WGSN Active Director Clare Varga explains why the Athleisure trend won’t die, but the name is no longer suitable
As head of the Active department, Clare is constantly asked this common question – what is the future of Athleisure? And is it here to stay or will the excitement around it fade out soon?
It’s no surprise that she is constantly asked about it, we are dealing with a billion dollar market after all. A market that sees established sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas discussed in the same breath as new daily launches and high-street retailers like H&M who have moved into that market- no wonder it’s such a talking point.
To deal with the topic indepth WGSN is addressing the future of the trend with its webinar – After Athleisure.
Reflecting that, we asked Clare to give us her three thoughts on Athleisure, the word and the trend.
1. Athleisure is the new normal
Earlier this year, Merriam-Webster announced it was adding the word ‘Athleisure’ to the dictionary and defined it as “casual clothing designed to be worn for both exercising and for general use”. The term has gone mainstream as we all embrace the wellness lifestyle.
2. The designer backlash
Now that the term has gone mainstream, designers are ditching the umbrella term and fighting to give credit to the unique, different design styles that have previously been sandwiched into the term. Streetwear designer Nasir Mazah recently criticised fashion writers for their use of phrases like ‘athleisure’ or ‘the sportswear trend’, calling it rude and citing their deep lack of understanding for the subtleties of the aesthetic.
3. The term will start to fade.
For the retail industry and brands the term Athleisure is too broad, and using it is a disservice to your product offerings. Individual consumers and style tribes have emerged within the umbrella term, so to better understand and serve those consumers and their needs retailers need to ditch the broad term.
For a more indepth analysis on Athleisure, catch up with Clare’s activewear report here.
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