Love These Leggings from Girlfriend Collective

Photo: Courtesy of Girlfriend Collective.

After months of Facebook ads and wondering, we finally (finally!) got our hands on Girlfriend Collective’s too-good-to-be-true leggings. And, guess what: They’re actually pretty damn good. Check out our review here.

Update, July 22, 2016: Earlier this year, Girlfriend Collective piqued our interest with its almost-too-good-to-be-true promise of leggings that are ethically made, sustainably sourced, and, most importantly, free of charge (except for the cost of shipping). The promotion is still going on, and while those who originally signed up have been waiting patiently for their gratis product, Girlfriend Collective is sharing a pretty exciting update on Instagram today: Its first shipments of leggings is about to be mailed out.

As for why the rollout took so long? “We initially had a few delays with our fabric,” Ellie Dinh, the brand’s cofounder, wrote to Refinery29 from Vietnam, where she’s currently visiting Girlfriend Collective’s factory in Hanoi. “Recycled yarn needs a little extra TLC at high volume, which is something we’re learning through this process. That put us a few weeks behind schedule, as we wanted to make sure everything was just right.” However, the brand is catching up to speed and expects to send out a new shipment of leggings every week moving forward to those who have signed up so far.

Dinh originally planned to launch Girlfriend Collective’s e-commerce mid-fall, but she tells us that that’s likely going to be pushed back.The good news, though? Its free-leggings promo will be extended for a bit longer. “We’re realizing there’s still a lot of demand for this promotion, and we want to make it accessible to as many ladies as we can,” Dinh says. So get ’em while they’re hot — or, well, free.

This story was originally published on May 20, 2016.

There’s a few things you need to know about Girlfriend Collective, a new startup based in Seattle that’s been getting a lot of buzz, despite selling only one product: leggings. Firstly, the pants are made in a factory in Vietnam with certified fair trade, socially responsible practices. The fabrics are eco-friendly — each pair of leggings is made from 25 recycled water bottles. And right now, it’s giving out the leggings for free. All you have to do is pay for shipping.

Obviously, we had a million follow-up questions. Ethically made, sustainable leggings, free of charge, with no strings attached (except for a shipping charge)? Really?

Right off the bat, though, many of them were answered by Girlfriend Collective’s very thorough FAQ page. The obvious ones: No, it’s not a scam; all the brand hopes to get is your good word. “We decided that same philosophy should extend into our marketing,” Ellie Dinh, who started the company with her husband, Quang, told Refinery29 via email. “Instead of going the status quo and giving more money over to the advertising companies, we decided to spend that money giving leggings to our customers and asking them to spread the word for us.”

Photo: Courtesy of Girlfriend Collective.

That’s right, the people behind Girlfriend Collective just hope that you’ll leave them some positive feedback in good faith — and they’re so confident in their product, that they’re willing to gamble with freebies. “We know that if we can just get somebody into a pair of our leggings, and let them know and experience firsthand what we stand for — they’ll fall in love,” Dinh says. With a small team and the financial help of a startup studio, they set out to make this campaign happen. The only risk they saw was failing to deliver on this, she notes, but figured that their own high expectations of their brand aligned with that of their core consumer. “If they don’t love our leggings, they’ll move on,” she tells us. “But, if we can deliver them product they love, our hope is that they’ll continue to be customers and the investment will pay off.”

So, from now until roughly the end of summer, you can get a pair either via Facebook, or by submitting your email on GC’s website. (You can access both options on Girlfriend Collective’s homepage.) You’ll have to be patient, though: Due to the hype surrounding this campaign (and, of course, the public’s undying love of both leggings and freebies), the latest wave of orders won’t ship out until August. She says they received over 10,000 orders on the very first day, so suppliers are a little backed up.

Photo: Courtesy of Girlfriend Collective.

As far as advertising goes, Girlfriend Collective has focused its energy on Facebook, as reported in Fashionista. The rest has come through word-of-mouth referrals, as well finding communities through social media. “We initially started by posting inspiration images on our Instagram, and realized it resonated with a large audience of women who shared a more curated perspective on health, fitness, and fashion,” Dinh recalls. “We get a lot of inspiration from brands like Acne, Glossier, and Reformation, and we wanted to capture that audience for activewear and athleisure.”

Once this promotion wraps up, Girlfriend Collective will likely grow in the athleisure category — think sports bras, bodysuits, T-shirts — at an accessible price point. “We feel that ‘luxury’ activewear out-prices a lot of people,” Dinh explains. “Traditionally, retail for leggings runs close to (or sometimes over) $100, but our core legging featured in our campaign will go for right around $60.”

Given the conversation sparked by the alleged ethical malpractices of Beyoncé’s Ivy Park line, there’s even more attention being paid to — and more interest in — clothes that not only look and feel good, but are also made responsibly. When we find a pair like that, we’ll happily add one more to our collection — freebie or not.

Photo: Courtesy of Girlfriend Collective.

Click HERE to read more from Refinery29.

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