DISCOVER LONDON - LONDON IS WORLD LEADER IN ACTIVE WEAR
Discover London: the LTP team share the must-visit stores and neighbourhoods for the best activewear in the capital
Whether you're travelling for product development, seeking fresh design inspiration or looking for new aspirational brands, London’s become the hot spot for activewear with stores from the best homegrown talent to the international players. The capital has become a world leader for sportswear from performance driven outerwear to athleisure, the most innovative activewear can be found in London. With that in mind, the LTP team has compiled an insiders guide of unmissable brands, retailers, department stores and flagships that are top of their list when travelling to the city.
First stop Soho
Now, the sportswear hub of London thanks in part to influential cycling brand Rapha, who first opened their flagship clubhouse back in 2012. Not only home to the brands premium cycling apparel but also a meeting place for road riders from around the world. Grab a coffee and a croissant from the in-house café, whilst perusing the extensive range of on-and-off bike apparel and accessories. The iconic designs include the classic all-weather technical jersey made from the brands signature merino wool fabric for close-to-skin comfort, and the essential bib short with built-in dual density pad.
Further along from Rapha’s clubhouse on Brewer Street, Stone Island, Carhartt, Champion and Colmar are all worth a visit.
Next, take a short walk to Carnaby Street. The area is home to many sportswear brands including The North Face, Columbia, Adidas Originals, Napapijri, and Puma. Taking a corner spot on the street Sweaty Betty opened the flagship at 1 Carnaby Street in 2017. Three floors of fashion, fitness, food and beauty, it’s easy to spend an afternoon here. The top floor is home to the Farm Girl cafe whilst Heartcore just took up residence in the downstairs studio. The ground floor stocks all the brands latest products. Sweaty Betty’s signature bum-sculpting leggings with functional phone pocket are getting rave reviews both in and out of the gym.
British designer Christopher Raeburn, known for turning waste into fashion recently opened a pop-up in the area. The Newburgh Street store also doubles up as a creative studio to host a wide range of events and workshops. Under the brands mantra “remade, reduced, recycled” the designer reworks surplus fabrics and garments to create a collection of sustainable cultworthy pieces with a utilitarian-meets streetwear aesthetic.
Another newcomer, END. Clothing’s opened a new London flagship on Broadwick Street. Spanning two floors, expect to find luxury streetwear and contemporary fashion from brands such as Off-White, Stone Island Shadow Project, Comme Des Gar?ons, Nike ACG, Moncler and Adidas. Stocking wall-to-wall trainers this store is also a sneakerhead’s dream.
A trip to Soho wouldn’t be complete without a stroll down Regent Street. Home to some of the sporting heavyweights including new flagships from Lululemon and Asics. Nike's tech-enabled flagship Niketown is not to be missed. The sporting powerhouse successfully unites digital and physical retail in the largest sports clothing and footwear department in Europe. Checkout the recently renovated womenswear floor which is designed to promote women’s sport and inclusivity.
After perusing all 3 floors wander down Oxford Street to stop at sportswear giants New Balance and Adidas.
Continue on to Shackleton’s first pop-up store in Mayfair. Open until March 2020 the Duke Street store is home to the brands extreme-weather performance apparel and the collection is specifically engineered for extremes. Garments are field-tested in the Arctic and Antarctica. The expedition-grade collection has been worn by a number of record-breaking polar explorers; scientists researching the effects of melting sea ice; and photographers and film crews working in sub-zero temperatures. However the function-first brand recognises that not all products will be used in such extremes, therefore championing the products everyday comfort for peak-to-pavement appeal.
Next stop Selfridges. Visit the third floor Body Studio, home to fashion, fitness and wellbeing from 50+ brands including Adidas by Stella McCartney, Aussie label The Upside and LNDR. With a dedicated following, LNDR’s technical performance-wear is ultra-comfortable for 24/7 wear. The signature seamless leggings and sports bras are ergonomically designed to support and sculpt the body both in and out of the gym.
Not forgetting Selfridges reimagined menswear floor, stocked with brands such as Off-White, Ader Error, A Cold Wall, A Bathing Ape and Kenzo. The collections are set amongst a wooden skate bowl.
Meet London’s next generation of activewear brands on Kings Road
The iconic Kings Road has always been an important address for sportswear, designer brands and stores are positioned alongside mid-market options like GapFit. The latest sports-luxe brand to land on the street is Castore Sportswear. The location is the premium brand’s first flagship store which carries the full range of gym, running, tennis, golf and technical lifestyle collections, as well as the newly launched womenswear line and a golf simulator for customers to try before they buy. Every piece is road-tested by elite athletes to optimise athletic performance resulting in the very best in product design. The brand has a host of celebrity fans including tennis star Andy Murray. The pair collaborated on the newly launched Castore x AMC collection. Whilst honouring the brands signature, the line pays homage to traditional tennis apparel from the late seventies with a softly retro vibe. Castore’s core line is also noteworthy, combining advanced engineering, technical fabrics and timeless aesthetic for a winning combination.
Another must-visit on Kings road is Lucas Hugh’s first retail space dubbed ‘The Fitting Room’. The technical women’s activewear brand with a futuristic design aesthetic works in-and-out of the gym. The Creative Director also designed the athletic kit featured in The Hunger Games.
Whilst in the area it’s worth visiting Nike’s first European women’s-only store and Reebok's FitHub.
Newcomer: Coal Drops Yard
Just a short walk from Kings Cross the restored railway arches of Coal Drops Yard has been transformed into a modern space to shop, eat and drink. New to the roster of activewear destinations, Coal Drops Yard is home to Outsiders Store, a British-born concept store which stocks a curated edit of contemporary outdoor clothing, footwear and accessories. A must-visit for outdoor apparel, the retailer showcases brands such as Kl?ttermusen, Montbell and Snow Peak as well as outdoor powerhouses such as Patagonia, The North Face and Arc’teryx.
Also in the new neighbourhood, don’t miss The Sports Edit flagship. The holistic retail spot stocks a selection of new and innovative labels including Varley. With a celebrity following the premium activewear line with gym-to-street appeal is definitely one-to-watch.
Short on time
If you’ve got hours rather than days to get to grips with the best that London has to offer, head to Harrods 5th floor sportswear department for a one stop shop. Home to a wide variety of brands for multiple disciplines. Expect to see the best of Bogner’s innovative skiwear, Vaara’s fashionable all-day active apparel, Fendi’s signature activewear line and a curated edit from US sportswear giant Under Armour.
Alternatively go online. Take the legwork out of sportswear shopping with luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter. A pioneer of online shopping Net-A-Porter launched its sportif division affectionately dubbed Net-A-Sporter back in 2014. The e-tailer is home to a large range of the latest and greatest sportswear brands including Adam Selman Sport, Alo Yoga, Ernest Leoty, Girlfriend Collective, Reebok x Victoria Beckham, Templa, P.E Nation, Wone and Year of Ours, to name a few.
Keeping it in the family, the menswear equivalent Mr Porter also offers a wide assortment of performance wear from well-known labels to specialist brands including the menswear must-haves Soar Running, Tracksmith, Café du Cycliste and Iffley Road.
A deep dive into London would not be complete without mentioning online-only Vollebak. The London-based trailblazer is building the future of adventure wear by fusing science and technology. Launching a new concept every month the brand presents the future of tomorrow, today. With a succession of industry first’s the brand uses new production methods and never seen before materials to push the boundaries of design. The brand pioneered the world’s first Graphene Jacket, using the only material in the world with a Nobel Prize. They also released a t-shirt made from plant and algae which can biodegrade in 3 months, a solar charged jacket, a relaxation hoodie, a color-morphing jacket and 100 year clothing. As well as LTP team favourite a deep sleep cocoon, built with space travel in mind. Innovation is high on the agenda at Vollebak. Not afraid to think the unthinkable, the brand are definitely one to have on your radar as we move into the new decade.
LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991 and is probably the biggest functional garment manufacturer in Europe with BlueSign? setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam.
LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in ten fully-owned factories.