Updated: May 27
Why is athleisure so attractive nowadays? Whether you are working out or just working from home, athleisure is the fashion trend that will keep you comfortable in any situation.
What Is Athleisure?
Gracefully combining functionality and sleek, minimalist design, athleisure wear has played a huge role in the resurgence of sportswear in the fashion world. This trend, which is all about leggings and other yoga pants that can be worn anytime, anywhere, went viral and ultimately reached premium and luxury brands. Now, indie brands, such as Alo Yoga, Vuori Clothing, and Epoque Evolution are disrupting the distribution model and finding a niche market for themselves in this space.
With its strong ties to the health and wellness movement that has been rapidly gaining traction in recent years (and especially now with COVID), as well as a growing focus on inclusivity, the evolution of athleisure still has plenty to come - athleisure is here, and it’s here to stay.
Getting to Know the Athleisure Industry
According to the Global Athleisure Market Report from Allied Market Research, athleisure is still very much on the up and up. In 2018, the athleisure market size was valued at $155.2 billion, but by 2026, it is expected to reach a whopping $257.1 billion.
Brands from Nike to Primark to Eres have launched athleisure lines to cash in on this huge market - $44 billion in the United States alone, according to NPD Group. All signs point to athleisure as the 21st century’s signature fashion trend, at least thus far. And if you haven’t guessed by now, the expression comes from combining the words “athletic” and “leisure”.
The global pandemic has certainly continued to boost athleisure’s popularity. For example, Gymshark’s sales in the US blew up this year, improving by over 150% year-over-year in July and August. In fact, in the first week of July alone, its sales increased by a ridiculous 856% year-over-year according to an analysis from Earnest Research. And Gymshark hasn’t been the only athleisure brand to cash in from COVID sales - according to SimilarWeb, LA-based brand Alo Yoga was the fastest-growing activewear brand in the United States based on web traffic.
Why Athleisure Continues to Gain Momentum
According to this Trend Report curated by Lyst, the athleisure trend isn’t going anywhere, any time soon. If anything, it’s just getting stronger. Searches for activewear items have seen a large jump since the beginning of 2020, as they are currently up by 59%. Additionally, with searches for sustainable fashion up by 75% year-over-year, eco-friendly activewear is one of the hottest trends we can expect to see moving forward. Eco-friendly workout brands, known for using materials such as recycled plastic, regenerated nylon, organic cotton, or recycled polyester, are becoming more and more popular amongst consumers.
The growing popularity of yoga and promoting positive lifestyles have also had a direct impact on the rise of activewear. From motivational quotes and hashtags to stylish Instagram fitness influencers with millions of followers, activewear has had the benefit of wide, viral exposure, resulting in versatile athleisure styles that fit several occasions, from getting a good workout in to having meals with friends.
And as for the future of athleisure designs, ultramodern graphics and neo-materials like holographic foil, metallic inks, vinyls, mesh, and pearlized, iridescent finishes on seamlessly crafted articles of clothing are tantalizing prospects as technology such as AI and virtual reality continue to progress.
Analyzing Athleisure Trends
The athleisure movement is a powerful combo of style, comfort, fit and functionality. According to Forbes, there are many reasons why the athleisure trend is not slowing down and continues to pick up steam. The trend has clearly demonstrated staying power - even haute couture labels like Gucci, Fendi, and Tom Ford are inspired by the mainstream success of successful athletic performance wear brands and are releasing their own lines.
Millennials and Gen Zers prefer fashion-forward activewear clothing that allow them to balance their multidimensional lifestyles. They want versatile clothing that can be worn in any situation, from wellness priorities to working remotely, from chores in the house (or apartment) to going out with friends.
Simply put, millennials and Gen Zers don’t want to waste time changing in and out of clothing for different activities. But they don’t want to look dull, either. And thus, there is a steady demand for stylish, cross-functional athleisure garments. Due to the variety of athleisure styles and fabrications, there are a plethora of possibilities for various print techniques and placements.
Meanwhile, taking a look at some data-based trends, search queries for solid monochrome colors that can be easily mixed and paired such as black, burgundy, dark green, and gray, were quite popular over the past three months, increasing by a total of 71%. Nike’s collaboration with futurewear designer Marine Serre for the 2019 Women’s World Cup capsule collection proved to be a rather fruitful strategy, resulting in a large spike in pageviews for the designer when it was announced. Similarly, activewear in neon shades such as fuschia and yellow have also experienced increasing demand, as search counts have gone up by 61% and 55%, respectively.
The Bottom line
As you can see, athleisure is a versatile trend that is continuing to expand in the fashion industry. Its cross-functional capability combined with its stylish appearance make it a great wear to adopt as part of your wardrobe. In the next post, we’ll take a closer look into the luxury athleisure space.
Curious to know about the latest trends that are shaping the fashion industry? We cover the most pertinent topics in detail and break down the impacts of innovations like Big Data, e-commerce, and virtual fashion in our wide-ranging series on fashion trends.
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