Fashion brands launch gym lines as pandemic accelerates hybrid lifestyles | Fashion
From Rishi Sunak’s 6-Hour Peloton workout to the new aerobics comedy Physical starring Rose Byrne, our love for all things the gym shows no signs of slowing down. Now two of the most avant-garde fashion brands are offering clothes for squatting, jumping and sweating.
Telfar, the black-owned fashion label beloved by Oprah and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, known for its vegan leather, gender-neutral handbag and luxury durags, has announced the launch of a clothing line sports in September. And Pangaia, the leading sustainable fashion label that can count Pharrell Williams among its fans, has announced a 31-piece gym line.
âSo far this year, athleisure sales have outpaced fashion sales,â said Matt Powell, senior athletic advisor at NPD Group, a market research specialist. And although this was a pre-pandemic trend – in fact according to Chantal Fernandez of the Business of Fashion “its rapid growth had slowed in recent years” – in 2020, the sportswear market accounted for 40% of all online sales.
âIt’s not an instant trend, it’s a lifestyle change,â says Aoife Byrne, retail analyst at Edited. Indeed, the pandemic has accelerated a more âhybridâ lifestyle. Work, home, and activities such as exercise intertwined and dissolved the boundaries that previously separated them. People dress to express this change.
Gym equipment has become an everyday item of clothing, as people wear items such as leggings the way they would have worn jeans (searches for them have increased by 144%, according to Lyst). “The pandemic has shifted physical form from a public to a private sphere [one]”Says Professor Deidre Clemente, fashion historian.” This retreat has taken away any auspices of formality in sportswear: no one will see you. “
At the same time, the evidence suggests that home gym goers are fully leaning on a new look. Lululemon announced a 88% increased sales in the first quarter of this year. Under Armor announced an increase in sales of 35%. Gym brands such as Puma, Gap’s Athleta and running shoe brands such as Brooks, On and Hoka have all outperformed in their market. âThe relationship between exercise and what we wear has, again, been reborn amid social and cultural changes,â says Clemente.
The growing sportswear market is expected to reach Â£ 393 billion by 2024, according to Allied Market Research. âIn a visceral way, the pandemic has brought to the fore cultural ideas about athletic wear and athletic wear that have crept in for nearly two decades,â Clemente said. âAthleisure was a fuzzy line before the pandemic, but the lines between ‘it’s laid back but okay I guess’ and ‘it’s laid back whatever’ have all but disappeared.”