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Activewear Gets Olympic-Size Boost From Athletes and Models

Olympic fever helped to heat up this summer’s fashion frenzy, and saw plenty of athletes getting in on the fashion game, too. Serena Willaims, Hope Solo and Ryan Lochte were all featured on July’s Vogue and every mag from Elle to Harper’s Bazaar featured Olympians in fashion and beauty spreads. Activewear, once dominated by Nike and Adidas, is now being challenged by the likes of Lululemon and Athleta. And athletes are putting their name on their own lines of apparel and teaming up with big names, instead of simply being the brand face.

Heidi Klum HKNB at Amazon

Heidi Klum, a mother, model, mogul and designer (she’s got a line of jewelry on home shopping megachannel QVC) has expanded her offerings to include a special collection in conjunction with fitness brand New Balance. Available exclusively on Amazon.com, the collection got plenty of screen time during an episode of Project Runway (Klum hosts the show, in case you needed a reminder of TV’s synergistic tendencies.)

The HKNB line offers activewear as well as clothes Klum says women can wear from coffee shops to school pickups and meetings for work. With maxi dresses, cargo pants, faux-leather pieces and puffer jackets, it’s more of a mishmash of workout gear and throw-it-on-and-go staples. The line has been so successful that it prompted Klum to add HK Heidi Klum, a line of non-athletic shoes to the mix. Pumps and puffer jackets — what more could you need?

HKNB and HK Heidi Klum is available at Amazon.com

Tsuya by Kristi Yamaguchi

This year’s Fashion’s Night Out is sure to be full of surprises (doggie fashion shows, impromptu karaoke — it’s all been done), but one of the biggest launches will be the debut of Tsuya, the new line of activewear from Olympic gold-medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.

Lord & Taylor will launch Tsuya (Yamaguchi’s middle name and Japanese for “smooth”), which Yamaguchi’s designed for busy moms that still want to avoid falling into frump.

Yoga pants, camis, capris and jackets will all be included and feature extras such as ruching, mini crystals and more. While she admits her designs are influenced by Stella for Adidas, she’s taking a page from TOMS and donating a portion of the proceeds to her Always Dream Foundation, a childhood literacy charity.

Venus Williams in EleVen

While Heidi and Kristi might be designing for off-the-court activities, Venus Williams is launching EleVen by Venus Williams, a tennis-wear collection that she says will blend function with fashion.

Williams has a degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, so it’s no surprise that she designs every piece. She’s not just putting her name on the clothes, she’s doing everything from designing the prints on each piece to testing the designs on herself and her sister. The line also includes men’s tennis gear. Williams is already in talks to expand the collection to include activewear and other lifestyle necessities. Known for her experimentation on the court (lace, fringe, etc.) she says she’s done with that — EleVen is all about classic shapes such as skirts, capris, shorts and more.

We don’t really believe that she’s over her over-the-top tennis outfits, but we’re looking forward to seeing what she serves up with her new line.

Available at www.elevenbyvenus.com

Photos courtesy EleVen, WWD and Amazon.com