As Chanel unveils the first ever couture trainer, we are surely reaching the pinnacle of the sportswear-meets-high-fashion influx. Already radically altering the way we dress, this trend is now being hailed as more than a mere fashion aesthetic, but as representing an overall shift in lifestyle. Earlier this month, Business of Fashion reported that the global sports apparel market is set to grow to $178 billion by 2019. So how is the fashion world – both the luxury sector as well as the high street – adapting to this?
With an increased interest in an active lifestyle, consumers searched for a way to marry style with fitness – both high fashion and the high street responded accordingly.
Let’s gloss over the headbands and leg warmers of the 80s and fast-forward to 2004. Arguably the start of this sportswear-meets-high-fashion crescendo was the Stella McCartney/Adidas collaboration, which is now a brand in its own right, with nearly 800 points of retail worldwide. McCartney’s involvement in the Olympics no doubt cemented sportwear’s fashion credentials, the games encouraging the embracing of sportswear into a fashion-conscious casual wardrobe. With an increased interest in an active lifestyle, consumers searched for a way to marry style with fitness – both high fashion and the high street responded accordingly.
Heavy duty shoes with overtly athletic origins are now manufactured in Neons and animal prints, receiving the high fashion treatment with collaborators such as Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci.
Several seasons ago, Isabel Marant launched her leg-lengthening hidden wedge trainers (everyone from New Look to Reebok has spawned their own version since), creating a fashion staple from the most humble – and lucky for us, practical – type of footwear. Nike Free Runs and Flyknits no longer remain strictly as gym-attire, and are now bona-fide Fashion Week staples, spotted everywhere from the Frow, to street style blogs, as well as right here on campus.
The last shift like this was probably the mainstream acceptance of Converse and later Vans.
The last shift like this was probably the mainstream acceptance of Converse and later Vans. However, styles from New Balance and Air Jordans have arguably made a larger impact, because of their noticeable shift towards more practical aspects of active-wear. Heavy duty shoes with overtly athletic origins are now manufactured in Neons and animal prints, receiving the high fashion treatment with collaborators such as Givenchy’s Ricardo Tisci, demonstrating the growing tendency to target sportswear at women in a previously male–oriented market. Nike also attributed their increased sales in North America last year as largely down to the increased buying of women’s training gear.
This booming ‘lifestyle trend’ shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Whilst high street giants H&M, Gap and Uniqlo now all stock their own line of workout gear, fashion week is increasingly becoming a showcase for sports influenced design, and not just from the classics such as Kors or Hilfiger. This season we saw Prada’s knee high socks, Pucci’s running shorts, and bomber jackets at Gucci and Marc Jacobs elevating these old-school basics to a new realm of wear-ability that don’t compromise on style.
Luxury houses are further still expanding their design repertoire when it comes to sports, with national kits from Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani being unveiled for the Winter Olympics this week. H&M have similarly stepped up their game, and have been announced the designers for the Swedish team kit, just weeks after launching their first sportswear line. With level of hype created by international sporting events such as these and the subsequent trickle down effect of this new sportswear aesthetic, this booming ‘lifestyle trend’ shows no signs of stopping any time soon.
Images: Vogue.fr, Grazia.fr, asos.co.uk, liberty.co.uk