Haute Couture Has Taken On Performance And Fitness Wear

Athleisure grew to join the couture realm after haven taken over the prêt men and women wear over the last few years.  In fashion everything is transient, what is workwear can become evening wear the very next season.  Something similar has happened with fitness wear. For years sports equipment and sports gear were restricted to the confines of the gym and activity centres. Around 2015-16, athleisure finally broke the confounds and entered the casual wear zone, and gradually moved up a rank to haute couture, let’s get have a closer look at this phenomenon.

Wearing performance wear outside the gym was once frowned upon, but today celebrities and professionals flaunt their healthy lifestyle by donning the latest edition trainers paired with custom printed sportswear and the latest sports gizmos. It’s quite evident that the trend is here to stay.

Athleisure is defined as “casual clothing designed for exercising and general use, by Merriam- Webster. The definition has clearly changed over the course of time. The transition has been driven by function. Today’s professionals want pieces that can be worn in social outings, at work and then straight to the gym. There is no time to fuss around, clothes that serve a function and don’t compromise on style are the demand of the hour.

The proof is in the numbers, as per the Morgan Stanley report last year, the activewear market in the US accounts for a total of US$97 worth of business annually and is estimated to grow almost 30% in sales by the year 2020 in the US and around 5% of growth in Europe, by 2021.

The trend has picked up due to the shift in the lifestyle of people. There has been a sudden awareness around health and a healthier lifestyle. Working out on a Friday night is no longer an abnormality, it’s more the norm.  This snowballed into a whole movement around fitness, in terms of food choices, fashion and gizmos.

Athleisure made it to the runway with brands such as Versace incorporating elements of performance wear such as lycra, mess and other inexpensive fabrics by the yards in their collections.  It later showed up in collections of numerous upscale brands such as Gap, with its sportswear label Athleta, at NY Fashion week in 2014. It was also seen in the collection of Alexander Wang and H&M. Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy had basketball as a theme for one of his shows. Tory Burch, started a line of activewear, which made its way to the runway twice. Stella McCartney and Adidas came together to launch their capsule collection together.  This was the beginning of the trend. As of today, several other brands have joined the bandwagon.

Now that we’ve seen the emergence of the trend, let’s see some hot favourites and ways to wear them.

Let’s start with the activewear favourite – The leggings, they come in two popular variants – jeggings and now the treggings. To start off with, let’s see how to don these staples right, what are the right combinations that can help you style them right, and not make a fashion faux pas. Street-Style has plenty of examples, we’ve got an article by ‘WHOWHATWEAR’ that notes down the dos and don’ts when it comes to donning leggings.

This one gives you the latest lowdown on H&M’s newly introduced product – The Treggings.

Black leggings are the holy grail of athleisure, and with choice aplenty how do you pick the ones that are just right? Well, this article should help narrow it down. When it comes to 2018, printed leggings are taking a step back to make way for solid colours and in most instances black leggings for a more retro feel.

What are the trends that are hot in the activewear circuit?

Sports bra or crop tops and leggings co-ords are catching the fancy of street-style stars and professionals alike. The tones are kept neutral. Details are been given their due, be it the unusual shapes, mesh detailing or dainty, designer straps, all set the modern sports bra apart from its chunky precedent.

Also gaining popularity are the cropped hoodies to go along with jeggings. These are gaining popularity with both the genders as these are lightweight and ideal for some post-workout layering.

Activewear is taking on streetwear influences; with looser silhouettes, and street art motifs. Attention is also focused on high design post workout layers.

Two major areas of focus for the upcoming year will be the Plus size and the sustainable market. We saw Nike introduce its Plus size line in the year 2017, and the brand Universal Standard with its line Game is entering the same market.

The users are looking for more ethical options when it comes to activewear as well. The consume with care mentality is here to stay and more and more consumers are demanding activewear made of sustainable fibres and fair trade practices. To put it in numbers, in the past two years there has been a 90 percent increase in activewear with odour control properties, 48 percent with moisture wicking quality and only 36 percent increase in organic active offerings, but there has been a gradual shift towards sustainability, we’ve seen H&M launch its conscious collection of activewear. Here’s a list of top ethical activewear brands compiled by ‘The Good Trade’  and one by ‘Conscious Fashion’.

Tough the trend is widespread, with almost every other brand entering the market, to style it right might need some assistance, it is great to start with the staples such as the leggings, the bomber, baseball cap, sneakers, strappy bralets etc and build them up from here on, here’s a low down of how to work these key pieces of activewear.

To conclude, this trend is here to stay and will only get bigger in the next few years, it has already taken over prêt as well as haute couture, it now stands at the threshold of innovation and sustainability, we’ll see where it goes from here on.

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