Nili Lotan’s Twin Endeavors: A New Athleisure Line With Champion and Pop-up in Aspen

Nili Lotan is expanding in several directions.

The company  has partnered with Champion Athleticwear to launch an upscale and  limited-edition collection, Champion x Nili Lotan, on June 23. The designer will also open an Aspen, Colo., pop-up on Tuesday.

The collaborative collection combines sport styles with luxury, capitalizing on Champion’s authority in athletic apparel and Lotan’s minimalist design expertise.

The line features a sports bra, biker short, leggings, a tracksuit, zip-up hoodie and a sweatsuit. It is being developed for one season.

Lotan, who is also chief executive officer of her brand, said, “To me, this collaboration is all about athletic meets luxury. How to wear athletic clothes beyond the workout, how to integrate versatile, flexible pieces in one’s wardrobe. The styles in the athletic capsule are all meant to be interwoven with the styles of my main collection. They are perfect for a workout, running errands, lounging on the weekends or travel. One can dress them up or down.”

Prices range from $75 for a classic logo cap to $395 for a track jacket.

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A look from the Champion x Nili Lotan collaboration. courtesy shot.

Lotan, who launched her label in 2003, has previously led design teams at Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne and Nautica.

“I’ve never done a collaboration. This is my first one. It came to me, I was introduced by a friend to the CEO of Champion Europe. We chatted before COVID-19, and they were very much interested in partnering with a high-end women’s clothing line,” said the Israeli-born Lotan. She said Champion has done collaborations for men’s wear with companies such as Supreme and Rick Owens, but “they never had high-end women’s.”

Asked who the collaboration is geared to, Lotan said, “It’s my customer. It will be sold on my platforms and my stores, and the retailers who are selling my clothes. They’re not going to sell it on their platforms. The idea was for them to get my clients — the high-end customer.” Lotan said her collections have always been informed by her lifestyle, which is an active one. She works with a personal trainer every day and also does Pilates.

“To me, what makes this collaboration different is that it wasn’t just about athleticwear, it was about putting together a mini collection, where you wear your athleticwear together with my collection,” she said. She said she’s styling the signature pieces from her collection back to biker shorts, leggings and sports bras. For example, a woman can wear leggings and one of her jackets to the office.

“It’s really athletic meets luxury, and how do athletic clothes work beyond workouts,” said Lotan. Using different fabrics than what is generally used in Champion’s more affordable lines, the company produced the collaborative collection in Italy with high-end fabrics. It carries a Champion x Nili Lotan logo, with Lotan’s name written in script.

To get the word out, Nili Lotan x Champion will place wild postings throughout New York and mount a billboard in Los Angeles.

“In my opinion, this is going to go very quick. It will be gone in a week or two,” she said. She believes the sport bras, the biker shorts and hat will be the bestsellers because they are the most affordable.

In a related move, Lotan will open her first Aspen pop-up in partnership with MAX. Opening Tuesday at 461 East Hopkins Avenue, the 1,500-square-foot boutique will carry the brand’s rtw and accessories from summer, pre-fall and classics collections, as well as select items from the Champion x Nili Lotan collaboration. It will be open through the end of September, but may stay open longer.

“Now that our customer is starting to travel again, I want to be able to meet her wardrobe needs while she’s shopping on vacation this summer,” Lotan said.

Max Martinez, owner of MAX, said, “Nili Lotan has been a longtime favorite designer among my clients in Aspen, so partnering on a pop-up shop together will provide all who visit the perfect destination for wonderfully designed looks for summer holidays and beyond.”

“It will be a full Nili Lotan store, and Max is taking care of the logistics side of it,” she said. “Aspen is where my clients are. We are very successful in Aspen, East Hampton (where she’s had a store for over 10 years) and Palm Beach.”

Lotan has three permanent locations in the U.S., two in Manhattan and one in East Hampton, N.Y. The Aspen boutique was designed with a similar minimalist aesthetic as those locations. She plans to open a store in Palm Beach, Fla., in September, and hopes to open a store in Los Angeles in the next year.

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