The Trend of Athleisure: When Sports Meets Fashion
Over time, we’ve seen many fashion trends rising, disappearing, and some of them even had a comeback while others are gone for good. But we’ve never seen a fashion trend like Athleisure before. This trend is all about wearing comfortable but stylish outfits for almost every type of event we attend and implementing a sporty lifestyle. But, make no mistake; this isn’t just a common practice these days but also a fast-growing market segment of the fashion industry.
Last year, sportswear reached a global revenue of 414 billion US dollars. And, according to Statista, the sportswear market is expected to grow to nearly 479 billion US dollars by 2025. This article will give you an insight into the fast-growing and complex world of athleisure.
First things first, let’s make sure that we’re on the same page about what this trend actually means.
The style on the streets has changed. While women like to wear a sports bra as a crop top, leggings, and men can be spotted wearing sweatpants, hoodies, and sneakers. In other words, the streets look like everybody has just finished their work-out in the gym and met their friends for a cup of coffee, brunch, shopping, or even going straight to work.
Yet, the truth is that not everybody you see wearing sportswear actually works out. But everybody dresses like they do because its trendy and, let’s be honest, comfortable as well. So, there you have it: athleisure is all about combining an athletic and comfortable leisure time.
But, if you want to see it as a fashion trend more than as a lifestyle choice, athleisure is rather wearing sports performance clothing and footwear that also embodies fashion design influences as well as sports technical features. Athleisure can be worn for sports, exercising, running in the park, but also just because it’s casual, and we’re all ok with this.
What’s driving the trend?
Athleisure is the result of the comfortability that activewear offers. Over the last decade, since this trend has actually started to make its way on the runaway and the covers of fashion magazines, sports brands have made further improvements in the production of athleisure outfits, making sportswear more lightweight, waterproof, and breathable. But, apart from that, brands have also made performance clothing and footwear more affordable for anyone. Discounts and coupons, such as Adidas coupons and promo codes, are attracting more and more people to become fans of this trend.
Besides sports brands’ efforts to improve their products, some celebrities are driving this trend by bringing it into the mainstream. While some celebrities promote this trend intensely by collaborating with sports brands, stars like Heidi Klum, Rita Ora, Selena Gomez, and Kate Hudson have even launched their own athleisure line.
Another major key driver behind the rise of the athleisure trend is the rise of the fitness lifestyle. Years of research on how working out promotes good physical and mental health have increased awareness of the importance of having an active lifestyle. And, the winner here is, obviously, the fitness industry.
As more and more people are concerned about wellness mindsets and healthy lifestyles, fitness influencers, gyms, and sportswear brands are getting a lot of attention on social media and offline. And, all of them promote sportswear regularly, and many of their followers are embracing this trend. Fast forward to today: we have an athleisure cult with sportswear being worn not only at gyms but also on runways, streets, and even offices.
Athleisure shoes, a big part of the athleisure trend
Last year, in the US, sales of sports leisure footwear rose by 7% in the 12 months through August 2018 to August 2019. On the flip side, high heels and other fashion styles declined by 5% in the same period. Moreover, it seems that it has also been a drop in demand for training sneakers and performance geared shoes, with sales falling by 7%.
Since today’s consumers ask for comfort, footwear designers have taken their demand as the mantra for their shoe designs. Moreover, designers have also focused on finding problems, such as sweating and unraveling laces, and found innovative solutions. For example, today, you can even find sportswear with embedded heating, massage pads, plus shoes with automatically fastening features.
Brands like MIT and NewBalance, for example, have created a material called bioLogic to solve the sweating problem. This smart fabric was infused with bacteria that control the movement of ventilation panels in the fabric when it reacts to temperature differences. In other words, the bacteria opens the panels when the shoe becomes too warn and closes them when the temperature has decreased enough.
And, another reason why sports brands, especially sport footwear brands, have become so popular is their efforts to cater to the needs of eco-friendly consumers. Brands like Adidas and Nike have pledged using only recycled plastic by 2024. Such a bold initiative attracts eco-friendly customers, especially individuals from the Millennial generation.
In time, activewear has become suitable for a wide range of occasions. Nowadays, people can easily go for a run in the park and move on to their offices from there. So, we think that athleisure isn’t just a fashion trend that has come and will go, at least not anytime soon as the forecast for this market segment suggests.
Going by statistics, the growth in the athleisure industry suggests that this trend is well on the rise. To be more precise, the global athleisure sector has increased by 42% over the last seven years, and further growth of 30% is expected this year. So, athleisure has all the potential to become a way of life.