In recent years, the athleisure aesthetic has become one of the biggest trends in fashion. This approach was long seen by industry pros, who realized that people want clothes they can easily transition from one context to the other. In other words, many people want the elegance of more formal clothes but the flexibility and comfort of sportswear.
Athleisure, a blend between “athletic” and “leisure” is defined as “casual, comfortable clothing designed to be suitable both for exercise and everyday wear.”
This trend comes as a result of the many debates of whether sportswear can look stylish and be worn on an everyday basis. In the context where many people expressed their discontent for wearing slouchy sweatpants, but still doing it for the comfort, many designers and brands have now merged the two and offered their customers exactly what they want.
Who’s on board?
Because of its huge impact, the athleisure aesthetic can be described to be more of a new niche in fashion than just a fad. Forbes said in an article that “the ‘Athleisure’ trend has become so popular, it has carved out a niche for itself in the clothing industry, and has won an entry into the Merriam-Webster dictionary”. This is a very important thing to notice since what it means is that it is most likely not going to be just something that appeals to a certain audience for a certain time, but a concept that creates an entirely new audience. Just like there is a permanent market for country clothes, we are now seeing a whole segment of the population getting on the athleisure wagon. The reason why this is so relevant is because it means that it is creating a new lifestyle and a new slice in the subculture and niche pie chart of the world.
We therefore need to analyze who the people to who this trend appeals are, what their vision is and how they will influence the clothing market and culture. Given the casual, yet dressy aspect of the athleisure clothes can deduce that the athleisure people are people who want “instant style” and whose lifestyle revolves around places that are very similar in terms of mentality to each other. In other words, the athleisure person is someone who most likely does not change very different settings – they are very likely living in a suburban or suburban-esque setting and their life is all about shopping for different things, going out and working in a casual workplace. This is an indicator of a type of what in the long run could be the new physical communities of the world. In short, while the 2010s were very much about creating digital communities, the near future will most likely be defined by the rediscovery of physical communities. However, these communities are most likely going to be bubbles of likeminded people, rather than melting pots of different lifestyles and perspectives. The public square as a symbol is most likely to disappear or at least diminish in the years to come.
The couture version
The impact of athleisure is definitely one that has had a large impact not only on the way people dress on an average day, but also on high-end clothes created by many brands. In recent fashion seasons, we have seen more and more of what we call “couture sportswear”, which refers to brands that put out clothes on the runway that are very “couture” in nature, but whose inspiration lies directly in the world of athletic and casual clothes.
Athleisure is, in many regards, a great reflection of our time: we live in a busy decade, we live in a time of financial immaturity (most athleisure customers have expressed in surveys that they would rather spend money they do not have, but get the clothes they have) and in a world where Instagram models who spend most of their time in the gym are people’s idols. In this context, it only makes sense that such an approach to fashion would appear and develop into a new cultural segment.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
P.S. We want to hear from you! What do you think of athleisure? Do you like to wear this type of clothes? Why? Share your feedback, questions or thoughts in the comments below! For more articles on style, fashion tips and cultural insights, you can subscribe to Attire Club via e-mail or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!