Vanessa Hudgens wholly embraces the end of summer. In fact, she welcomes the dawning of the colder months. Her love for summertime is easily replaced by her playful passion for autumn.
"This is like, I'm creeping in the night. I am a witch. I'm like, I just want to vibe!" Hudgens, 33, tells PEOPLE of the seasonal spirit that inspired her new Fabletics collection. "It comes from the same free-spirited approach that I have with life."
Hudgens says that her style aligns with the seasons. This collection pays homage to the shift from summer to fall, and it provides 13 new additions to wardrobes that also transition alongside the year.
"The whole inspiration behind it was the spooky season vibe," she says of her latest collaboration with the athleisure brand.
The High School Musical alum deeply immersed herself in the design process, asking herself what she would want in her own closet. Her own desire for versatility inspired pieces like the cropped cardigan. Sold in bright green or black, the faux mohair top can be both a dressy option, worn "by itself and kind of off the shoulder," and a cozy closet staple.
"I love having go-to pieces, like staples for a season that you can just integrate over your workout clothes," says Hudgens.
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While her own style preferences served as a guide, the Princess Switch star tapped into her free-spirited side to produce a collection that represents "spooky season" and femininity simultaneously. To Hudgens, women are "not just one thing, and… the more that we lean into our unique ways, the more we evolve. And that's hot."
With this being her sophomore collaboration with Fabletics, Hudgens was empowered to explore her creativity in design to represent the variety of womanhood. The actress ended up surprised by which elements called to her, like the neon "Sour Apple" color that lights up the collection.
"It's so funny because I've always been such a neutrals and gemstones-color kind of gal, and green — like bright green — was the first color I really fell in love with," says Hudgens, who adds that this process taught her to follow her intuition, even though "it's easy to get hypercritical about things." In fashioning the collection's vegan leather mini skirt, she wavered on the resting height until she leaned into her gut sense and landed on a high-waist fit.
Comfort was another big priority for the Tick, Tick…Boom! actress. Coming out of the pandemic, she came to appreciate the value of clothes that "feel good on your body," and Hudgens worked with Fabletics to find "fabrics that feel amazing and are also functional." At the intersection of utility, style and creativity, she landed on '90s fashion as a source of inspiration for the apparel line.
"I just love that era so much, like Clueless. Cher's costumes were so iconic, and there's a way to incorporate that into your active lifestyle," says Hudgens, nodding to the 1995 film's lead character played by Alicia Silverstone. "I think that this collection does it really well by keeping it functional, but also really cute and easy to wear, and you can express yourself through it."
According to Hudgens, Fabletics was the perfect partner in creating clothing to celebrate diversity, femininity and self-expression. She highlights the brand's focus on size-inclusivity and high-quality products sold "at a great price point."
"It's accessible, and they're just wonderful to work with," says Hudgens of Fabletics. "Being active is such a big part of my life, and it's just really fun to do it with people who are passionate about it and are super supportive."