Athleisure. It’s become a buzz word in recent years, with casualwear and sports attire having successfully made the crossover from gym get-up to high-fashion outfit.
A contraction of the words ‘athletic’ and ‘leisure’, this relentless trend has transformed the way we dress for the everyday, fusing comfort with glamour to create a style choice that has become beloved my celebrities and supermodels alike.
We’ve gone from a time where wearing anything less than a suit and tie or a skirt and blouse to work would be frowned upon, to one in which it is now perfectly acceptable to wear your leisure attire whilst out shopping. It’s a new era for fashion, but make no mistake – just because athleisure is casual, doesn’t mean it’s scruffy.
The athleisure sector has grown by an impressive 42% over the past seven years, reaching a total market worth close to £250 billion. And, it’s likely to continue to flourish for the foreseeable future, as more and more people start to buy into a trend that they’ve resisted for too long.
Technological advances in fabrics, the trend for sporty aesthetics and the body positive movement have all had a part to play in the success of athleisure in recent years. These days, big name brands such as Nike and Adidas are acutely aware that they are no longer catering purely to the sportsmen and women of the world.
Granted, there was always a place for brand names in the everyday wardrobe, but what’s different about the athleisure era is that the key players have upped their game. From gold studs to velvet, the new athletic leisure wear is sophistication and glamour embodied – winning it a legion of loyal fans who may have never even set foot in a gym. You also have brands like Sneaker Release Tees coming out with apparel that allows consumers to create stylish outfits based on the shoes that some of these large labels release.
It’s not just the big-name brands who are making waves though, and a flurry of Indie brands have flourished in recent years after hopping onto and thoroughly embracing the trend. Brands such as Girlfriend Collective and Outdoor Voices are disrupting the distribution model and have successfully carved out a niche all of their own – and, with online stores like SneakerBreaker ready and waiting to deliver you the latest kicks at just a few clicks of a button, from yoga pants to high tops, these guys mean business.
Perhaps a little more unexpected is the eagerness of some of the world’s finest luxury fashion houses to get on board. From Chanel to Gucci, all of the key players in high-end fashion have welcomed the trend with open arms, with extravagant leisure wear showing up on the catwalks consistently at the turn of every new season.
The rise of athleisure has come as the health and wellness market has also been experiencing exponential growth. Thanks to the integration of Instagram into our daily lives, we’ve seen trends such as the clean eating trend, as well as yoga, plant-based eating and fitness and holistic health take centre stage, with influencers and celebrities talking about such topics daily and sharing a sneak peek inside their own health-conscious lives through their Stories feeds.
All of this isn’t just a trend – it’s a lifestyle. These days, nobody wants to just talk about being healthy – they want to embody it, too. By dressing in high-fashion sportswear, they don’t just look the part but they become it, too. Think of it almost as getting into character for a part in a film, and you’re almost there. It’s all about mindset.
Healthy living is all about mindset, and the athleisure trend has unwittingly fuelled growth within the health and wellness sectors, just as the opposite is true. In a time when living well is considered to be just as important as looking good, it’s the perfect match. This is a trend that won’t be going anytime in the near future – so if you haven’t already then it might be time to let go of the resistance and embrace it. You never know, you might love it – and better, it could even change your life.
Image credit at the very top of the article: Sorbis/Bigstock.com