Why sporty wear is everything to us

Barry Viloria on Jan 07, 2016 11:28 PM
Why sporty wear is everything to us
Say hello to ‘athleisure,’ a fashion trend that mixes our love for sports and swag. (Photos by Rxandy Capinpin for UAAP Magazine)

It isn’t uncommon bumping into some guy or girl out there in their crew neck sweatshirts, caps, joggers, and trainers while covered in some snazzy bomber jacket—or could we have just described you? Sporty? Yeah, right. More and more have gone for casual sportswear as the most versatile, go-to kind of getup, and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re on your way to a shooting practice. It could mean you’re just heading to a nearby Starbucks or the mall. The most “physical” it can get for many is an hour-long spinning class at the gym.

Athleisure now exists. It’s a word that’s been expected for inclusion in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in early 2016. It generally means sporty clothing you can wear anywhere. Sportswear has seen its birth and eventual rise in the 50s (think preppy: tennis shirts, Ivy League varsity jackets) before getting eclipsed by punk fashion in the latter part of the 20th century. Athleisure, which arrived only in the recent year or so, made it sure the trend has come full circle.

Such trend is one that has gotten sports faves like Nike and adidas with the upper hand and on to partnering with designers, so they could develop the stylish yet somehow sporty products we now see dominating mall windows. Eventually, luxury brands have followed suit, and worked on making their products friendlier to the supposedly utilitarian crowd. Still luxe these are, hence sports luxe. Or, why slipping into trousers and Stan Smith’s is now acceptable in some corporate settings.

Yes. You. Now. Can.

It’s a big trend—the States’ NDP in 2014 indicates that $2 billion was derived from the consumption of activewear, athletic performance footwear, and bags, reported a Forbes.com article in September last year. But it isn’t just some passing fashion fad feeding on the sports-inclined consumer. It’s the zeitgeist, reflecting the active lifestyle people—athlete or not—have been following for many years now, says Chalk fashion editor Kate Paras.

“The way I see it, athleisure isn't just a fashion trend but a cultural phenomenon that mirrors this generation's obsession with looking good physically,” she points out.

“You see cycling studios, boxing gyms, and yoga places popping up on every corner, and as a result, young people jump on the bandwagon (despite steep prices) hoping to get their fair share of this fitness craze.”

Although, lately has seen quite a change on the purpose behind such happening, adds Paras. People rocking the athleisure now just sport it—just because. Why? Precisely the two reasons why it gained popularity: style and comfort.

“It's easy to find a girl rocking a Nike ports bra under a denim jacket even if she didn't come from the gym, or a guy wearing a baseball shirt to the office. The practicality of these pieces is still there, it just depends on the person wearing them to define their use,” she says.

And this is why many fashion dictators are predicting its longevity in the market.

“I personally feel athleisure will be around for a while, as it doesn't just cater to a very large market—from sports fans, to fitness junkies, to fashionistas,” Paras says.

While she commends designers like Y-3, Stella McCartney, and even Alexander Wang (H&M, sounds familiar now?) for “taking this aesthetic to a whole new level of style,” she notes that it’s also a great time for sports nuts to finally open themselves to a new—albeit commercialized—domain. It’s a place long penetrated by the sneakerheads, and for us who love sports and style together, it’s a beautiful, beautiful world.

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