At first glance, the Outdoor Voices storefront blends in with its residential surroundings. Emblazoned with the words “You are Here: 606 Blanco St.,” concrete steps welcome those passing by to Outdoor Voices' first and only brick-and-mortar shop (for now) in the Clarksville Historic District. It's a building with a modern Spanish flair, painted white and housed under Spanish roof tiles that is home to the flagship OV shop as well as the company’s Austin office.
By Caitlin Phan
Photos by Kristin Evans
The store is flooded with natural light, making its all-white interior glow under the afternoon sun. The shop’s eclectic décor offsets an array of neatly-folded minimalist activewear. Vases in varying shapes and colors sit atop cinder blocks, with nearby mismatched tables and vivid green plants. Photo prints of people in athletic poses adorn the wall above the fireplace and coffee table books sit perched on the mantle, giving the store a homey feel. OV carries your basic sports bras, athletic tops and leggings, but also stocks sweats and skorts. Their activewear is minimalist by design, but they’re anything but basic. OV’s products are defined by their bright colors and lush textures, a far cry from your matte black lululemon leggings. A well-curated selection of gifts and accessories, like Kinfolk Magazine, Spalwart shoes and BAGGU totes, sit alongside the OV-brand products.
Tyler Haney, the brand’s founder and CEO, created Outdoor Voices because she wanted activewear that wasn’t as intense or as neon as Nike. OV’s #DoingThings campaign is a cheeky contrast to Nike’s #JustDoIt slogan, encouraging its customers to participate in any physical activity that makes them feel amazing. Haney’s brand isn’t about pushing yourself to your limits, but instead focuses on lighthearted fitness while looking and feeling good.
Amanda McArthur, OV’s marketing and partnerships director, met Haney two years ago when she started doing trunk shows. “I instantly fell in love with the quality of their products as well as Tyler’s energy and enthusiasm for the brand she was creating,” McArthur says. McArthur soon joined the team and currently oversees the company’s marketing and operations as well as promotional events for the store in Austin.
Haney started OV after graduating from The New School in New York City. Naturally you would think the brand’s first brick-and-mortar would be in New York, but Haney had another city in mind. “Austin is what we consider our spiritual home,” McArthur says. “We love the city for all the recreational activities, the people here and the community. It just really resonates with our brand’s ethos.”
Austin has turned out to be the ideal location for OV. They celebrated a successful one-year anniversary on Oct. 14. “It’s been a really exciting and wild ride and I think we’ve done a lot of really amazing things,” McArthur says. “The brand has seen tremendous growth in the past year.” The OV team realized just how large the brand was becoming in March during South by Southwest, when RSVPs to their events poured in from all over the world.
For their second year of business in Austin, OV plans to continue improving and diversifying their high-quality activewear. Not only are they adding more elements for every type of recreational sport, but they are stylizing their clothing even more with new jewel-toned colors. Fortunately for college students, OV’s prices are closer to Nike than lululemon. “I think our price is incredibly competitive for the quality of the product,” McArthur says. “The material is truly sourced from the best places around the globe.” Not to mention the fact that Outdoor Voices' designers have backgrounds working for labels like Alexander Wang, lululemon and Calvin Klein.
Headlines in publications such as The Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch have announced that the company raised $7 million in investment money, a clear indication of the success of their strong branding. New York Magazine and British Vogue have reported that A.P.C., the renowned French brand, has invested in OV and a collaboration is on the horizon, set to be released in 2016.
Swing by Outdoor Voices next time you’re in Clarksville so you can snatch up a chic pair of color-blocked leggings and a crop top sports bra — before your friends start wearing OV. "What you see in the shop is perfect for college students. It’s going to evolve so that as they’re graduating and [becoming] young professionals, it’s going to become their new go-to brand,” McArthur says. "We will become the next generation of great activewear."
Stay on the lookout for the OV x A.P.C. collaboration — you know we’ll be counting down the days.