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The clothing brands that cool teen girls love have one thing in common

Victoria's secret sportswearVictoria’s Secret

Fashion-forward women have discerning tastes.

Goldman Sachs and Teen Vogue picked out young women ages 13-29 that they defined as fashion forward (or “It Girls”), and polled these select girls to find out which brands they love the most. 

What these fashion-forward young people select to be “cool” is also indicative of trends in the retail industry.

The top five apparel brands that the women selected prove that a recent trend — that of athleisure — isn’t going anywhere.

All of these brands each stand out for their own respective reasons, but all of these brands still have one common denominator: they have all branched out into athleisure sector successfully.

Look no further than the top choice — Nike. 

Nike leads the charge as cool teen girls’ favourite apparel brand (#2 overall on the list, following MAC cosmetics). Nike undoubtedly is the premiere activewear brand; its use of technology has cemented its reputation as an innovator in the sector.

Nike’s recent push targeting women — with the hashtag #BetterForIt — has paid off

Nike’s clothing has become so favoured among teens, that the brad has managed to eclipse former apparel stalwarts such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap, a recent study by Piper Jaffray revealed.

Urban Outfitters’ Free People brand is also dominating. 

Free People was #3 on the overall list. Urban Outfitter’s bohemian sister brand has mastered targeting its customers and brand positioning. The brand has driven sales with its activewear line, FP Movement, proving that even bohemian, free-spirited women want athletic wear. By venturing into activewear, Free People acknowledged that no matter what a woman’s style is outside of the gym, she still likely wants clothes that reflect her and make her feel good when she works out.

The Victoria’s Secret Pink brand also proves the popularity of comfort.

Victoria’s Secret’s younger sister brand was #5 overall (Sephora came in at #4). The retailer eschews that sexy marketing for which its namesake brand has become known. Pink is also known for its sweatpants and athletic wear — comfortable attire for young women who like to break a sweat.

The namesake brand also performed well. 

Victoria’s Secret (#7 overall, behind cosmetics company Urban Decay, which came in at #6) might be known for its sexy lingerie, but its athleisure line is very popular. In fact, it is the brand’s athletic apparel line, Victoria’s Secret Spot, that has permitted it to heavily promote the Angel’s workouts with its Train Like An Angel campaign. The push to recognise the Angel’s fitness abilities (vesus inherent thinness) shows a slight shift in the way that Victoria’s Secret has opted to market the women, Megan Garber of The Atlantic pointed out — and it falls in line with consumers’ current obsession with fitness.

However, Cora Harrington of the Lingerie Addict told Business Insider that although this transition represents Victoria’s Secret’s smart marketing, it doesn’t really change the message the brand is conveying. 

“Despite the complaints, Victoria’s Secret is very astute. They have almost certainly seen the rise of “fitspo,” and they know that highlighting their model’s natural thinness could result in headlines that distract from their main goal. However, I don’t see one as better or different than the other. Victoria’s Secret’s models have a body type that is not attainable for the majority of the population…that’s why they’re models. Shifting the focus to fitness doesn’t change that key detail,” she wrote in an email to Business Insider in December.

The athleisure trend is also seen in fast fashion.

Forever 21 was #8 on the list. Its athleisure apparel gives young women on budgets the ability to feel good while they work out. Forever 21’s apparel might be dispensable, but it serves a purpose for teens who want to look good for that fleeting moment that the clothes last. 

NOW WATCH: How Nike stole Abercrombie & Fitch’s teen customers

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

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