In March 2020, every office was forced to work from home due to the COVID-19 lockdown and office attire went from suits and shirts to workout clothes - or even pyjamas for some. Athleisure soon became the daily day-to-night attire; perfect for daytime Zoom calls and then straight to relaxing in the evening for banana bread making and Netflix binges. Even with the newfound hype around home workouts, athleisure was faultless as you could fit a quick workout in your lunch break.
Athleisure is now among the top things that consumers want. According to a J.P. Morgan survey, 24% of those surveyed on stimulus spending chose athleisure wear as a top-three category for where they intended to spend. The athleisure market in the US was valued at $155.2 billion in 2018, and is now expected to grow to $257.1 billion by 2026, due to the new demand. According to a survey by Cotton Incorporated, almost half of all consumers say that activewear bottoms have replaced jeans in their wardrobe, and over a third of people say they prefer them.
What have fashion brands done?
American Eagle has recently launched its own brand of activewear called Offline by Aerie, where they say the range is ‘build for real movement and real comfort’. The global brand president, Chad Kessler, said they are pushing leggings and sweats for the back-to-school season.
Gym + Coffee is an Irish athleisure brand who has to react quickly to the change in demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while they closed their stores they quadrupled their digital spend to boost sales. They have now opened up all their stores and also ship globally.
Guess has launched a full collection of athleisure that includes cotton hoodies, tees, vests and joggers. They joined Lululemon Athletica, the activewear powerhouse that saw its share value grow nearly 40% during the pandemic.
What’s next for athleisure?
Fact.MR, says that their research shows that athleisure has revolutionised casual clothing with stretchy suits and smart trainers being worn in the workplace. They also say that the category is becoming more appealing to women, due to fashion trends impacting the athleisure wear industry. Athleisure garments have been made to be wrinkle-resistant and possess breathable qualities, which are beneficial in clothing you’re wearing day-in and day-out to work.
According to the Monitor™ data, 82% of consumers say they would be more likely to purchase clothing for work now that is designed to be more versatile and be worn in the commute, the workday, and after work. For employers, it is interesting to know that one-third of workers say they would rather have a casual dress code than a £5,000 rise in salary. It looks like athleisure is here to stay, and it will continue to impact fashion brands and collections for years to come, with the market expected to grow to $257.1 billion by 2026.
If you enjoyed this blog, we recommend you read ‘What the world of post-pandemic fashion will look like’, or you can find all our other blogs here.