Athleisure is becoming a lifestyle norm. The versatility of athleisurewear
explains the segment’s growing market in the fashion industry
and why consumers are chasing athleisure over everything else.
Athleisure comes from ‘athletic’ and ‘leisure’, and offers users fitness with a fabulous look. Fitness is no more a hobby, it is a lifestyle. And so is fashion with comfort. Activewear is becoming everyone’s choice with great comfort and amazing styling, and athleisure is ruling everywhere from work to workout and everything in between.
According to many accounts, leisurewear is redefining fashion trends for the 21st century. By 2024, the global market of athleisure is expected to reach $567 billion, rising at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8 per cent. Between 2019 and 2023, global athleisure market size will grow by $122.66 billion at the CAGR of nearly 7 per cent.
That means the future of fashion is athleisure. It has changed the way people dress for gym, work, street and casual outings. No matter where you are, activewear has become the ultimate choice of consumers in a wide variety of social situations.
Athleisure is bridging the gap between ‘fitness’ and ‘fashion’. Now, you do not need to choose one over the other. Activewear is here to offer you the best of both the worlds.
Listed below are a few benefits that set them apart in the fashion world. These will surely inspire you to replace your regular wear with leisurewear.
1) Performance booster:
To boost your day-to-day performance and productivity, you need to be healthy–psychologically and physically. Athleisure goes beyond the skin to look after your psychological health and it has fluorescent coloured patches on the inside surface to make you feel faster.
According to John Sullivan, a leading sports scientist and clinical sports psychologist, if an athlete doesn’t feel comfortable, then he has one more thing to think about when he actually needs to focus on the sport. Athleisure can make you feel comfortable and look good by taking care of your body temperature, skin moisture, muscles condition and other psychological needs.
“Comfort and emotions are vital to boost performance. Consumers are expecting a lot from athleisure—some want to feel naked, other wants a tight, supported sensation,” says Tom Waller, a PhD in sports technology from UK’s Loughborough University.
Activewear is utility apparel designed to boost performance by improving the body movement compared to regular clothes. Along with that, these can also prevent muscle sprains and other ligament and muscle-related injuries. Athleisure also offers breathability, quick-drying, static resistance, thermal resistance and chemical resistance that improve consumers’ performance.
How you feel gets reflected in your work. A sense of comfort boosts a person’s mood and makes it more competitive. Another psychological factor is peace of mind—when we feel safe or less intimidated by the fear of injury, we are encouraged to push our daily performance limits. Even the colour of your clothes plays an important role in establishing personal pride, team spirit or even a sense of belonging. To perform better, your mind, heart and body need to be in sync with each other and that is what athleisure can do.
2) Hypoallergenic & Anti-Bacterial:
It is high time to ditch itching and bad odour. Your regular clothes must be irritating at times because of sweating, itching and stinking—especially after hitting the gym or a hectic routine day.
Athleisure can fix all skin-related issues caused by regular fabrics. Brands and retailers are using advanced technologies to make athleisure perfectly hypoallergenic and to avoid discomfort caused by regular clothes. Over the period, scientists have developed an anti-microbial treatment to make clothing free of germs and odour. These anti-bacterial clothes do not have an adverse effect on the ecological balance of healthy skin microflora. Athleisure brands are using bamboo fabric to make hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial apparels. Bamboo is a natural fibre with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that makes it suitable for all skin types, from normal to sensitive. Athleisure products made from bamboo fabric can control temperature, are soft to the skin, balance the moisture and protect from ultra-violet rays to avoid skin irritation, itching and stinking.
Many athleisure brands are using silver ions as an anti-microbial agent. Other anti-microbial agents are polyhexamethylene guanidine (PHMG), triclosan, quaternary ammonium compounds and chitosan. These can be applied to the textile substrate as a finish using various techniques: exhaust, coating, spray, pad-dry-cure and foam. The anti-microbial substance can also be added directly to the fibre spinning dope. The anti-microbial effect is limited to the fabric surface, but mostly the amount of biocide discharged onto the skin from fabric is exotic.
Anti-microbial substances have been used in textiles to prevent rotting, especially under tropical climate conditions. Today’s consumers are prioritising hygiene and
active lifestyle, and this has boosted the market for anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic athleisure.
Changing climate and balancing temperature is a new struggle of all generations. Athleisure understands the importance of maintaining and regulating body temperature. Consumers are chasing advanced fabrics to respond to outside temperature. Activewear keeps you warmer in cold weather and cooler in warm weather.
Activewear brands are using wool due to its thermoregulating, anti-bacterial properties and sustainability powers. Out of all natural fibres, wool has become the most popular for athleisure. Smartwool is the best performance fabric. It is soft, moisture-wicking, thermoregulating, sustainable and odour-neutralising, knocking synthetic fabric out of the park.
Activewear is evolving and there is a space for more sophisticated fibres as customers are looking for fabrics with higher performance. Advanced fabrics are making homeostasis vital for the textile industry. These fabrics not only focus on functionalities but also on comfort. For example, thermoregulating fabrics can quickly wick away sweat, which could create more drying property, but when the user stops exercising, the fabric will reduce the breathability, and therefore, the wearer will not feel cold. Moreover, the athleisure industry has also developed fine denier and fine knitting gauge fabrics, which not only have an incredible hand feel but also increase the tightness and improve the comfort level. Athleisure brands are uncovering new possibilities for their consumers with more advanced technologies, enhanced thermoregulation and friction reduction techniques.
4) Durability & Sustainability:
Smart shoppers pick quality over quantity and they love the earth. Athleisure consumers are looking for long-lasting apparel with less or no effect on the environment.
Athleisure brands are emphasising more on the sustainable process throughout the textile chain. Fabrics used in activewear manufacturing include BCI cotton, recycled polyester and nylon with added performance, UV protection, and eco-friendly chemical finishes.
Tencel, a sustainably-sourced natural wood-based fibre, is used by athleisure brands to provide durability to the fabric. Other qualities like softness, breathability and light weight make it gentle against the body. Tencel is made from natural cellulose found in Eucalyptus wood pulp. This fibre is economical in its use of energy and natural resources and is fully biodegradable.
Another sustainable fabric used is Micromodal extracted from Beechwood. Swiss Edelweiss fibre technology is used to produce Micromodal fibres. The production process is symbiotic—the raw material is generated at the same site as modal fibre itself in a cautious closed-loop system. The production process is entirely non-toxic and conserves energy to create bio-degradable threads. Micromodal, the finest fibre of the modal family makes the most lightweight and comfortable apparel. It is super soft and offers the breathability of cotton. Hence, it usually requires synthetic material to provide functionality.
Many brands use natural fabrics without using nano-particles, following Bluesign standards for sustainable material and production. Eco-friendly is the highest accreditation in the fashion industry. Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet to create apparel that has zero negative effects on the environment but there are standards to be followed.
The activewear market is growing faster than you may think. Before it was just athleisure, now it is more of work leisure. Consumers are getting smarter to choose needs, the right material, and multipurpose and durable clothing. Brands are backing them by attending to all their demands.
It is not just about fashion, it is active fashion as health and wellness that are now the first choice of consumers. Athleisure is here to stay along with the wellness movement and consumers are going to love it more.