A History of Athleisure
Athleisure is a trend that simply won’t die. Before its rise the worlds of fashion and activewear were kept almost completely separate, but since it became so popular they are being drawn closer and closer together and it seems there is no going back for either of them.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where the trend for athleisure clothing really began: before it was a fashion movement, it was a simple grassroots preference many people had for casual exercise wear. It was low maintenance, allowed people to signal their fitness through their clothing choices and perhaps most importantly, comfortable. Even at its most high fashion, Athleisure remains focussed on comfort, whether that’s a carefully engineered exercise outfit designed to wick away perspiration so you can exercise with the minimum of hardship, or a lazy Sunday morning ensemble of soft wools to allow you to relax in luxury.
Athleisure began to coalesce as a distinct look in late 2013 into early 2014, but if you had to choose a moment to call the beginning of Athleisure, October 2014 is probably the best one. This is when Beyoncé partnered up with Topshop to announce a high street Athleisure range called Ivy Park, and the word was suddenly on everyone’s lips. One particularly popular piece was Kristin Rice Studeman, writing in Vogue. She pointed out that Athletics and Leisure are really polar opposites and despite admitting a personal bemusement over the trend was forced to admit that it was taking over the world.
Since then Athleisure has only bedded in: there’s no sign of it passing out of popularity. Maybe because keeping healthy is always in fashion and this lets people show their commitment to a healthy lifestyle even while keeping on trend, maybe because the clothes are simply comfortable and that will never go out of fashion.
Now, in 2017, you can buy high street Athleisure clothing as where Beyoncé’s Ivy Park lead the charge many others have followed, you can see Athleisure inspired collections from the high fashion world on catwalks and you can buy high end Athleisure clothes from small, select labels. Chinti and Parker offer some cashmere sweatpants among other things that exemplify the values of the luxury end of the Athleisure scale.