Athleisure first stepped out on the fashion scene in the late 80’s and early 90’s,
and has been the hot, new trend among the masses since the early 2000’s, due its versatile, comfortable, and sporty look. The popularity of this apparel division has grown over the years as it has become increasingly more socially acceptable to wear workout gear in casual and semi-formal settings. Athleisure has elevated the casual stay at home outfit into something acceptable for the workplace.
Despite the growing popularity and the numerous businesses athleisure has spurred,
a handful of self acclaimed trend forecasters speculate athleisure’s reign is coming to an end. These speculations are spurred by a perceived over-saturation of the market and the return of denim to fashion week runways. The concern with the over-saturation of the market is anticipated to bring a decline in product pricing, quality, and originality. However, competition breeds innovation and the athleisure industry has continuously jumped hurdles to evolve and stay relevant in our wardrobes. Fashion Week icons such as Kate Spade, Puma, and Fenty have begun implementing athleisure into their seasonal lines. With more companies adopting athleisure and assimilating it to conform to their brand aesthetic, we are seeing various innovations within this sector of the apparel industry.
Although Fashion Week has brought denim back to the runway starting in 2017,
Levi’s Jeans has seen their first sales increase (of 8%) in the past 10 years. Although denim is now forecasted to be on the rise, due to the fact that the majority of consumers aren’t willing to abandon comfort, denim has evolved to now incorporate more stretch and elasticity into the final fit. The fact that more variations of stretch denim are hitting the sales floors and runways just goes to show the impact that athleisure has had on the apparel industry.
In contrast to the anticipated downfall of athleisure,
the industry is anticipated to become an $83 million market by 2020. The continued growth of this apparel sector is supported by our active lifestyles as well as the versatility, flexibility and comfort these garments provide. The footwear division alone brought in $9.6 billion and a 17% uptick in sales in 2017 alone. Industry insiders and marketing analyzers anticipate the continued growth of athleisure. People have been proclaiming the death of athleisure since 2015, but overall it’s here to stay for as long as our lives are busy, hectic, and active.
- By Mitchell McCullough, Dreissig Apparel, Inc. Intern