I’m sure you’ve all seen women out and about, wearing a pair of colored yoga pants or leggings, with a stylish hoodie and some brightly colored neon sneakers. You may be thinking that this is just the new trend for workout apparel, but it actually reflects a growing fashion phenomenon called “athleisure” wear. Today, we can find women who are not only wearing this type of clothing to the gym, but also to lunch dates, running errands or even just lounging around at home. So what exactly is athleisure wear? And why is this trend continuing to gain steam?
The term “athleisure” was coined to describe a clothing category in which apparel designed for athletic pursuits is also worn in various social occasions. Although initially driven by a growing number of people who were incorporating yoga into their exercise routines, today’s broader consumer market is looking for versatile garments that feature athletic functionality and look great worn casually. While traditional athletic wear consists of sports bras, track pants and athletic t-shirts generally found in simple colors (e.g. black, white and gray), popular athleisure outfits include yoga pants, sportswear, loungewear, tank tops and leggings. These items are often found in an abundance of vibrant colors, prints and patterns (some athleisure garments even feature embellishments on them). Nevertheless, athleisure wear has emerged as a force in the fashion industry since 2013 and fashion experts believe that the movement is sustainable rather than just a flash in the pan.
Today, the preeminent athleisure brand, Lululemon, is at the forefront of creating these crossover garments. An example of their effective marketing strategies can be seen in their line of pants. Unlike traditional sizing, Lululemon offers their pants in fits such as “hugged, naked, relaxed, tight, and held in.” These easy-to-understand sizing options allow consumers a variety of options to pick from in order to customize the style of pants they wear in different activity settings. Not only does Lululemon offer a wide variety of garments, but they also stand behind the quality and innovative technology they use. Their clothing utilizes lightweight fibers that allow for better breathability, waterproof technology, and also a patented Silverescent (anti-odor) technology. Lululemon has proven that they are on the cutting edge of providing both stylish and high quality clothing, and their quality products have generated a 16% growth in sales in the past year. Thanks to their success, many popular brands are following suit to offer their own collections of athleisure wear.
After Lululemon, sportswear giant Nike is the next biggest player in the athleisure market. Nike offers an incredibly wide range of women and men’s sportswear and accessories, and their large stature gives them the advantage of constantly investing in patented sports technology for all of its activewear (their “Dri-Fit” technology is prevalent in many of their sportswear). Along with Nike, popular activewear companies such as Adidas and Under Armour are also introducing athleisure collections. Adidas has teamed with fashion designer Stella McCartney to create a special line of athleisure wear. Teaming up with a well-known fashion icon is a strategic play by Adidas to grab the market’s attention and grab a large piece of the pie.
There are a growing number of brands competing in the athleisure market, so I’ve created a summary below that highlights some of the major players. Below each brand, you can learn a bit more about their unique offerings (denoted by a star) and the price bracket they are competing in ($ indicates the lowest price bracket). Please note that this is NOT an all-inclusive list. I simply want to introduce some different companies and their offerings.
I hope the above post was helpful and informative. As always, please leave your comments below as your feedback is very valuable to me! Thanks for reading!