Athleisure - the trend that redefined fashion

Athleisure continues to grow as a category, but which retailers are nailing it?

Athleisure - the trend that redefined fashion

It's a rare thing for a fashion trend to become an actual clothing category in its own right. But that's what the athleisure trend has done. First surfacing as a trend athleisure has gone on to become one of the most significant clothing categories in the industry - with forecasted sales of $355 billion by 2021, according to Morgan & Stanley!

To be honest, it's hardly surprising as athleisure combines sports, urban and fashion trends, making it a complete solution for a fashionable lifestyle. Athleisure first surfaced almost a decade ago when activewear first became acceptable outside of a sports environment. At the same time there began a real movement for people to live healthier more fitness focussed lifestyles which athleisure clothing facilitates perfectly as improvements in fabric fibres and technical performance mean it doesn't wrinkle, hold odours etc. thus can be worn all day from yoga session to shopping trips and school pick up.

Having evolved from trend to clothing category athleisure certainly appears to be here to stay, and for retailers who get it right, it can be a very lucrative product range.

Using the Mallzee Performance Score (MPS) which shows the percentage of positive interactions that customers have with products in the Mallzee app we can see which retailers have been winning in the athleisure stakes in 2018 and 2019. When it comes to the most popular sportswear brands in Mallzee, consumers love Sweaty Betty products and this year we've seen the brand enjoy a vast increase in their popularity no doubt driven by the fact that their range is fashionable and wearable in all situations - a masterclass in athleisure.

Puma, New Balance and Nike are also holding steady when it comes to popularity year on year. However, despite the much-heralded return of the 90s sports brands, some other well-known names are struggling slightly this year. It remains to be seen whether Summer 2019 will give brands such as FILA a boost.

Denim has long reigned as the biggest clothing category having started life as rugged workwear and now having infiltrated every social situation from party wear to office attire and worn by every demographic and age - could it about to lose its crown to athleisure?


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Helen Monaghan

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