I ran right over to Fabletics on opening day yesterday at Mall of America, all set to do a few jumping jacks with Kate Hudson. She wasn’t there. But an image of the free spirited, insanely fit movie star—all perfect posture and serene smile in a sports bra and yoga pants—looms large in the new active wear store she co-founded with online retail powerhouse Just Fab.
Mall of America is the seventh store location nationwide for the fitness brand, which started online in 2013 with a subscription-based model that has prompted some criticism and confusion. That reputation will be something to overcome—as I perused the small but sleek MOA store, I heard other shoppers asking, “do you have to be a member to shop here?” No, you don’t. But even as Fabletics evolves into bricks and mortar, the company continues to push the memberships. Becoming a VIP Member is free, but members get charged $49.95 per month unless they "skip the month" by the 5th to avoid being charged. (The charge turns into Fabletics credit.) Members get special pricing, up to 50 percent off regular prices.
Membership aside, the retail prices are competitive with Athleta—around $65 for cropped leggings; $35 for tanks. And in the store, tags are marked with those straight-forward retail prices, which is far less confusing that the Fabletics website, where three different prices are listed for each item and you have to click more than once to find out what it really costs, sans membership. It also helps to have the friendly staff, let by a former local Athleta store manger, explain the options, in-store.
Of course, none of that matters unless the pants give you a J.Lo booty, right? I liked the fit of the leggings I tried: black with cutout detail, and a patterned pair that actually did not make my thighs look wider than the Mississippi, and provided a comfortable amount of compression. Fabletics at MOA also offers a new active wear collection for men, plus swim wear and some studio-to-street "athleisure" options.
Fabletics will celebrate its grand opening at Mall of America May 20-22. Shoppers will receive 20 percent off VIP or retail prices on Saturday, May 21 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The first 50 customers that day will receive a free pair of black capris. Plus, enjoy a DJ, light bites, giveaways and a selfie wall.
And then get ready for a fitness faceoff: that same week, lululemon will unveil a totally new store directly across the corridor from Fabletics. Perhaps that’s when Kate will swoop in, in spandex.