From the crossing of culture and catwalk, we find the term Athleisure, now defined in the dictionary as “clothes for everyday wear that are influenced by sportswear; a blend of athletics and leisure”.
The demand for sophisticated activewear, whether a pair of leggings or a sport-specific item, that both performs and hits a high aesthetic mark, has been a long time coming. The journey to Athleisure has been part of a fitness revolution, tied to boutique fitness classes, celebrity trainers, and a market focused on cutting sugar and eating well. Fashion has always been popular, but it is the rise of fitness which has seen gym clothes blend the two worlds.
It's clear this is more than just a trend in gym clothing, athleisure is becoming a lifestyle. Gym kit accounts for almost 17% of the entire retail market according to Forbes and money spent on items such as women’s tights has increased by 24% in just 12 months.
WHY ARE GYM CLOTHES BECOMING SO POPULAR?
- People are embracing healthier lifestyles while also demanding more functionality from their wardrobes. They need everyday comfort to fit fitness seamlessly into an already challenged schedule.
- Gym clothes have become more acceptable in the office. Smarter gym clothes allow transitional wear which is acceptable to wear in the office, eliminating the need for extra clothing which clutters your commute to work.
- Sportswear has become fashionable. The rise of fitness wear on the catwalk has made gym clothes more acceptable as fashion wear, independent of exercise.
- Gym clothes have become a symbol of an empowered woman. Sports brands have used their women’s gym wear to create female orientated campaigns such as the government funded This Girl Can campaign which inspired millions of British women to get active, featuring images of women of all shapes and sizes in their gym clothes, embracing exercise. The videos were viewed more than 37 million times on social media and 540,000 women and girls have joined the This Girl Can online community.
- Celebrities are being photographed in their gym wear. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Rita Ora, Michael Jordan and Kanye West have released collections with leading sports brands, making gym clothes more aspirational. From A-list to Z-list the number of celebrities boasting about their gym clothes is constantly growing and remains almost permanently in the spotlight.
- Exercise trends sweeping in from the U.S such as Insanity and Crossfit are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, encouraging more sales of gym clothes as people join the latest fitness frenzy.
- The Olympics inspire us to get active. The aftermath of the 2012 Olympics saw a rise in money spent on gym memberships increase by a third. The 2016 Olympics are certain to motivate many more to grab their gym clothes and get active.
- Quality gym clothes are designed with sweat wicking fabrics and performance-pushing technologies which offer luxury and comfort. The best quality brands are rising in the world of athleisure because they’re too comfortable to take off.
There’s a clear demand for gym clothes which do and mean more than just clothing that’s worn at the gym. A Sports Apparel Survey claimed that 78% of women now wear their gym clothes for purposes other than exercise, we need multi-purpose activewear.