“Athleisure” phenomenon – when fashion meets sportswear

High fashion also endures the allure of the mix with sportswear, launching collections and products which combine free time and work time

In our previous article, we have identified the possible new trends for 2021. But there is another trend that, while surely not having appeared on the scene during the most recent months, precisely at this time is becoming increasingly popular: and this trend is “athleisure”.

Fashion meets sports with capsule collections and co-branding

In fact, the coinage “athleisure” is first seen in print as far back as 1976. The term originates from the union between athletic activity (athl-) and leisure time (-leisure), indicating, therefore, a mixture between sports and relaxation. Over time, the word has come to identify an authentic cultural phenomenon, widening its significance. A new concept where comfort and style, function and fashion, performance and convenience meet and influence each other.

The cultural phenomenon does not take long to become transformed into an economic success. The “athleisure” growth rate has recorded an increase of approximately +40% in China in 2018 compared to 2013, in the United States a value of $117 billion in 2019. The most iconic articles of clothing associated with this trend: hats, tracksuits, leggings, sweatshirts, and sneakers. Sportswear has basically broken free from simple sports activity permanently.

As we have just seen, therefore, the trend we are touching on revealed itself already some time ago, but it is precisely in early 2021 that it has developed in some remarkably interesting ways. First, in January, Zara launched a capsule collection with the historic sports brand, Everlast, highlighting how the co-branding trend is ever more rooted in fast fashion.

In the same period as well, something even more surprising (but perhaps not even so…), the big fashion houses as well have seized this spirit, experimenting with collections that combine athletic activity with everyday life. The philosophy at the basis is clear: new lifestyles require new approaches toward clothing. Indoor and outdoor, time for leisure and work, activity and rest drift one into the other.

The unstoppable success of athletics, from sports devices to new textiles

Nonetheless, all this buzz would not be the same without a decidedly favorable general context. The recent boom in clothing and devises associated with physical activity has without a doubt played into the hands of “athleisure”. According to an analysis by Gartner, in fact, in 2021 spending for wearable devices (smart watches, sports trackers, wireless earbuds, smart patches and bracelets with sensors) will grow by 18.1% globally, reaching $81.5 billion.

Fashion brands, on their end, patent new clothing products. Fibers which reduce the perceived temperature, weaves which limit sweating, fabrics that are hypo-allergenic, anti-bacterial and that protect from UV sun rays. Innovative technological materials, to be applied to the world of sports, basically constitute the new mission for many brands.

The distinction between work and free time, indoor and outdoor, is more and more blurred. The technologies used in retail must in turn adapt to a new public, ever more “liquid” and in movement. For this reason, Bizeta brings all the POS applications to mobile as well, intercepting once again the trends of the moment.


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