A billion dollar market is about to get even hotter.
Athleisure is one of those markets which has burst into lifestyles in a short time. Some believe Athleisure trend has reached a saturation point and the trend is on its way to dip.
However, we believe Athleisure Trend is here to stay, and 2018 is about to see another significant bull run in fashion and sports industry.
We will look at what is Athleisure, how it rose, and the very reasons why the Athleisure Trend is yet to take the industries by storm.
What is Athleisure?
In simple summation = Athletic + Leisure
According to Merriam-Webster, Athleisure definition is casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use.
Anyone who likes to wear athletic wear for casual and daily wear primarily has adopted the trend.
With some development various trends and styles, Athleisure wear includes yoga pants, jogger pants, shorts, sweatpants, gym stringers, gym tanks, sports bras, sweat-wicking gym tees, hoodies, sneakers, shoes, and so on.
How Athleisure Started
It is tough to pinpoint where the trend started, but we would consider it’s beginning since the 1970’s when the popularity of fitness came to surface.
Fitness mania was getting louder, and people wore casual clothing to exercise. Sports brands started improvising clothes for athletic performance. Innovation kicked in and the quality significantly improved with spandex, lycra, nylon and other synthetic fiber material clothing to boost athlete’s performance.
Core functionalities were sweating-wicking capability, extra stretch, and softer feel. They remain the core selling points, but then social media played a part. (Coming to it later).
The Rise of Athleisure
Casual clothing meant comfortable clothing, and there was nothing more comfortable than activewear.
Giant athletic brands started to become more athleisure wear brands. A new market began to emerge where active clothing can swiftly be turned into casual and leisurewear clothing.
“Athleisure is the new casual,” Deirdre Clemente, a professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, told Business Insider.
Let’s talk about some numbers;
- While the whole retail industry stood flat on yearly sales in 2015, Athleisure sales rose by 12%.
- Athleisure sector has increased 42% in last seven years reaching the total market worth $270 billion, according to Morgan Stanley.
- In the same report, athleisure is expected to grow by another 30% by 2020.
Why is Athleisure So Popular?
Athleisure is More Than a Trend.
- Athleisure is more than the sum of the parts; sports, urban, and fashion trends. It has become more than a trend because it is a complete lifestyle and forming into a cult (more on this later).
- The most favoring part of athleisure trend is the blend of aesthetics from both industries; sports and fashion. Fashion is giving sports an uplift in credibility and sports giving fashion functionality.
- Athleisure trend creates a positive feedback loop. When one starts to stay healthy and live healthily, their mental health gets better leading to a better life.
11 Reasons Why Athleisure Trend Won’t Stop Trending
The athleisure trend had no hockey stick curve but a genuine bull run.
We gathered plenty of reasons why Athletic wear will get more heed for casual wear in the future. Let’s look at the 11 reasons why Athleisure trend will boom in the coming years.
Necessity is the mother of innovation.
Athletic brands are continually looking to improve the performance of athletes, which enforces brands to innovate. Comfort and feel are the top priority for athletic brands. The goal is to create better fabric and functionality which improves athletic performance.
Parallel to innovation, fashion is another factor where athletic brands can get more out of being an athleisure brand.
As the Athleisure market gets even hotter, it gives the fashion industry a tougher time.
Several brands such as True religion are being put out of the market as an overflow of supply for athleisure wear.
2. Fashion Vs Athletic Brands
Athleisure is the intersecting playing ground for fashion and active wear. As athleisure gains more ground, activewear seems to dominate.
Sporting goods industry is ten years ahead of the fashion industry on many levels, says Patrick Nilsson, CEO of a fashion brand, Gant.
Here is why.
- Fierce competition in the sports clothing industry is pushing athletic brands to innovate and innovate more. The fashion industry is losing much of its market to athletic and sports industry.
- Whereas fashion keeps doing what the creative fashion designers believe is the next trend. Fashion designers focus more on the trends and less on the comfort and functionality.
Who doesn’t want comfort while wearing the trendiest clothes?
3. Comfort & Laidback Lifestyle
While athletic wear is for sports and exercising, Athleisure wear can be worn anytime and anywhere. For the same reason, Athleisure wear has attracted several people and not just fitness enthusiasts.
The athleisure trend is accepted more at the social events and parties. Wear them while lounging, walking on the street, and a casual dinner. No one would bat an eye on you.
Activewear is more durable, odor resistant and wrinkle-free. Therefore, more people are wearing them, and more brands are manufacturing them.
4. Saturated Yet Growing.
Athleisure was $46 billion market is US in 2016, according to data compiled by the market research company The NPD Group, reports CNBC. Globally, the market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2020, in a prediction.
- The troublesome retailers are looking to pivot into directions the market demands.
- Fashion brands are getting into more leisure friendly clothing, whereas athletic brands are sneaking more fashion in their clothing.
- Athleisure wear and market is growing at the expense of denim. More people now prefer athleisure aesthetics over denim in their casual wear. (More on it below)
- Celebrities loving the athleisure.
Athleisure is the go-to style du-jour not just because it’s comfortable, but I think it’s also because it allows us to be more natural in public. We are 100% ourselves when we’re dressed down and nowadays, with the level of style that active wear brings to the table, my workout wardrobe is more designer than my main one. Amanda Rushforth
5. Celebrity Endorsement
But there had to be some pioneer of the athleisure trend?
Not exactly pioneers, but Beyoncé and Rihanna are considered the key influencers to bring athleisure into the mainstream. Along with other celebrities, they have transformed the athleisure trend into a lifestyle.
With the rise of social media, these celebrities can display every aspect of their daily life. The social media traditions like ‘behind the scenes’ covrage have motivated their millions of followers to adopt the more laidback and casual way of living.
Celebrities such as Cara Delevinge, Kendall Jenner and Rita Ora – Snapchat and Instagram their luxury yoga pants on their social media if not spotted by a paparazzi.
Rapper Kanye West sold out his athleisure brand with high-end price tags. Explains why athleisure brands are relatively expensive as well.
6. Social Media & Micro Influencers
Health and fitness influencers are getting lots of traction through social media. They get to sponsor activewear brands, and activewear brands get their hands on a larger relevant audience.
Despite changing dynamics on influencer marketing, micro influencers are growing in the fitness industry.
Influencers and brands both get access to broader audience at way cheaper cost.
On the other hand, growing fitness trend can be witnessed on social media. The Telegraph shares “an Instagram-led cult around healthy living and ‘clean eating’, which has spurred 128,384 ‘athleisure’ posts of so-called ‘yoga bunnies’ posing in lycra, clutching green juices.”
As a fitness coach, I find the athleisure trend positive and refreshing. Wearing comfortable clothes and shoes is so healthy for the body and mind. For the past few years athleisure has been ruling the runway and I don’t see any reason for this trend to change any time soon – who would want to go back to being uncomfortable? – Abbey Sketch
7. Growing Fitness Lifestyles
The rise of athleisure on social media was not possible without the growing number of fitness enthusiasts who are inspired by the celebrities, influencers and their social media accounts.
The fitness industry is highly promoted due to rising healthy lifestyles and wellness mindsets. Hence, fitness brands get lots of contagious coverage which motivates others to live a similar lifestyle.
Millennials and Generation Z want to display the best version of themselves on the internet. Staying fit, eating healthy and showing off on the internet are just the things millennials do.
8. Athleisure Cult
Living in athletic wear is a cultural shift.
Fashion magazine, Vogue identifies athleisure a rising trend which comprises of style, comfort, and function.
People are looking for clothes which they can wear to the gym as well as look great in them on the streets. Athleisure has merged urban, sports and fashion which resonates a different lifestyle.
For instance, women athletic wear such as yoga pants and the trendy criss-cross tanks are what you will find on the streets of New York a lot.
Moving towards the east, Dubai is becoming one of the hottest athleisure locations. Athleisure works well with the hot weather and higher standards of living. Many trainers and expats are moving to Dubai and bringing that culture to the East.
Athleisure wear is perfect for any weather.
Ideal for summers as the sportswear fabric is already sweat-absorbing. Sweeps away any moisture away from the skin and keeps your body cool and dry. Athleisure fans love wearing activewear in hot weather.
Similarly, Athletic overcoats or hoodies aim to keep your temperature at bay. Luckily, the billion dollar market makes the most effective and weather-adaptive clothes you will come across.
10. Athleisure Shoes
The billion dollar market doesn’t limit itself towards the clothing only.
In the US Sneaker market, sports leisure shoes are outperforming the performance footwear, according to NPD Group.
In the same report on a year-over-year basis;
- Running inspired sneakers rose 39%.
- Casual athletic footwear jumped 24%.
- Performance geared-shoes slumped 7%.
- Training sneakers dropped 15%.
Senior sports industry advisor at NPD believes that the line between athletic shoe and casual shoe continues to blur as it did for clothing.
11. Athleisure at Work
Would you wear activewear to work?
It may not be entirely an unusual question as many employers are okay with it.
Most people don’t suit up with a tie and look all formal at the modern-day offices. More employers are accepting the flashy athletic shoe with muscle fit tee. You can find the trend in the modern-day offices which are mostly related to marketing and media.
Steve Jobs was one of the prime examples of business casual wear at work. Denim shorts and slippers for meetings are extreme but has taught several of his followers to challenge the conventional things in business.
Athleisure; A Bubble?
There were some reports suggesting that there has been decline in the sales of athletic apparel. However, the reports are directed towards an overall slowdown in the retail market.
“There is no indication that the athleisure customer is spending their money on other footwear and apparel,” Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor at NPD. “I often get asked whether the bubble around leisure will burst anytime soon, and the answer is no.”
Denim Vs Athleisure
Athleisure is guilty of stealing much of the denim market share.
Levis Jeans had to re-imagine their iconic image. Tim Higgins on Bloomberg shares some insights how Levi’s is trying to adapt to the yoga pants era.
However, the denim market is picking up again but not at the expense of Athleisure. Athletic wear will keep its place in the fashion industry and will continue growing its athleisure arm.
Frequently Asked Questions
Casual clothing designed to be worn for exercise and general use.
It is tough to pinpoint where the trend started but we can say the trend started during the 1970’s when the popularity of fitness came to surface.
The beauty of Athleisure is that they can be worn in the gym as well as for any other occasion
Athleisure is exactly what it sounds like, Athletic-Leisure. An outfit for gym and casual wear
It is best advised to mix and match athleisure pieces under regular fashion items. For example, a sports bra under your leather jacket. In short, just get creative.
The convenience that comes along with Athleisure is the reason that it is massively popular.