I have known Zainub on a personal level for some many odd years now, and can vouch that one of her many talents is that she can dress effortlessly stylish and stay within a budget as well. She has applied her fashion knowledge not only for her personal fashion ethos, but for a good cause too. She was a brand ambassador for Popinjay, a handbag company founded to support women through training and jobs in rural areas of Pakistan. Currently, she is a Marketing Strategy Manager at Fabletics, a popular fashion athletic-wear brand for women. This mighty woman is also enrolled in UCLA part time to finish her masters in Marketing and just got married last year. I appreciate her for taking time out of her already full schedule to help me and my readers out with some fashion advice.
1. You work at Fabletics, tell me a little about the role you play in the company?
I work as a marketing strategy manager at Fabletics, and I have been here for about 2.5 years now and really love it. My main job is to figure out how the customer is feeling — what they like and what they dislike. I do this through lots of market research and in depth analysis – fielding surveys, focus groups and holding events with our customers. Once we know what’s going on, I made recommendations to internal teams and the executives as to what we need to work on and where there is opportunity to expand. Beyond this, I also keep tabs on the industry as a whole, and help anytime we expand to a new product category, like shoes in doing the back end projections and research.
2. What do women want in athletic wear? What do you recommend for women who don’t know where to start?
I think women just want to feel confident and comfortable overall. Within this, it implies they want the right fit, the right fabric, and the right technology that will help them in their work out. Working out in the gym is not exactly fun for most of us, and if you feel good and look good doing it – it makes the experience that much better! Often times, the amount of technology terms (sweat wicking, anti-stink, seamless etc.) gets overwhelming. For those women that don’t know what to look for – my advice is to start with a basic black legging and a basic seamless top, whether you’re buying it from Fabletics, Target, Lululemon or wherever.
3. Are there trends in athletic wear? If so, what are some of the current ones?
Definitely. Athletic wear has become a fashion statement – women just want to look cute in the gym. The current trends include lots of back details in tops and bras, mesh peek-a-boo patches, a variety of layering pieces, and a plethora of patterns, especially in leggings.
4. How has athletic wear evolved through the years?
Prior to the last 3-4 years, it was a category that people used primarily in the gym – however, it’s now called “athleisure.” People wear athletic gear to do almost everything – from running errands, to shopping, to going to the gym. I personally live in leggings, and the days I wear jeans I am making a real effort! It’s definitely a fashion statement now.
5. Fabletics provide women with a very positive message to stay healthy and look cute doing it. What advice would you give to young girls and women about body image and health?
I have to say that from a young age, I worried a lot about my body image – and it’s crazy the way we as women feel pressure to be skinny and look like the celebrity on page 6. The amount of air brushing and editing that goes into those photos is insane – in fact, every brand has at least 1 -2 dedicated graphic designers that work on retouching. Keep that in mind! These celebrities have real bodies like you and I, and we often do not see any of their flaws. Just remember that your body is your haven, and you have to treat it with more respect than anything else. I have a personal trainer and I eat extremely healthy myself, and have realized that after all of the hard work there will always be “flaws” you can find in yourself. I’ve learned to accept the parts I don’t love, and embrace my own curves. It’s important to be healthy and work out, but also important to love yourself regardless of how many burpees you’ve done in the week.
6. You do marketing for Fabletics. What other aspects of fashion can women be involved in other than designing?
There are a lot of things one can do besides designing the apparel. Of course, there is marketing, as well as PR and social media, the whole creative team (photography, copy writing, graphic design), finance, analytics, merchandising and planning…the list goes on!
7. What do you like about working in the fashion industry? What’s one thing you wish you can change?
I love working in the fashion industry because I can really relate to the product I am trying to help market. Athletic wear is one of those categories that women really have fun with – as women are more likely to wear bright colors and patterns in this category over every day wear. I am all about women feeling good and comfortable and staying fit. I really can’t find one thing I don’t like about it!
You can learn about Fabletics on their website http://www.fabletics.com/.