Just in time for fall marathon season, J. Crew is partnering with running brand Tracksmith on a capsule collection that will launch on Tuesday.
The collection of running shorts, singlets, sweatpants, quarter-zips, long-sleeve T-shirts, turtlenecks and hoodies includes some signature Tracksmith styles such as the singlets and shorts, as well as more lifestyle options.
Matt Taylor, cofounder and chief executive officer of Tracksmith, said he’s known Brendon Babenzien, the new men’s creative director for J. Crew, for a while and collaborated with him on a collection for his other brand, Noah, in 2017 for a line targeted to the New York City Marathon. “Brendon’s been a customer for a while and he called me when he got the J. Crew job, so it was a natural extension,” Taylor said.
The collection was created by Taylor and Babenzien and a small team to “set the direction,” Taylor said, and direct the distinct designs and trim such as a “J” with a wing coming out of it for the front of the hoodie and the block letters “crew” on the back. Tracksmith’s trademark logo of Eliot the hare is also found on many of the items and the singlets feature the brand’s sash across the chest. Prices range from $65 for singlets and shorts to $110 for a Trackhouse hoodie, $128 for a Fells merino wool turtleneck and $198 for a Bislett pant.
“One key thing about the collection is that the anchor pieces are Brendon’s favorite Tracksmith pieces and happen to be mine as well — the Bislett Pants and Fells Turtleneck,” Taylor said. “They’re really aesthetically distinct for running apparel, yet perform really well, which is why Brendon was attracted to them.”
The collection can be worn to run a marathon but also to go to the gym or just out with friends. “They would meet the requirements of the committed runner but it’s good for everyone else too,” Taylor said.
The line, which will be available online and in stores, is just a one-time collaboration at this point, Taylor said.
Tracksmith was created by Taylor in 2014 in Wellsley, Massachusetts, the halfway point of the Boston Marathon, and it moved 13.1 miles downtown to Boston’s Newbury Street in 2017. It operates one retail store, the Trackhouse, in Boston. It is known for its classically styled athletic apparel and its dedication to the sport of running.
On Sept. 30, Tracksmith opened its second store in London during the London Marathon weekend, a two-level, 1,700-square-foot shop with a patio and garden at 23-25 Chiltern Street. It was open through Oct. 7, at which point it closed to be revamped before opening permanently in November.
For the store opening, Tracksmith debuted its first running shoe, the Eliot Runner, which Taylor said has been in development for five years. The shoes are available for preorder on Oct. 24 and will ship in November.
“It’s a major introduction for us,” Taylor said, and the fact that both the shoe and the store were introduced in London rather than another city in the US, “gives you the idea of our ambition to be a global brand.”