A Northeastern Grad Developed a Line of High-Tech Workout Wear

Force Apparel includes built-in resistance bands for enhanced training.

Derek Anderson

Photo by Andrew Seraphin of Seraphin Creatives, provided to bostonmagazine.com

Ask virtually any sportswear-clad passerby what went into her wardrobe choice, and you’ll likely get a response focusing on comfort. Derek Anderson, a recent Northeastern grad turned activewear designer, wants to change that.

“It’s not just about comfort,” Anderson says.”We need resistance to be better, stronger, and more competitive. Why can’t our clothes push us further, athletically?”

That principle is the idea behind Force, a nascent line of sports apparel that features built-in resistance technology. Anderson designed the brand after years of frustration with stylish activewear that, in the end, “really does nothing for you but makes you look good.”

“We make training apparel, not comfort apparel,” Anderson says. “It actually enhances your ability to perform.”

Force weaves elastic resistance bands into a full line of sleek, body-hugging shirts and pants. While traditional workout gear simply helps facilitate linear movements like running and jumping, Force apparel provides subtle and effective pushback, meant to enhance muscle conditioning. “There’s a lot of wasted movement in a traditional workout, a lot of wasted energy,” Anderson says. “We’re trying to mimic and harness that energy to push athletes even further.”

Force wasn’t born out of a simple desire to build muscles, though. Anderson—a lifelong athlete who eventually won a track scholarship to Northeastern—got much of his inspiration after suffering a minor stroke at age 21, the result of a hereditary condition that puts him at a higher risk of blood clots. “I had to completely work myself back into strength and coordination,” he says. “It was a new kind of resistance training, and I think it kind of planted this idea in my head.”

The Force line, which Anderson designed with no background in fashion or consumer goods, is still in its seed round, and will be unveiled in spring 2016. Still, Anderson has grand plans to further evolve his products.

“I want to explore more unnatural motions for really serious athletes—like clothes that help practice throwing a baseball overhand, for example,” he says. “But I’d also like to bring it to the masses with, say, yoga pants, so people can basically have their clothes work for them.”

Anderson will present the Force line Thursday at NEXPO, an entrepreneurship exhibition at Northeastern University.