Once upon a time, high fashion and sportswear were a hundred worlds apart. However, the rise of luxurious activewear has started a convergence of these worlds. Today, sportswear or athleisure wear has a strong influence on high fashion and luxury brands—it has forever changed the way we perceive fashion and present ourselves through fashion.
The sportswear fashion market is growing faster than any other sector in the fashion world, and that growth has many consequences. In just two years (by 2024), the global activewear market is projected to be worth %547 billion, marking an annual growth of 6.5%. So what is that athleisure we’re talking about and how can it shape the future of fashion?
What is athleisure?
Athleisure is as much a lifestyle and a phenomenon on a global level as it is a fashion trend. “Athletic” plus “leisure”, athleisure is a fashion category that is characterized by casual clothing that is suitable both for everyday use and exercise. Today, athleisure includes much more than just sneakers—it contains hoodies, yoga pants, sweatpants, jogger jackets, etc., which are all designed to be suitable for everyday use and not just for exercising.
Sparked from necessity
Fitness and wellness today are very desirable things that people choose to advertise on their social media profiles. This desire to show off one’s active lifestyle is creating the demand for brand fashion that is luxurious and functional at the same time. This is where athleisure comes in. It helps people make a smooth transition from work to exercise to casual requirements—it provides balance in your daily needs.
Let’s go back to social media in fitness. Social media allows you to share your routines and your wellness habits, but it also pushes people to pay more attention to how they look doing so. For many wellness influencers and young health-conscious people, bars have been replaced by gyms, and gyms are now the center of their social world. This shift requires them to be ready for the camera and new meetings even when exercising, which is possible with athleisure wear. Modern womens activewear not only offers top quality and comfort while exercising but also before and after exercising. From running errands and grabbing brunch with friends to working out at the gym and jogging in the park—new activewear can do it all.
Lux and sporty
Athleisure has a strong influence in the fashion world, mostly brought on by users who want to find the right balance between style, comfort and functionality. Lux brands recognized the need for their presence in athleisure so they launched various collaborations and lines to satisfy the market needs. The market for athleisure is so big today that even the most luxurious brands are fighting for their share. For instance, giants like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Balenciaga all have athleisure lines. Some chose to collaborate with famous sports brands and create athleisure together, so we have collections like Alexander Wang X H&M, Louis Vuitton X Supreme, Stella McCartney & Adidas, Dior X Air Jordan, etc.
The rise of luxury sneaker
One of the most visible parts of athleisure fashion is the luxurious sneaker. Lux sneakers casualized the high fashion brands and managed to lift up this part of the footwear market. Sneakers took a complete 180, from being considered vulgar by high fashion brands to becoming their fastest-selling category of products.
The celebrity influence
One of the reasons why athleisure had such a sharp rise is the promotion by celebrities. Influential celebs like the Kardashians and Jenners, Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, etc. have all taken sportswear and turned it into something fashionable and trendy. And since almost 40% of top consumers are highly influenced by what they see on social media, and the fact that these mentioned celebrities have millions of followers, it’s not hard to see why athleisure is so popular today. Many celebrities even have their own athleisure collections and brands (Beyonce’s Ivy Park, Venus Williams’ ELeVen, etc.)
Athleisure is just what we all needed—a perfect middle between fashion and necessity, aesthetics and functionality, looks and comfort. It’s obviously here to stay and to influence our future.