Activewear has been steadily rising in popularity to the point where the word 'athleisure' has even secured its spot in the dictionary.
Research by Verdict Retail completed in February 2016 found that:
- 53.7% of consumers purchased activewear over the last 12 months, with the highest penetration among the 25 to 44 years age group.
- 43.3% of consumers prefer to wear activewear over other clothing.
What is activewear?
Athleisure is defined as casual clothing designed to be worn for both exercising and for general everyday casual wear, and this is exactly what makes it so popular; it’s a fashion trend that's easy to adopt and there’s something for almost every body type. The wide appeal of activewear has spread across consumers because they can manipulate one trend for almost every situation, from grabbing coffee, to training in a gym, grocery shopping and even at work in the office.
It is becoming more and more acceptable to wear your gym clothing for both physical activities and social events, particularly since retailers have invested in making ranges far more fashionable and trendy.
It used to be the case that people would workout in their old, baggy cotton t-shirts and sweatpants. However nowadays, it's more important to look good at the gym and activewear has become more of a fashion statement. Apparel brands are now designing sportswear to be both practical and stylish so that you can look good while you sweat.
The influence of social media
Fashion gym wear is on the rise in part thanks to social media sites like Instagram. These days, going to the gym isn't just about working out; it's also about posing in your gym wear and posting photos online for others to see. It pays to look good at the gym, and that's why we are seeing far more fitted gym tops to show off your slim waistline, bum-sculpting women's leggings to flatter your figure, and seamless activewear designs that look as good as designer casual wear.
There has been a significant rise not only in the popularity of sportswear for women and ladies gym wear but of fitness wearables such as heart rate trackers and sports watches which measure your water intake and blood oxygen levels. Thanks to all-day tracking, fitness has come out of the gym and is now a part of our everyday lives. More people are counting their steps and resting heart rate to make sure they are sticking to their fitness goals and incorporating exercise into their daily routine.
By extension, fitness clothing is now designed to be worn outside of the gym as well as in it, as we strive for a healthy lifestyle which continues away from barbells and treadmills and runs into our everyday lives.
This prioritising of health and fitness has spread into the office as well, offering a more relaxed dress code in some places of business which allows for lunchtime workouts or a quick dash from work to the gym for an evening workout.
We’re more conscious of the dangers of sitting too long, being constantly reminded that we’re not doing enough to move by our fitness trackers, and so it’s become more popular to dress so we’re ready to be active when the opportunity arrives.
The rise of fitness clothing has been accompanied by a rise in fitness technology, with gadgets developed to monitor everything from your sleep to your water intake. Due to this constant consciousness of our physical state, we’re more likely to worry about wearing fitness wear which enables us to be more active throughout the day. One in 6 consumers currently wears wearable technology and it is predicted that the wearables market will grow to $34 billion by 2020.