it changes—and, ideally, turns into something even better.
That’s where Descente comes in. The Japanese brand is new to the United States as of fall 2018, but it’s been around for 83 years. And it’s bringing all that experience and expertise to bear on a space that, frankly, could use a shot in the arm. (Do you really need any more cheap clothes that look performance-driven but aren’t? Does anyone?)
“The sportswear market is at an interesting time where consumers are either gravitating toward disposable fashion, or fewer—but higher quality—garments,” says Fritz Taylor, president of the newly established Descente Athletic Americas Inc., the subsidiary bringing the label to the States. “Our attitude is that less can be more if it’s beautifully made and well thought out.”
That attitude translates to a run of apparel and accessories that are built for the slopes (hence the name “Descente”) and more general athletic endeavors. As in, this gear is actually made to move—not just look like it can. But while some performance gear looks the part in the wrong way, Descente keeps the style intact.
The vibe of the athletic offering is dark, streamlined, and eminently wearable. On the mountain side of things, it’s all about an updated riff on classic slope style (think color-blocking and neon accents). Neither collection is a wholesale departure, aesthetically, from what we’ve seen in the past. But that’s not Descente’s specialty. Rather, the brand is all about tuning in the style so it’s just so—and making the product so it’s just right.
That same attitude is tracking through to the company’s U.S. debut. “We’re not a chest-thumping kind of brand at all. We’re more of a ‘let’s do this right’ brand,” says Taylor. We’ve got product that we believe in, so let’s get people interested. Once they have a chance to touch it, feel it, and understand the thought and attention we’ve put into it, I believe they will become hooked.”