The Evolution of Athleisure: From the Gym to the Streets

While we typically associate athleisure with yoga pants, the term has begun taking on a new meaning. It was originally used to refer to clothing for working out; the most prominent athleisure brands have transformed into lifestyle engineers. They have succeeded in dictating the trends in recent years. Today, athleisure reflects how you lead your life. From the colour palette of your leggings to the type of support you chose for your bra, all are indicative of who you are, or at least who you aspire to be. 

As the global activewear market is projected to reach $547B in two years, the market is becoming more competitive, with newcomers and established brands plotting their next move. 

What was once a passing trend is now commonplace. A little over a decade ago, the concept of wearing leggings as daily wear was not widely accepted. But now, almost everyone wears it and swears it to be the most comfortable item to wear every single day. 

Today, athleisure has grown into a multibillion market and is expected to grow more than 23% in the next decade. Consequently, online searches for athleisure have significantly increased by more than 25% since 2015. It is so popular that it was formally introduced to the dictionary in 2016. It now means casual clothing designed to be worn for exercising and general use. 

Athleisure represents a major cultural shift extending beyond leggings and pants. As more than 73% of consumers now prioritise health and fitness, it is a testament to the shift in the way people dress, eat, live, and our objectives and goals. What we are indeed outward projections of this shift. At the end of the day, athleisure promotes comfort. And in this day and age, comfort is what the majority of us hold onto for sanity. 

The Beginnings of Athleisure

Between the 1980s and 1990s, we saw the emergence of workplace wellness programs, commercial gyms, fitness centres, and spas, as well as the popularity of self-help experts. It brought the concepts of holistic health and a healthy lifestyle into the mainstream. 

In the first few years of the new millennium, tracksuits became a major trend. From brightly coloured matching velour to iconic tracksuits from brands like Adidas, tracksuits were popular. 

Lulelemon also opened for business at the turn of the millennium. The New York Times first used the term athleisure to refer to low-performance sneakers. 

Fast forward to 2016, Women’s Wear Daily reported that sales for leggings officially outpaced denim sales in the United States. In fact, legging sales increased by 41%, whereas denim sales increased by just 3% within the same timeframe. Leggings are extremely comfortable and more affordable than denim, too. 

High Fashion Goes Casual 

High fashion brands and couture houses are now embracing athleisure. Brands like Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Gucci are designing clothing pieces for casual wear. This cool concept reflects the stylish lifestyle most consumers want to lead over the long term. Additionally, the use of athleisure by big-named celebrities adds to the “it factor” that athleisure brings to the table. 

An Era of Influencers

Many other national brands are switching their marketing strategy around athleisure. For instance, Victoria’s Secret is now placing more emphasis on their leggings, workout pieces, and loungewear. At some point, the brand even got rid of their sexy swimsuit altogether to make room for their expanding athleisure category. In the case of Victoria’s Secret, the brand used its “Angels” as athleisure influencers, showing scenes from their workouts and off-duty looks. 

It is important to note that athleisure goes beyond clothes. Beauty, nutrition, and fitness industries all fit into a lifestyle movement that capitalises on the major selling points of athleisure. There are now specialty classes such as spinning, barre, and boxing that revolve around athleisure as a major component of their popularity. Social media influencers document their fitness routine, healthy habits, wearing athleisure wear. In this day and age, athleisure is now a common health and wellness way of life that everybody wants to emulate. 

What’s Next for the Athleisure Movement? 

Athleisure brands like Kate Galliano are now working towards work leisure. The term has gained momentum since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Truly, athleisure has influenced all aspects of our life, including work. Work-from-home notices have allowed professionals to work productively and efficiently by just wearing their most comfortable leggings. 

Leggings such as the KG Luxe Bottoms have become ever more popular because of their versatility. Apart from the breathable fabrics and excellent design and construction elements, the Luxe Bottoms by Kate Galliano are flexible in that you can wear them when you need to do urgent errands. It comes in various colours, so you can mix and match it based on your mood or occasion. KG Tracksuits that feature a hoodie and pants are cosy and can be worn indoors and outdoors. It’s the best pair to wear during winter and excellent if you wish to jog outdoors while protecting yourself from the sun’s rays. 

Kate Galliano Activewear - Athleisure - cream tracksuit pants and hoodie

To check out more exquisite and stylish athleisure pieces, check out our new collections here. Kate Galiano aims to create luxe and stylish athleisure clothing at great prices. If you have additional enquiries, you may contact us at contact@kategalliano.com

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