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Asics Launches ‘Anti-Gorpcore’ Clothing Line With Kiko Kostadinov

The Japanese sportswear giant has created a new unisex clothing line called Asics Novalis, alongside long-time collaborator Kiko Kostadinov. The sub-brand will be stocked at retailers like Dover Street Market.
Novalis will launch at Paris Fashion Week in October, and will be stocked at luxury retailers like Dover Street Market.
Behind the scenes at a shoot for a previous Kiko Kostadinov and Asics collaboration. The first Novalis collection is set to launch at Paris Fashion Week in October. (Asics)

Capitalising on the explosive growth of its sneakers in recent years, Japanese performance running giant Asics is launching a new high-end fashion line called Asics Novalis, to be designed by its long-term collaborator, Kiko Kostadinov.

The debut Asics Novalis collection will launch at Paris Fashion Week in October and will be available in luxury retailers like Dover Street Market and The Broken Arm later this year. The assortment will include $520 nylon parka jackets, $420 bomber jackets and water-repellent cargo trousers retailing at $260, according to the brand.

The pieces will be minimalistic and logo-less; they come in muted colours such as black, mauve and mustard. Kostadinov said he intentionally designed each item without the multiple panels, pockets and zips that consumers have come to expect from designer tie-ups with sports brands — a look that falls in line with the gorpcore trend, in which consumers have appropriated technical sportswear for activities like trail running or climbing for everyday attire.

The products were designed to blend in with consumers’ wardrobes rather than being loud statement pieces, Kostadinov told BoF.

“It’s very important to me that we’re not just adding something to the current trend of very male-focused technical wear, you know, guys going around saying: ‘Hey, I have more Arc’teryx stuff than you,’” he said.

A teaser image for Novalis, which is set to be launched at Paris Fashion Week in October.

While the brand already offers apparel in its main line, Asics Novalis will be the first expansion of the brand’s popular sportstyle category, an emerging classification of apparel that sits at the intersection of technical wear and fashion. Asics’ sportstyle sneakers — which became coveted among fashion insiders in recent years — have driven rapid growth for the brand, according to Go Suzuki, Asics’ head of sportstyle. Revenue was up over 30 percent year-on-year in 2022 to ¥54.1 billion ($396.9 million).

Other performance sports brands have also leveraged the popularity of sportstyle into recent growth, including Salomon, On and Mizuno, making them desirable collaborators to an endless list of streetwear and luxury labels. The aesthetic of sportstyle — and gorpcore at large — has emerged as a successor to the streetwear staples of the 2010s: Dunks, Jordans and Yeezys.

Asics first tapped Kostadinov for a sneaker collaboration soon after he graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2017, and his burgeoning reputation as a menswear designer to watch quickly gave the brand credibility as one of the first performance running labels to tap into the fashion and streetwear scene.

Now, the London-based designer is focused on offering consumers something different.

“The market right now is so dominated by hiking, outdoors — everything is so intense,” he said. “But with Novalis we’re focussing on quieter products, rather than repeating what everyone else is doing.”

Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 17 May 2023 to correct the name of the brand ‘Asics Novalis’.

Learn more:

The Gorpcore Empire Behind Salomon and Arc’teryx

Amer Sports plans to scale its three largest companies, including tennis racket maker Wilson, into €1 billion sportswear megabrands by cutting back on wholesale and leaning into their fashion appeal, without altering core product offerings.

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