Athleta brand is giving the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history her own performance wear line and a platform to speak up for other female athletes and women in general.
In a coup for the Gap Inc.-owned women’s brand, superstar gymnast Simone Biles is leaving Nike to join Athleta in a long-term partnership that will include her own signature activewear line. Biles will collaborate with Athleta's design team in development of signature products for aspiring athletes, including plans for multiple capsule collaborations for Athleta’s line for young girls (Athleta Girl).
In addition, Biles and Athleta will work together on initiatives that will encourage girls to rise “and own their limitless potential.”
"Using my voice has been very empowering for me and I am grateful to embark on this new journey with Athleta to inspire young girls and women to do the same," said Biles. "The opportunity to encourage young girls to reach their full potential and be a force for change is incredibly powerful. I admire Athleta for their commitment to recognize and support women's individual and collective strength and, together, I believe we can help girls to confidently and passionately take on the world in their athletic endeavors and beyond."
Biles, along with another Athleta-sponsored athlete, Olympic-winning track and field star Allyson Felix, will be competing in the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Biles was not critical of Nike but said that it was time for a change. She also noted that Athleta, whose workforce is 97% female, is “truly for women by women.”
"Now that I’m older and kind of in the world a little bit more, I see and I know and I learn and I grow from things, so to partner with Athleta, I think they stand for everything that I stand for," she told the Journal.
Athleta said that Biles will connect directly with girls through Athleta's active and engaged community “to inspire honest conversations and help develop programming focused on supporting and lifting up young women and girls.”
"We are excited to welcome Simone to the Athleta family and work together to further our mission of empowering women and girls," said Mary Beth Laughton, president and CEO of Athleta. "Simone believes in championing the next generation of female athletes as much as we do, and we are confident this partnership will continue to build community with our customers and enrich our brand."
Gap Inc. recently announced that Athleta will open 20 to 30 stores annually, and will enter Canada later this year.