Athleisure: The Fashion Regime Of Today
A fashion meets comfort approach has taken over as the pinnacle of todays effortless style quotient. Read on to discover how the rise of athleisure has dominated the fashion industry in the Covid era.
While 2020 was supposed to be "the year" for quite a lot of us, the widespread fear caused by the Coronavirus saw the world come to a halt like never before, in all spheres of life. The preventive measures got all of humankind to stay in for what seemed like an eternity, turning around lifestyles and altering vital fragments of the way the world functions. People stopped socialising and going to work (or anywhere, for that matter) directly impacting the market and all industries.
As the global scenario found itself surmised into a stagnant reality due to the ghastly Covid-19 pandemic, a brief moment of reprieve came from the increased focus on healthcare and holistic well-being. The gripping home-workout/fitness mania which struck a connection with people all over the globe in the beginning of the lockdown, proved to be a major contributing factor for the increased popularity and demand in the sports apparel industry.
With the "work-from-home" trend catching traction and ample time on hands, the new-normal regime saw an increasing frenzy of fitness activities that could be practiced in the confines (and comfort) of your home calling for a casual yet functional fashion aesthetic, thus leading to a bigger than ever adaptation of athletic clothing into daily wardrobe essentials.
Turning back the clock a little shows us that this particular fashion aesthetic's humble beginnings stem from a collective consciousness leaning towards the fitness-freak lifestyle - right from the jazzercise, step-aerobics home-video workouts of the 80s and early 90s - which eventually catapulted athletic wear into centre stage. People’s ardor for sporty activities called for efficient and sturdy silhouettes that mixed fashion with comfort, enhancing the experience of frolicking around the great outdoors - in style!
Prompting further experimentation in sportswear, from the iconic, colourful 1980s workout leotards (the birthing factor of todays 'bodysuits'), along with the now infamous Polo-shirt, that was originally dubbed to be a ‘Tennis Shirt', to the invention of rubber soled shoes (read: every hype-worthy shoe to be created!) - fashion has walked a fine line between being athletic-wear and a style-statement in the form of what is now colloquially referred to as "Athleisure".
When it comes to foraying into the fitness life, it’s no secret that athleisure has crept into our wardrobes. Unlike several other fashion trends that are known to be fleeting, as they come and go every other runway season, with its dynamic, best-of-both worlds formula athleisure has revolutionised the fashion landscape in todays times.
Tackling the yearning for aesthetics, athleisure redefines comfort wear by churning out uber cool silhouettes that additionally boast features like abrasion-resistance, moisture-wicking, quick-drying four-way stretch fabric construction allowing the wearer to look cool and collected anytime, anywhere.
Further cementing its position as a multi-faceted wardrobe pick that allows you to seamlessly switch from indoor lounge sessions to casual social events in a jiffy, the style subgenre has unearthed a cult-like fan base among Millennials and Gen-Z - primarily because of its versatility and partly because of the heightened hype-awareness yet overall effortless and relaxed style quotient.
As a result, over the years, more and more sports as well as luxury brands have started improvising their aesthetics and silhouettes to create the perfect blend of fashion and functionality.
A decade ago, the apparel in the fitness section displayed fluorescent anoraks and logo-covered active wear sets, but the reimagined athleisure that we own today goes as far as to encompass haute-couture labels such as Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Moncler - further proving just how dynamic and ever-expanding this subcategory truly is.
Furthermore, the gym-to-street movement has caught the fashion industry by storm as labels begin dropping luxe-ranges of their versions of "active-wear". Apart from the billionaire biggies like Adidas and Nike, high fashion brands and designers like Ivy Park and Alexander Wang have taken the plunge and released some of their hottest, fashion-forward athletic-wear lines that can only be described as "sports-luxe".
The major defining moment in making athleisure the talk of the town is also the exceptional influence celebrities and fashion icons all over the world have had by embracing and forwarding this convergence.
Gone are the days of Fashion and Sports being the two competing cliques at the high school cafeteria. Catering to one and all, this subgenre has also found a fanbase in celebrities like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Kanye West who have brought athleisure into the mainstream by either stepping out in envy-worthy fits or releasing some of the most must-have pieces from their own fashion labels. Stunting on the gram, our favorite insta-influencers often don the seasons hottest drops, adding intrigue to the 'behind the scenes' glimpses of their lives, prompting millions of their followers to adopt this laid-back lifestyle as well.
2020 has been the year for diving deep in the athleisure aisle - whipping out the comforting, feel good factor of your favourite pair of joggers and many of the hottest athleisure trends of the year have trickled down into our choices of clothing alternatives.
Jumping right into a blast from the past, the 90s trend of matching sweatsuits is bigger than ever - with a luxurious twist. A go to, on-trend silhouette that screams effortless "chill vibes", a classic co-ord is perfect for navigating through busy schedules, looking fresh throughout zoom calls or quick runs around the block! These loungewear basics are a lifestyle essential.
Another feature that has gained popularity is inculcating ultramodern aesthetics and unconventional materials like holographic foil, metallic inks, vinyl, mesh, iridescent finishes and more, on seamlessly constructed garments.
The decade has ushered in reflective colours and galactic graphics, amping up streetwear styles to new futuristic levels, that feature active wear with neon colours, reflective details and chrome finishes.
When old-school gym class vibes meets 2020 urban fashion, a plethora of fun colors are found. Bright colour-blocking has made a major comeback, and cementing its way into our wardrobes is the feel good old retro-chic, revamped athletic wear being dished out for a new decade with a modern twist.
While 2020 has definitely altered our relationship with the outdoors to a certain extent, this year also marks the onset of innovative outerwear becoming the new normal.
On an average, it takes a person 21 days of repeatedly doing something to form a habit - needless to say, a year long affair of staying cooped up indoors, in the comfiest yet chicest fits, is more than enough time to make athleisure a vital part of our lives, pandemic or not! This crossover between fashion and fitness is here to stay.