What is Athleisure?
Athleisure is a hybrid style of athletic clothing typically worn as everyday wear. Athleisure outfits can include yoga pants, tights, sneakers, leggings and shorts that look like athletic wear, characterized as "fashionable, dressed-up sweats and exercise clothing."
Athleisure refers to a fashion trend characterized by athletic clothing that is both comfortable and aesthetically appealing. The growth of athleisure has also created significant opportunities for investors.
History of Athleisure
Athleisure grew out of the dynamic use of the yoga pant. Although yoga pants were designed for the gym, their comfort and simple look led women to start wearing them in casual and formal settings. Initially popularized by women, athleisure has branched into men's clothing as well. Athleisure can be considered as a fashion industry movement, enabled by improved textile materials, which allow sportswear to be more versatile, comfortable, and fashionable.
Evolution of Athleisure
In the 1930s, Champion began producing hoodies for laborers working in freezing temperatures. In 1958, DuPont invented spandex, a crucial athleisure component. Adidas popularized athletic fashion by introducing sport-to-street tracksuits in 1963. By the 1970s, athletic fashion was ubiquitous in street culture and grew in popularity in the 1980s from hip hop music videos.
By some accounts, the athleisure trend in the 21st century grew out of women wearing yoga pants, and the convenience of wearing clothes for multiple occasions without having to change. Its popularity may have stemmed from its ability to fill a gap in the market, when athletic apparel was once merely functional rather than stylish.
Another account suggests that the cyclical nature of blue jean sales has allowed athleisure apparel to supplant denim as casual wear. Sportswear that had been worn exclusively in gyms is now being worn elsewhere by young adults and fitness-conscious consumers and has been accompanied by a relaxation in dress codes.
The styles, colors, and fabrics of athleisure suggest a broader emphasis on fashion as opposed to functionality. Innovations in textiles have brought improvements in functionality, such that garments and footwear have become more breathable, lightweight, and waterproof. The new garments are performance enhancing and allow wearers to carry out everyday activities easily.
By 2020, a so-called "next-gen athleisure" category had emerged, owing to increasing acceptance in the workplace and advances in fabric and production technology, for instance yoga pants that double as totally acceptable office pants. The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a continued increase in the popularity of athleisure wear. Some fashion brands that had previously made streetwear or suits pivoted to items like hoodies and jogging trousers, since many people were quarantined at home and wanted comfortable clothing that would still look stylish for virtual meetings.
These days, the norm has become dressing to feel your best, with an extra emphasis on comfort. Athleisure is no longer the trend of the moment but, instead, a lifestyle — a key part of our day-to-day look that makes living a little more tolerable amidst current events.