After a year of working out at home, I like to think of myself as a sweat-wicking connoisseur, and a fitness fanatical after trying and testing a mix of sweatwear brand options for HIIT, running, The Class, and virtually every form of sweating under the Santa Monica sun. And while I can say that with full confidence, I have tried nearly every type of spandex available on the market — there is one type of sweat-wicking brand I’ve fallen for because of its sustainable, and eco-driven measure called SET ACTIVE — it stands above all the rest, and I’d like to crown it as the “most efficacious, cute, and sustainable sweatwear on the planet.”
Launched in 2017 with zero outside investment, the SET ACTIVE brand offers darling, incredibly gorgeous colorways like Olive, Penny, and Bloom, with every core item under a $ 100 price point and operates through a fascinating drop model. I caught up with the founder of SET ACTIVE Lindsay Carter to hear more about this “drop” model, how it works, and why it can act as a North Star for future athleisure brands in the future.
Tell me what this sweatwear “drop” model means; what is it?
Our drop model means that every month – sometimes more than once a month – we’re releasing limited-edition collections of colors and styles. When SET first started, we loved the idea of making clothes that felt so special that they’re collectible, which really helped strengthen the sense of community. We like to think that we’re a brand that’s inclusive for everyone, yet once you’re in, there’s this feeling of exclusivity because you’re getting access to such limited pieces. It’s also an area that allows us to push boundaries – while other brands might be sitting on a collection for a season, we’re constantly moving forward and on to the next thing, utilizing insight from our community on our most recent drop to help inform our next ones.
How is operating through this model more efficacious for the consumer, and good for Mother Earth?
Our consumers love the drop model because it means they always have something new and exciting to look forward to. Because we’re dropping in limited quantities, it means we’re selling out of every drop 100%, reducing the amount of apparel waste we produce tremendously.
It sounds like this new model hasn’t really been used before in athleisure wear; how do you hope this will shift the narrative around athleisure wear (and general wear!) in the future?
When we launched with a drop model, it was never our intention to shift the narrative around athleisure wear, we just wanted to do things our own way. But if our community can take one thing away from it, it would be that athleisure wear should feel just as stylish, sophisticated, and special as every other category in their closet.
I fell in love with your new Olive-colored pieces, and have to ask; what’s the inspiration behind the colorways?
Choosing colors is an incredibly collaborative process at SET. We use social media to build really genuine connections with our community, and we’re constantly gathering their feedback and insight regarding what colors they’re loving currently, or what they would love to see in the future. Beyond that, we make color selection a teamwide opportunity so everyone has a seat at the table. We’re all always on the lookout for colors out in the world that catch our eye – a color could be inspired by anything from a nail polish color someone sees to a distinctive hue spotted in nature. Since we do such limited drops, we always want to make sure we’re coming to our customers with unique colors that feel special, yet also seamlessly fit into their existing wardrobe.
What’s next for SET ACTIVE?
SET has so many exciting things coming up — we love to keep our community on their toes. In addition to a few major collaborations we have planned, we’re going to be introducing a new activewear fabric to our lineup, and venturing into new categories, like SET Swim and SET Sleep. We’re also in the initial stages of building a SET Men’s collection, likely dropping in 2022. Beyond that, we don’t have anything solidified that we can share – I’m a big believer that the world is changing so quickly, it’s important to stay nimble and be flexible so we can always easily adapt.
Throughout the rest of this year (and well into next year!), these days, these SET ACTIVE sets are the only matching athleisure set I will be donning for the foreseeable future.