The art of athleisure

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The art of athleisure

Thursday, 30 May 2019 | Team Viva

The art of athleisure

With an increasing focus on fitness and looking good, this is a fusion experiment which has seen a steady growth over the last few years. By Team Viva

Fashion all over the world is shifting towards dressing for comfort and a major offshoot of this is the trend of athleisure. This buzzword is synonymous with a trendy and more comfortable transformation of sportswear to evolve into people’s workout routines. It is, of course, a natural corollary of health and fitness consciousness among people where gym fashion is now an integral part of their lives. And no, don’t mistake it for just track pants or loose-fit T-shirts which people might randomly pick up for their workout schedules. Even gym clothes require a style and can make a fashion statement today. Millennials might have less of formals for workplace but more yoga pants, t-shirts and sweatpants for workouts.

While the data indicates that there was not much space in the Indian wardrobes for athleisure a few years ago, the trend finally came under the limelight after 2015, when designer Anamika Khanna blended sporty and ethnic in her debut prêt 2016 collection. Designer Kanika Goyal followed suit and teamed track pants with a crisp shirt.

Gradually, athleisure started to gain momentum and moved from being just a fad to a sartorial revolution that has been embraced both on and off the runway.

Sports and fitness brands quickly tapped into the trend and incorporated fashion in their designs. As per the statistics from YWC fashion had revealed, the overall athleisure category has been growing at a rate of 20 to 25 per cent annually where the segment for women and children account for 12 to 16 per cent and menswear has seen a rise from eight to 10 per cent. Websites too are upping their stakes in athleisure. In 2016, Myntra, the online fashion store, had acquired a 51 per cent stake in HRX, a fitness brand by Hrithik Roshan.

Keeping this paradigm shift in lifestyles and mindsets, brands have been investing in innovation and technology not only in footwear but also in gym apparel.

From gym to street

A big push to the segment has come from celebrities who have not only embraced athleisure style but have also been launching their own lines. Afsar Zaidi, CEO and co-founder of HRX, had pointed out that with more celebrities and fitness enthusiasts donning athleisure even for casual outings, youngsters have started looking at it as an inspiration and a trend to flaunt. It has become more of comfort clothing than just the ideal attire for gym sessions.

A spokesperson from Adidas, said, “Gym clothing, popularly known as athleisure, is the perfect amalgamation of functionality and fashion and is something that the millennials don’t mind sporting outside the gym. Globally, the trend has also been heavily influenced by celebrities who are seen sporting a gym-to-street style in their everyday lives. It is acceptable outside of the gym because it falls in the sweet spot where comfort meets fashion.”

Sunil Gupta, brand director of Reebok India, said that they have witnessed the Indian youth taking to fitness like never before. However, the lines between traditional gym wear and fashion apparel are blurring, contributing to a significant growth in the athleisure segment. The brand has been at the forefront of product innovation that brings together technology and design in a way that it appeals to the millennials.

A driving force for workout

Trends indicate that one of the many ways to be motivated for workout is the excitement to wear stylish clothes for the routine. Experts believe that fashion can affect fitness, making one feel more confident and lively to perform the workout session, since the attire we choose can actually influence our behaviour.

The Adidas spokesperson added, “With a larger section of the population, especially the millennials, making their fashion choices with more awareness and at the same time making fitness their priority, it is only natural that the adoption of athleisure clothing will rise among the people.”

Bold coloured stretch pants

Enthusiasts have been going with vibrant and bold colours, quirky motifs, sheer details in shapely tight pants and investing in good workout leggings. Earlier bell-bottom lowers dominated the clothes people wore during exercise. Today, tight-fit leggings and gym pants have taken over.

Stylish t-shirts and sports brassieres

In a bid to show that sportswear needn’t always be masculine, designers have introduced many fusion elements, florals and lace to sports bras to give them a trendier look. While loose t-shirts with coloured straps, which are visible on the neckline, is taking over people’s choices.

Innovative fabrics

Anything that stretches and helps absorb the sweat yet keeps the fabric dry is the most preferred one when it comes to active wear. The material that is mostly recommended is always a stretchable blend made up of polyester and lycra, breathable mesh fabric with enhanced features like anti-microbial layering, UV protection and rapid dry.

A shift in affordability

The youth today can afford to pay for expensive gym clubs for their workouts. “They do not hesitate in investing not only in high-performance products but also on gym wear aesthetics. With inclination towards adopting a lifestyle focussing on fitness, the natural next step would be getting together a wardrobe which echoes this lifestyle,” says the Adidas spokesperson.

Athleisure as a trend is here to stay. What we are likely to see in future is a more varied and a further refined version of it, so much so that it gets mainstreamed.

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