Updated: May 27
While athleisure is certainly a mainstream fashion trend, luxury brands have taken notice and have responded with high-end luxury athleisure collections of their own.
So what exactly is athleisure?
As we covered in our last post, athleisure - a blending of the words “athletic” and “leisure” - is a significant movement that is more than just a fashion fad. It comprises a large and rapidly growing industry, and is an aspirational lifestyle and a global phenomenon that has a great deal of staying power.
Insights into the Luxury Athleisure Boom
Why the rise of luxury athleisure apparel?
Millennials and Gen Zers aren’t the only ones who want both comfort and style when it comes to clothing. Modern affluent consumers are looking for the same options as well, which is why luxury athleisure is a rapidly growing clothing category in fashion, driven by both personal wellness aspirations and celebrity endorsements on social media.
Wellness has become a new status symbol in today’s society, and increasing numbers of individuals who prioritize health and well-being are displaying their lifestyle choices on social media, posting pictures of themselves rocking athleisure apparel for all kinds of activities, from yoga classes to brunches. The luxury wellness economy in particular is thriving, from travel to beauty to high-end fitness. And what better apparel to accompany these various activities than the stylish one that can be worn on all occasions.
Meanwhile, barriers to entry into this market have dropped, opening the door for innovative technical fabrication and genuine social media engagement to make athleisure a rather lucrative opportunity for both startup and traditional apparel brands, who are entering the market on both ends of the pricing spectrum.
Finally, the celebrity lifestyle and its prominence displayed in modern fashion and culture has been a driving force the growth of luxury athleisure. For instance, celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Rita Ora, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Kanye West have all revolutionized the perception of activewear and made a major statement with respect to athleisure fashion. And rest assured, their millions of followers on social media have taken notice.
All of these factors have converged to result in the undeniable - luxury athleisure is on the rise, and is having a major impact on the way the affluent dress today.
Luxury Brands Are Embracing Athleisure
And in response to this boom, various luxury brands are launching new athleisure products, from sneakers to leggings to gym accessories. They are pouncing on the opportunity to tap into this high-growth market. Some celebrities have even gotten in on the action, producing their own brands of athleisure apparel; examples include Kate Hudson’s Fabletics, Venus Williams’ ELeVen, Khloé Kardashian’s Good American, and Beyoncé’s Ivy Park.
In fact, the athleisure market is so profitable and promising that luxury brands such as Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel all released new lines of athleisure couture threads and premium footwear. And get hyped - new capsule sportswear drops and collaborations are also on the rise as of late. Of note, certain high-end designers decided to work with reputable sports and casual attire brands to create co-branded athleisure wear, including from Alexander Wang and H&M, to Louis Vuitton and Supreme, and Stella McCartney and Adidas.
As digital direct-to-consumer (DTC) platforms continue to inspire the creation of new athleisure brands every day, consistent innovation and strong brand differentiation become more and more crucial to succeeding in this space. Young affluent consumers are looking for a blend of comfort, diversity in options, unique design, and even some tech. As a result, luxury brands are releasing new collections and line extensions in order to satisfy these demands with high-quality athleisure clothing.
A Deep Dive on Athleisure and Wellness
Wellness’ impact on athleisure is particularly fascinating to explore. As we’ve discussed, wellness, in general, and fitness, in particular, have turned into high priority social activities that are running rampant on social media. There is now a prevailing desire to project an active and healthy lifestyle online, which has been pushing affluent consumers to embrace luxury wellness fashion. By providing a versatile clothing that gives people the option to wear stylish workout attire wherever they go, athleisure fashion is answering a real demand from consumers who want to project their dedication to a healthy lifestyle in various social settings.
Social media, of course, does not always have positive outcomes. While it provides an outlet for people to share their experiences and wellness regimens online, it can also add pressure on everyone to not only look amazing, but also to be constantly viewed as living a healthy and positive lifestyle. Be that as it may, the extreme awareness and content around wellness and health has resulted in affluent consumers adopting luxury athleisure.
For these wellness-oriented affluent consumers, gyms are displacing bars, restaurants, and cafes as social hubs to meet like-minded individuals (though of course, COVID has taken a toll on the socializing aspect). As a result, they always want to look their best, even as they are putting in work. Dress to impress is the name of the game, and athleisure apparel is the new way for affluent consumers to show off their dedication to staying fit and living a healthy lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, luxury athleisure is a rising trend that is continuing to shape the fashion industry. Its versatility, association with influencers and wellness, and overall quality make it a very appealing apparel to own for affluent shoppers who lead active, on-the-go lifestyles.
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.
At Kahana, we live and breathe content creation. We love learning new concepts, exploring emergent trends, and writing about topics that foster creativity and wellness. If you're interested in writing with us or would like to collaborate for your dream business blog, we'd love to hear from you!