Activewear Is Not Just For The Active

Let's see you strut your stuff down the your yoga pants? There was a time when you couldn't play both fields. It was either style or it was comfort. Fast forward to around 2011, shoppers started learning they could have their cake, and eat it too, if the diet permitted. The activewear market has exploded and evolved. The classics such as Nike, Puma, Adidas and Reebok have always maintained their mark in the sports and activewear arena, but now designers and retailers alike are all trying to cash in. So, is this a trend, or a lasting effort? According to NPD market research, in 2013, U.S. sales of women’s activewear alone reached $11.5 billion, a 9 percent jump from 2012, with sales projected to steadily increase. 

Managing director for Canaccord Genuity, Camilo Lyon, says “Over the past two-three years, the growth of athletic apparel companies has consistently outpaced the growth of traditional apparel companies.”  If you're wondering why, he credits the “ever-increasing fashion component.” Simply stated, yoga pants and running shorts are a style. You no longer need to be active, to where activewear.

Active apparel, like traditional apparel, has developed its own voice as a fashion statement. A hybrid has been developed, marrying the choice of comfortability with being fashionable. Lululemon, a pioneer in the 'fashionable activewear' world, was one of the first to capitalize on the implementation of activewear as an everyday clothing choice. They have continued to brand their line as a lifestyle brand, rather than only needing their clothes for the occasion of exercising. Their branding has proven to be a success, because the line continues to grow in sales. From the end of the February fiscal quarter for 2015, their net revenue has increased by 16% since the February fiscal quarter of 2013.

Designers are catching wind of the cashflow surrounding activewear. Stella McCartney was one of the first designers to partner with a sports brand to create an active line. Her collaboration with Adidas revolutionized what it meant to be stylish in activewear.

American designer Kevan Hall, known for his couture gowns and bold fits, streamlined that same essence into Kevan Hall Sport, an active/sport extension of his line. The slogan, “from the runway to the fairway” captivated the desire to maintain the same poise and elegance of his couture pieces and translate that into activewear. Why not look like you came off the runway as prepare to play that game of golf? Or better yet, look like you just got done playing a game of golf as you head to the supermarket.

So is activewear a trend, or a lasting effort? With style and comfortability being so important to people, and sales steadily increasing, this trend has proven to hold true for longer than some may have expected. With the addition of companies like Lululemon, making sure their customers look hip and fashionable even if they're not going to workout, it is very apparent that activewear has become part of everyday life. When seeing a young lady going out to eat in her yoga pants used to look weird, it has now slowly transitioned to a norm. Activewear is a part of all of our lives now, even if we're not active. 

Photo Credit: (Woman On Steps) SpaWeekBlog

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