The Change To Active Wear

What comes to mind when someone says  “high fashion”? Maybe a ball gown, a cashmere shirt with a pair of slacks, or maybe a 800 dollar pair of shoes, but probably not yoga leggings and a cropped sweatshirt. There is a  new take on the way people dress and it has not only changed ideas of fashion but also the clothing market. Instead of people buying jeans, which have had a very high steady market since the first pair of blue jeans were made in 1873, they are now buying more leggings and yoga pants. In recent years, people have become enthusiastic about being active and having active lifestyle. This has changed the fashion industry, going from an everyday basic glam look to, “I just worked out but still look this good” look. The idea of having a simple, active life, has changed more than just lifestyles but the way designers in fashion industry display their high fashion clothing.

At the 2014 Chanel fashion show, leggings, sneaker and cropped sweaters took the runway. Showing off every abb and other muscle was very important. These articles weren’t always worn together but apart with a pair of slack or a loose skirt, maybe for a nice lunch out with friends. Chanel is known for their high fashion clothing, purses, shoes and make up, but they are now also taking part in the sport clothing market. "We found that there was a bit of a gap in our offering for someone who loves fashion and exercise and wants to look great doing it," said Net-A-Porter President Alison Loehnis. This quote shows how the fashion industry is switching from “fancy clothes” to “fancy work out clothes”. This is a change that not only Chanel designers are making but many other designers as well. With this change that Chanel has made, being one of the bigger names in high fashion, there will, and have been more to follow in their footsteps in making this change.

At New York’s fashion week, a couple of weeks ago, leggings were seen walking down the runway side by side with ball gowns and zip ups thrown over a pantsuit. Throwing a zip up jacket on before leaving on way to work is something some may never bat an eye at, but this wasn’t always the norm. Only about 70 years ago was the trend of women dressing in more of a masculine way controversial trend. In the 50’s the trend was a tight pencil skirt. All of these changes in fashion trends changed the fashion industry. The active clothing trend seems to be different, it goes farther than clothing. This is a trend that seems to go along with a change in lifestyle as well. “A 2012 study conducted by the highly respected, San Francisco-based publication Yoga Journal estimates that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, a 29 percent increase from 2008, when 15.8 million were attending classes.” (BOF) This trend isn’t simply about the clothes but also the lifestyle that comes with it. The change in clothing has changed people’s lifestyles because this type of clothing is made tight and fitted. It makes people want to be healthier, to look better in the clothes.  

This new active way of dressing has not only changed high fashion but has helped companies like Nike grow in crazy numbers. Lulu-lemon, is another company that has benefited from this change. They were one of the first yoga clothing stores. “From 2008 to 2013, sales increased by more than $1 billion, hitting $1.4 billion in the 2012 fiscal year.” (BOF) This is just in the past 5 years. From 1998, when the company was founded, until 2007 the company raised $327.6 million. Obviously this trend is getting more popular.  In the past few years fashion has taken a turn for the fittest. Activewear has become everyday wear, not just gym attire. This trend is related to the new obsession with an active lifestyle. More and more people are taking exercise classes, buying healthier food and looking like it while they do so. With the change in the industry the “popular” stores are changing what they carry, as well as the stores that are known for their active wear sales growing.

Although people in high fashion might not think that gym clothes matters much, his/her/its influence goes beyond that of gym rats to all clothing consumers. The lifestyle that comes with active wear is a more non-chalet way of living, a more laid back, less stressful way of living. It is also healthier, more active and eating healthier. In the past few years the popular lifestyle has changed. This has brought a change in fashion, which has helped grow many companies that before were well known but now are larger than imaginable.

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Comments (4)

Sean Morris (Student 2016)
Sean Morris

I thought this was an interesting article and brought up some interesting points I haven't really thought in depth about it before. I liked particularly how you brought up how people are exercising more and more and eating healthier foods, so this clothing trend can be considered an extension and how you used specific money revenue from Nike and Lulu. Well done!

Avery Monroe (Student 2016)
Avery Monroe

I have noticed that this has become a big fashion trend, I have never really thought about it being a temporary, new, cool, and hip thing. I like that you talked about that

I think a counter argument could be that this isn't a fashion statement it is just people being lazy, and that is the reason it has become so popular.

Felix D'Hermillon (Student 2016)
Felix D'Hermillon

I think that the essay is very well written. It reaches new thoughts that not everybody thinks about and it expands the readers horizons for how to look at fashion. It was very interesting when you referenced the new york fashion week. I really liked that paragraph.

Nashay Day (Student 2016)
Nashay Day

Although the change to active is the trend of the season rather than the fundamental trend of the decade, you sold me on the temporary change to active wear. It was awesome that you cited specific instances in which high end designers have adopted active wear and implemented it in their collections to show that it isn't just a trend that consumers have just popularized, rather a trend that has been adopted by all and something that is extremely polarizing to traditional high end consumers.