The long reigning go-to staple items of jeans and ballet flats usually worn when catching up with friends over a coffee, have now shifted to the likes of leggings and the latest adidas Ultra Boost trainers; blazers being swapped for hoodies and loose fitting tops. When you walk along some the most key streets and locations across any city, it is almost guaranteed that a handful of women will be repping fitness apparel, despite potentially not having set a Nike-cladded foot in any gym, boutique studio or pilates class.The growing number of lycra-legged ladies walking – as in, just casually walking – not power walking, jogging or even tracking-their-steps-on-their-FitBit-walking – is attributed to ‘The Athleisure Trend’.
For those with the lesser fashion vernacular knowledge, Athleisure is the new street-style trend of wearing pieces typically cut and worn for the gym or for active-purposes, yet with the intention of being worn outside within regular daily routine.
Ranges and releases under the Athleisure tag consist of comfortable clothing aligned with current fashion trends, which doesn’t carry the leotard and legwarmers vibe. It’s easy, casual (literally) sweat-free style, where resulting, fitness is now fashionable – which has even led to the trending hashtag within the social media bubble of #inmyactivewear.
Athleisure is based on a blend between performance, versatility and style – all essential to the modern age girl with a busy schedule. Athleisure clothing is as flexible as its yoga-participating consumers (or those who wish to allude to the idea they’ve spent the morning at boot camp, a Barre class or at TriYoga). With the lead target market being young women, these consumers are now busier and more time-poor than ever: they are busy-active more so than physically-active, where there is the clear demand and need for casual, versatile and comfortable clothing.
Additionally, the lululemon-legging ladies of this market are stretching not only their yoga poses but their wardrobes to get more value for money: they are investing in pieces outside the traditional apparel market, which will take them from their early morning sun salutations, to mid-afternoon coffee meetings and through to post-work gym classes.
And the industry sales results clearly reflect this: 2014 saw the female activewear market reach over US$15.1 billion, according to Fortune.com. In the US alone, combined sales of sportswear totalled £10.3 billion in 2011
As consumers become more time-consumed, coupled with the continuing concern for personal health, fitness and wellbeing, Athleisure is one trend in which is deemed to not fade out any time soon; NPD predicting that the global active wear market will reach $178 billion by 2019.
At the front line of this growing trend within the European market is online luxury activewear retailer, Cope Active. What has now grown to be one of the most premier online destinations for some of the most designer and luxury activewear brands within the market, Caroline Wilhelm, founder and CEO of the online Athleisure site, aims to allow each “… lady to stride in style, whether it be on the street, in the park, or in her favourite studio.”
Due to such versatility, Athleisure may be more than just a fad or temporary trend. Some of the biggest names in the industry are fusing the seamless integration between fitness and fashion – including adidas, GAP and Zara.
Offerings range from low-price point brands such as H&M, to mid-tier of MANGO, to higher-end designer collections by Karl Lagerfeld. The broad spectrum of brands delivering activewear style ranges sees this as one trend in which women can easily keep on track with without breaking a sweat – or their bank account.
Wilhelm further attributes the overall growth in Athleisure, as well as to her growing consumer base,
“…that there are no rules and because it is an ‘in-between’ look, everything goes”.
One of Cope Active’s recent designer releases providing such versatility and seeing high success is that of the Blue Life Fit range, a sub-category from brand, Blue Life. Its range of laser-cut bras, tops and leggings carry a contrast of materials with a stark pristine pallet of black, white and grey.
Designed purely for the Athleisure consumer, the range “… aspires to help women look and feel their best with effortless basics and fashion-forward workout gear”, in which the brand designed “… its line for women leading active lives”.
Performance is a key attribute to the collection; pieces are produced with quick-dry mesh and moisture-wicking material for workouts as well as stretch elastic waistbands for movement and comfort.The silhouettes of key pieces such as the ‘Cut It Out Legging’ are flattering, allowing for pieces to be a functional wardrobe staple.
Not only is fitness now fashionable, but it’s also fashionable to be fit; the ‘strong not skinny’ movement has now extended to the fashion industry, in which the Athleisure trend is leading, one lunge at a time.
Cope Active is the only retailer in Europe to stock the BlueLife Fit SS16 Courtside Collection. Shop the full collection here