Today, it seems we are seeing more leggings and running shoes in regular settings rather than in the gym. Athleisure (or activewear) has been around since its first breakthrough in 2010, and now – it’s more popular than ever. It gradually became a separate niche in the clothing industry with an estimated market size of $44 billion, solely in the U.S. Various brands are competing with one another when it comes to the variety of sizes, cuts, and designs. Most of them use the latest fashion trends as guidance and incorporate the popular elements to their collections, while those who are more fierce dictate their own trends. Fashion continues to push the limits forward, but why has this trend skyrocketed with the shoppers?
How it All Started
Firstly, it’s important to understand how activewear was born. Activewear was specifically designed for sports and other physical activities, primarily with performance in mind. But once people started wearing it in other settings as well (e.g. school, casual social occasions, even a workplace), combining it with other types of clothes – it wasn’t long before brands saw an opportunity to widen their offer. This was the point when they began paying more attention to the designs, introducing a lot of vivid colors and prints. Take Ryderwear for an example: in addition to sportswear, they have developed new aesthetics, making this type of clothes suitable for occasions other than breaking a sweat in the gym. The new trend was reinforced by celebrities, with today’s leading names being Bella Hadid, Rihanna, Sophia Richie, Chiara Ferragni, and others.
I Am What I Wear?
This trend is most obvious when you take a look at the women’s clothes, specifically yoga pants, leggings, and tights. And it’s a lot more than just fashion: the style reflects certain values which are connected to health and fitness habits. Fashion is a way of communication which is why women choose certain types of apparel that will stand as a clear sign of who they are. Millennials in particular pride themselves by making wellness a priority and by wearing activewear everywhere – they want others to acknowledge their lifestyles. But according to the fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen, this may be just a false image of themselves – as they can be fairly lazy and never actually practice yoga. They simply dress as who they want to be, not who they really are. But if it makes them feel good, can anyone blame them?
Undeniable Perks of Activewear
Without any doubt, the number one selling point for activewear is the incredible comfort of the used fabrics. Sports bras offer soft support and reduce the muscular pain in the back while being incredibly fashionable and easily combined with, for example – crop tops. In addition, the materials used feel nice against the skin, letting it breathe while soaking in the sweat. Tights and yoga pants are extremely comfy and with new shaping fits – your legs and behind will look lean and muscular.
Activewear – Anytime, Anywhere
In addition to those who have accepted the athleisure, there are also those who comment the trend in a humorous way. Australian sketch comedy group Skit Box made a song and a funny music video, mocking women who are so keen on letting everybody know how health-conscious they are. It depicts women who are wearing activewear, even though they are being everything but active. From smoking a cigarette while waiting for a bus to buying groceries or doing absolutely nothing – they are looking fabulous in yoga pants and sweatshirts. This is somewhat typical for the society of the 21st century: we care too much about what other people think and we have an idea of the lifestyle we would love to obtain. If it happens that we lack the ambition to actually become who we want to be, we’ll make sure to hide the fact from others. And if fashion can be our ally in that venture, so be it. Same goes for social media.
In short, the trend of athleisure allows something that was impossible in the previous fashion eras: the combination of being stylish while staying perfectly comfortable. Plus, everyone will perceive you as someone who hits the gym regularly.