Industry Watch: Style-Driven

LIJA Style’s Linda Hipp discusses the fashion industry’s evolution of active apparel

LIJA originated as Hyp Golf back in 1997, as a women’s golf apparel brand. As an avid golfer, I saw there was a real need in the market for more youthful, style-driven golf apparel. Many of the women’s brands were catering to an older, more conservative golfer, but the largest demographic taking up the game were younger, corporate women. I knew there had to be many women like me who cared about dressing fashionably and functionally on the golf course—and I was right.

Linda’s Picks
The founder shares her top reads

[A Must-Have]
The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution by Brian Solis
“I recently read this book and found it interesting. It details the power of social media and how consumers are being trained to look at information differently.”

[Prime Periodical]
The New Yorker
“New York is such a hub for trends, and the New Yorker provides me with updates on fashion, celebrities, and music. It keeps me current.”

[Key Resource]
Stylesight.com
“Stylesight provides information on current trends, street style, retail, packaging, and forecasting on styling and colours. It’s a wealth of information in one spot.”

[Trend Blog]
The Sartorialist

“I really find watching trends on the streets one of the greatest inspirations, and Scott Schuman does a wonderful job of communicating style from London, Paris, and New York when I can’t physically be in those places

In Canada, there are many levels within the fashion industry. Now that our product mix includes golf, tennis, run, and studio, I feel LIJA fits into the active- or lifestyle-apparel category, a great place to be. Many active-apparel success stories have come out of Canada, giving this category global recognition. We have found that new buyers are open to us because of our 15-year tenure and because of the recognition Canada has received within the active market.

The most noticeable shift in the industry since I’ve been in business is that it moves much faster now than it used to. It’s always a quest to find what’s new and different, while also being very consistent within our brand. It’s fast fashion, and the ability to shop online really changed things. There is stronger competition, so you have to be an excellent provider of basics and seasonal trending.

Before, there were very clear trends in the marketplace, and there was pressure to adhere to those trends. Now, there are so many different choices and so much acceptance of different types of style. Active/lifestyle apparel is so prominent now. Some high-end designers have been inspired by this movement, which gives the market even more recognition.

Technology definitely affects my industry. Everyone takes advantage of social media, and if you don’t, you’re going to be left behind. It’s the whole idea of instant gratification and the instantaneous access to information. We recognize the importance, so we have a dedicated team that focuses on social media. We’re not quite where we want to be, but we’re implementing new strategies. Personally, I really love how technology has shifted the industry. Now, we can be in direct communication with our consumers, not just the buyers. Social media allows us to hear what consumers want, and build a connection with them in a way we were never able to before.