We were thrilled when we learned Jillian Michaels would finally be making her own activewear line, Impact by Jillian Michaels, in collaboration with Kmart. So we jumped at the chance to interview the fitness star about what drove her to expand her empire—and were happily surprised how candid she was about the current market for gear to sweat in.
Shape: What made you want to create your own activewear line, and why now?
Jillian Michaels (JM): I’ve wanted to do this for 10 years. A big part of the reason is because I’m in front of the entire world in fitness clothes all the time, and for many many years there was not a cool, cute option. So I thought, "How is it possible that I live in these clothes and I don’t have my own line?" And then over the past several years we’ve started to see things where you’re like, “Oh that’s super cool and cute...oh, it’s only $200!” It got crazy, and it wasn’t accessible. You’ve gotta be sensitive to the fact that right now, times are tough. Everyone is trying to make ends meet, and even if you aren’t, no one wants to get ripped off.
Shape: What made Kmart a great fit?
JM: We’ve been working as a company for eight years trying to find the right partner to bring together aesthetics, functionality, and the right price point, and it was really challenging. I think the fact that it took us so long says a lot. Kmart wanted to be innovative, fresh and on-trend. Sofia Vergara, Nicki Minaj, Selena Gomez, and Adam Levine seemed like good company.
Shape: How is your line different from everything else out there?
JM: The combination of style and price point. I remember a couple years ago I was on tour and they had shipped my luggage, and I just needed some workout pants. I went into a store and grabbed a black pair of capris with some reflective tape—and they were $170. I’m financially secure, and I was like, “What the f--- is going on here? Who can afford this?” If I can make you that top or that pant and give you stuff that’s progressive and cool and fun for a tenth of the price, why would you pay that? And it’s great quality. So if you like the way it looks, you’re golden. You don’t have to worry about washing it once and having it fall apart.
Shape: What are some of your favorite items from the line?
JM: I’m a capri pant girl. That’s what I wear [signaling to her pants]. I’m short so you’ll never see me in all my years wear shorts, but even I actually love these training shorts. You can wear them at 15 or 40 and feel comfortable in them, and they perform well. I also love the three-quarter sleeve shirts, the windbreaker, and the yoga tops.
Shape: You also have a shoe line out in October. What can we expect?
JM: The idea behind the shoes is function, affordability, and something fun and loud. We took all the trends out there—prints, mesh, iridescent colors—and put them all together. They have different soles based on the workout, from running to core training to cross training. I also wanted a slightly wider shoe because most people find their shoes are too narrow and it causes a lot of problems. I wanted a nice, comfortable fit, so I wore them around and worked out in them to make sure they didn’t chafe anywhere. I wear-test everything—it can’t just look good! I can’t have people getting blisters from my shoes and tweeting that out!