Behind the Scenes with Derek Lam 10C x Athleta: Meet the Designer


Derek Lam 10 Crosby VP of Design Liz Giardina in the samples room at Athleta HQ

We’re so excited about working with fashion icon Derek Lam and his NYC-based line Derek Lam 10 Crosby. It’s no accident that this is Athleta’s first-ever design collaboration, which will span three seasons with the Fall collection debuting September 9. We recently sat down with VP of Design Elizabeth Giardina at 10 Crosby to hear what inspired the looks and how the collaboration came to life. See the entire Derek Lam 10C x Athleta lineup right here.

FALL 2015 - UPDATED SKETCH SPREAD 1.7 (1) copy

Design sketches for Fall 2015

What excited you about this collaboration? 

“I’m a very active person and was thrilled when I learned about our collaboration with Athleta. As a designer and a woman, I love that Athleta is a woman’s brand that’s inspired by, designed by and developed by women.  Derek and I both felt strongly that the 10 Crosby aesthetic would be a good complement to Athleta’s expertise in performance and “athleisure”. We felt it was a great opportunity for two different companies to work together, learn from each other and create a line that women will feel great wearing, perform the way they need and want to have in their closets for a long time.”

“I love that Athleta is a woman’s brand – inspired by, designed by and developed by women.”


Behind the scenes at the Fall 2015 Derek Lam 10C x Athleta lookbook shoot in NYC

Fashion and fitness have really joined forces in the last few years. How was your approach different? 

“We took a tailored, sophisticated approach to activewear and athleisure. Derek Lam 10C x Athleta is all about clothing that you can wear to and from the gym without screaming “I just came from the gym!” We worked closely with Athleta to bring technical components and properties to our twists on classic fabrics and silhouettes. I love that there is always an expert at Athleta – for instance, when we were designing and fitting a sports bra, there was a bra technical designer there to inform the process. We gave a lot of thought to sport details and using them in unexpected ways: from taped seams on leggings as a tuxedo stripe to seamless engineered performance garments. This collection is comprised of product that represents the best of our strengths – the 10 Crosby vision of modern wearable sportswear and Athleta’s expertise in women’s performance apparel.”

Clothes you can wear to and from the gym without screaming “I just came from the gym!”

BTS Liz and Kiel

Making final markups at an NYC photoshoot with Athleta Senior Creative Director Kiel Kong

Sample fittings with the Athleta production design team

How did you design with the active woman in mind? 

“I lead an active life – I work long hours and I exercise a minimum of five times a week – running, dance and yoga. I have run marathons, done 60-day yoga challenges and love to incorporate fitness activities into my free time and vacations. I understand what it means to be a busy woman who prioritizes her health. So as a designer and an athletic woman, I feel like I truly know the customer – she wants her activewear and athleisure to be functional for her busy life, fit great, feel great and look fabulous. Throughout the design process I am always asking myself questions: Does the garment work for her busy lifestyle? Does it perform the way she needs? Does it fit and flatter her body? Will she feel great wearing it? Will she like how she looks? Whether she lives in Ohio or SoHo – it’s just about getting your head around who this woman is, her lifestyle and her needs.”

What was the inspiration behind the color palette?

“I looked at aerial photographs of great American cities – urban landscapes with green parks – think Manhattan with Central Park. From that inspiration came strong lines that flatter the body, graphic color blocking and clean crisp colors – black, white, sapphire, emerald and two tones of mélange gray.”


Left: Stripe Luxe Cashmere Sweater, Downtown Leather Short, Block Studio Capri; Center: 2 N 1 City Sweatshirt, Downtown Track Pant; Right: Block Avenue Tank, Block Studio Legging, 515 New Balance Downtown Sneaker

What’s your favorite piece from Derek Lam 10C x Athleta? 

“We made a two-in-one parka that’s made of two pieces that can be worn separately or together. I love the versatility of the light, almost cape-like windbreaker on the outside and the cozy zip-up sweatshirt on the inside. I can’t wait to own that piece. It’s something I would stop someone on the street and ask “where did you get that?” It has been such a wonderful experience to design product that I want to work out in and wear to and from the gym.”

“It’s something I would stop someone on the street and ask ‘where did you get that?’”

New York

2 N 1 Town Parka, Downtown Leather Jogger

Stay tuned here on the Chi blog for more behind-the-scenes and a great Q&A with Derek Lam. Derek Lam 10C x Athleta is now available at and select Athleta stores. Enjoy!

Lisa Bryan

August 25, 2015 at 10:43 am

I can’t wait to shop this collection – it looks beautiful! As a healthy gal that’s always traveling, I love Athleta not only for my running/yoga clothing, but maybe even more so for my “active living” clothing. Maxi skirts that are super comfy and perfect for visiting temples in Thailand. Swim shorts that are great for SUP in Bali. And tops that easily dress up or down (and pack well!) – while I’m always on the go! Thanks for always designing clothes that fit my lifestyle. 🙂


August 26, 2015 at 10:42 am

I wish you would bring back the workout skort with short leggings under the tight skirt. You had it in the capri also. Now I don’t see either of them. I really love the short skort for my workout. They are the only leggings that don’t fall down or hike up. It’s similar to the Anna skort but with short leggings that come out. The shorts with leggings don’t work for woman with bigger thighs.
Also it would be nice if you made larger sizes. I am always a large or XL in bottoms and would like to be able to fit into all of your clothing. Some of Athleta clothing is very small. And I am a large in tops, but some of your tops don’t fit comfortably. I am an average size woman who would love to wear all your clothing. More of a pear shaped woman. I have products from years ago that I still wear. Thanks!!

Betina Baumgarten

August 31, 2015 at 4:38 pm

FINALLY! Fashion meets fitness in the most logical and organic of ways — via Derek Lam! This is truly a collaboration that dreams are made of– whether you are a fitness-phile, fashion-phile; or like me, both. Can. Not. Wait. Thank you, Athleta, for being on the cutting edge of what it truly means to be the modern woman: active, healthy, fashion forward, ready for anything, anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Andrea Rutledge

September 01, 2015 at 6:12 am

Looking forward to shopping a sophisticated, well-designed collection.

james anderson

September 01, 2015 at 6:13 am



September 01, 2015 at 7:17 am

I can’t wait to go shopping. The 9th is my birthday!

Sara DiVello

September 01, 2015 at 7:27 am

SO excited to shop this collection–it’ll be perfect for the upcoming retreat I’m teaching at in Bali!! 🙂
I especially appreciated these lines, “I love that Athleta is a woman’s brand – inspired by, designed by and developed by women.” YES! Those are some of the things that I love about Athleta too!


September 02, 2015 at 12:58 pm

I hope you have some hi rise bootleg work out pants in the new line. Those lower rise pants give muffin tops to all, even us skinny girls. Tight down to the ankle legging type pants make skinny legs look like toothpicks.

Team Athleta

October 03, 2015 at 2:33 am

Hey Linda! Yes – check out the High Rise Bootcut Chaturanga right here: Our entire line of high rise pants here: Hope this helps! – Helen

Team Athleta

October 03, 2015 at 2:39 am

Hi TMorte! Thanks for your feedback – have you checked out the latest and greatest in our skorts selection? Look right here:,10201095,Bottoms_Skirts_9_28&clink=10201095#style=92344. As for sizing, all of our gear definitely come in XL! And in fact, we even carry a selection of of Plus size clothing up to 2X. Hope this helps! If you’re looking for something specific, just reach out to our amazing customer service team. You can call them at 877-328-4538 or email them at Cheers! Helen


October 03, 2015 at 5:46 am

I loved in the past how you told us the actual length of a lot of your items. Why did you stop? I buy a lot of your dresses and length really made a difference to whether I buy them or not. I would love to see you bring it back into your catalogs it helps me to make my decision!

Team Athleta

October 15, 2015 at 8:40 am

Jodi, thank you for the feedback! We’ll let our marketing team know.

Leanne Mason

October 03, 2015 at 11:56 am

I miss the old Athleta. First time in 12 years I have bought nothing from a catalog…first time EVER I threw out the catalog. It is becoming too Gappy looking. I know many who feel the same way. I hope you bring back feminine clothes and feminine line that once made Athleta worth purchasing. Gap purchased Athleta from the original owners for the niche in the market they owned…you are loosing that niche.


October 07, 2015 at 9:28 am

Stopped by Athleta this morning in the way to yoga class. Could not leave without at least checking and trying on some of Derek Lam beautiful and cozy pieces. More please!!

Leave a Reply