Athleisure is the latest workplace-to-playplace fashion trend, but you may not have even noticed.
Athleisure is “casual clothing meant to be worn both for exercising and for general use.” We know it as the clothes we throw on to go to the grocery store, the gym, and everything else if given the opportunity. Honestly, we can probably blame yoga pants for this sudden uptick in cozy casual. But hell – it’s smart, comfy, and exactly what the apparel industry needed.
In fact, if it weren’t for athleisure, apparel sales would have declined by 2% last year. Instead, they rose by 2%, thanks to the insane 16% rise in activewear sales. Right now the market size of athleisure if about $44 billion. Morgan Stanley says it will grow to $83 billion by 2020. Yeah, no joke.
Why Athleisure Will Never Die
Athleisure caught on so quickly because it filled a clear void in the market. As the population has become more health-conscious and fashion forward (especially men), we’ve realized how important it is to look hot at the gym. Even more important, the post-workout lunch. Why change in between?
It’s this cultural shift that makes it clear: sneakers and sweatpants are here to stay. People are living more active lifestyles, and they’re definitely spending their money to support it. Even corporate offices are letting their employees come into work wearing yoga pants these days. A little much? Maybe. But it’s real life.
The athleisure market is still booming with new players…but for how long?
The success of activewear companies like Under Armor and Lululemon pushed everybody and their mother to give the market a try. Every fast fashion retailer has at least a couple partnerships, and even the big boys like Wal-Mart and Target are entering the race. Prices will keep trending down and it’s going to be hard for competitors to keep up.
But of course, it’s 2017. Activewear companies know they need to innovate to survive, and that’s what they’re doing. We’ll continue to see new tech innovations in each new pair of sweatpants. Who knows where this whole athleisure trend will end up, but we know we do know one thing: it’s gonna be pretty damn comfy.