Athleisure Brands To Know
Posted on July 06 2017
First, in the early days of the 20th century, there was only leisure.
Then, as the decades progressed, came athletics. Then, in the ’70s and early ’80s, the rise in popularity of sports like tennis and jogging birthed a new style that combined the best qualities of both styles of clothing – bolstered by aspirational notions of middle-class chic and opulence that followed those activities.
Gradually a style of clothing that would come to be known as “athleisure” was born.
But that was just the beginning; when athleisure first came into existence, its name was quite literal; this was athletic clothing to be worn at leisure.
Fast-forward to 2017, and sportswear as fashion clothing is interwoven with cultures around the world.
I always remember the commonly-touted statistic that something like 90% of all performance footwear that is sold is never even used for the activity for which it was designed. In this environment, does athleisure even still really exist?
As a matter of fact, yes, it does. Granted, you’re less likely to come across those archetypal athleisure silhouettes that defined the ’80s like velour tracksuits, crisp white running shoes, and terrycloth sweatbands – well, unless you’re looking through one of Palace’s latest collections — but performance apparel that looks good still exists.
One of the problems of the market is that it’s been pretty much tied up by those six or seven heavyweight sportswear brands that need no introduction; when multinationals who turn over millions of dollars are already competing fiercely with each other to dominate the market, how does the little guy find space?
The answer’s actually similar to most industries. Get smarter. The most successful independent athleisure brands are usually the ones who focus less on sportswear as technical apparel, and more as a lifestyle.
Take Lululemon, the original yoga brand, which started by identifying an archetypal customer – covering everything from her favorite music to the type of car she drives – and then created the product to fit the customer.
Lifestyle is now the king of product, and athleisure is ripe territory for young brands that understand this. Here’s a guide to some of the best athleisure labels on the market today, but with the following disclaimer; we’re talking contemporary cuts. We’re leaving the Ellesse and Fila on the rail… for now.
via High Snobiety