Athleisure, A Lifestyle Trend Of This Decade
Open|January 18, 2016

As the defining lifestyle trend of this decade, athleisure has changed the way we dress, appear, move and feel.

Aekta Kapoo

In 2012, when Paula Reed worked as fashion director at Harvey Nicholsin London, she noticed curious things taking place on the mens-wear floor. “Our buy of Givenchy, Kenzo, Raf Simons and (Alexander) McQueen sweatshirts, T-shirts and bomber jackets were being snapped up as eagerly by the girls as they were by the boys,” she recalls. Her team took the obvious next step: they shifted a selection of the mens-wear stock to the fourth floor where contemporary women’s wear lived. “And it has gathered momentum every season,” says Reed, who now works at luxury e-commerce retailer Boutique 1. She affirms, “I guarantee that this decade will be defined by athleisure.”

Equated with sporty casuals, ‘athleisure’ is the coming together of active wear and leisure clothing, and is predicted to be one of the most pervasive and longest lasting trends our generation will see. It’s everywhere—from the catwalks, with couture and ready-to-wear collections blending sophisticated tailoring with sportswear detailing; to million-dollar popstar collaborations with sports brands; and down to our daily lives. Half the time, it has nothing to do with sport: the Indian working woman with leggings replacing the churidaar; the bachelor preferring track pants to jeans while stepping out to buy bread and eggs;the college student in gold-glazed keds; the wannabe socialite who ticks up her kids from school in a Juicy Couture bomber jacket and tracks; the fashion editor in a little black dress worn with sneakers instead of high heels at the front row of fashion week; the young executive in a chic polo with formal trousers. Like falling in love, the coupling of sport and fashion is a result of various forces at work, from chemistry to biology to social aspirations. Athleisure is irresistible.

Unlike other mainstream fashion trends that start from the silver screen or the most prestigious catwalks in the world, this movement is defined by street cred and an emphasis on individual comfort over obligatory social codes. Driven by selfies on social media and paparazzi shot images of film stars in their casual avatars, its icons range from Instagram sensations like Kylie Jenner—the youngest of the Kardashian clan is usually seen in a sports bra and leggings accessorised with a designer bag and sunglasses—to Bollywood stars like Kangana Ranaut who pairs sneakers with cocktail dresses, and Ranveer Singh who made printed track pants legit daywear. Even Russian strongman Vladimir Putin isn’t immune—he was photographed in a cashmere-and-silk sweatsuit by Loro Piana estimated to cost around $3,200, having post-workout tea with his prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev.

This year, athleisure even finds place in the Merriam-Webster dictionary with the definition ‘casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use’. “The top searched fashion item last year was ‘jogging pants’,” says Reed, who was one of the panelists at P&G Future Fabrics 2015 in Barcelona, where the world’s authorities on fashion, textiles and fabric care came together to discuss how athleisure was changing the dynamics in their fields. Reed refers to surveys that say roughly half of the buyers of active wear buy it for non-active use.“Today, entire wardrobes are built around upscale sportswear for day and knockout cocktail wear for the evening. Wearing high-end sports clothes is the new status symbol,” she says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM OPENView All

Can Therapy Break The Taboo Of Hypersexuality?

Can therapy break the taboo of hypersexuality?

10+ mins read
Open
December 28, 2015

Afghanistan: Waiting For A New Life

Ravaged by war, terror and bad politics, Afghanistan is waiting for a new life after the withdrawal of American troops.

8 mins read
Open
December 28, 2015

Grand Opening Of Dance Bars, Are The Girls Excited?

Following a Supreme Court order, Mumbais dance bars are preparing for a grand opening. Are the girls equally excited?

10 mins read
Open
December 21, 2015

Discovery Of Colonial India

Lord Hastings 1814 journey from Calcutta to Punjab with painter Sita Ram is a discovery of Colonial India through lives mundane and magical.

8 mins read
Open
December 21, 2015

Imtiaz Ali: Auteur In Love

Imtiaz Ali's new film too is a celebration of desire and longing. The filmmaker in conversation with Divya Unny.

8 mins read
Open
December 14, 2015

Athleisure, A Lifestyle Trend Of This Decade

As the defining lifestyle trend of this decade, athleisure has changed the way we dress, appear, move and feel.

9 mins read
Open
January 18, 2016

Hate Wave In Communal India

Provocative clerics, frenzied mobs and the widening fault lines of communal India.

10+ mins read
Open
January 25, 2016

Delhi Government: Getting Even With The Odd Chief Minister

A righteous Kejriwal makes the governance of Delhi all about one man’s whims and paranoia.

8 mins read
Open
January 25, 2016

India’s Cricket Prodigies: Who Will Stay Like Tendulkar?

India’s cricket prodigies today are luckier than their predecessors, but who will stay the distance like Tendulkar? 

7 mins read
Open
January 25, 2016

Dating Apps: A Sexual Revolution

As the dating app sets up office in India, its first ever outside the US, Lhendup G Bhutia signs on to see what the fuss is all about. He comes out unwanted.

9 mins read
Open
February 2, 2016