The Business of Fitness: Athleisure – When Fashion and Fitness got a baby

Source: Nike, Johanna Schneider Women's training collection Source: Nike, Johanna Schneider Women's training collection

Image source: Nike, Johanna Schneider Women’s training collection

The signs have been around us for more than a decade. First Adidas hired Stella McCartney to design not just functional but also fashionable workout clothes. Then we noted that when jeans brands are struggeling, Nike is not doing bad at all. Those Instagrammed #justdoit #nikewoman pictures have definitely not hurted generating sales. The Business of Fashion recognized the trend in August but was referring to it mostly as sports brands pushing into everyday fashion -impact. In January BFF analyzed the brake through of Adidas and Nike into fashion business more closely

Looks like kids popped out from this relationship, when the term athleisure, describing sports clothes which can (proudly) be worn also outside the gym, was launched. At the same time  the sales of denim dropped while sales in tights increased. Finally, there was the Alexander Wang for H&M collection which really draw the focus of fashion to athlesure. To look forward: Beyonce and Topshop in fall 2015!

What makes this trend so interesting? The fact, that it is very clearly a pulled-by-consumers trend, not one that retailers have started to push them. So: No fashion magazines drumming what to wear this season, but more people just not-only-lately popping to the streets in their workout clothes. Consumers created the demand, and traditional fashion brands are now almost desperately trying to answer to the demand in the fear of loosing sales for traditional sports brands. The claim that the trend would be just very young or very fit women’s game seems a bit odd when browsing the huge selection, as yoga pants often hide more than a pair of jeans.

From the industry side, the fashion meets sports or sports meets fashion -thematic is also extremely interesting. On one hand, it is about traditional fashion trying to get into workout fashion, on the other hand, workout brands getting to out from gym’s and yoga studios to streets. And then there are the wild childs as Lululemon, who claim that they have invented and designed themselves years and years ago exactly for that.

If consumers keep loving what they currently do, black tights and bright sneakers will soon be listed as similar waredrope’s key pieces as white blouse and black pencil skirt. And they are  worn much more often than the traditional fashion items.

Leggings are the new denim. And they are here to stay. If you still don’t know how to creat your athleisure look, check a blog owned for it, athleisurely.

Now it is just the question about who will collect the biggest wins and the official recognition as the queen of athleisure. Some drama between Nike and Lululemon is already reported. I’ll keep my tights on and watch who wins the game.