Who Is Ruling Athleisure And What Can We Learn From Them?

If lifestyle is king, athleisure is but a humble servant; a necessary connective vessel. Athleisure labels, new and old, are available in the market today to make this wardrobe staple available across the board. Whether the consumer’s goal is to be healthier, style-forward or just comfortable, there’s a brand out there that has grabbed and perfected that niche. Here are just some of those familiar names in this fashion industry that are doing athleisure right:

[Image: Outdoor Voices]

Outdoor Voices

USP: Taps into Active Lifestyle Desire

Started in 2014 by Tyler Haney, this bubbly brand sells the idea of doing more and being active. It focuses on celebrating active lifestyles that thrives in recreational activities; no matter the background. A welcome change for the overly competitive and athletic identities of larger athleisure brands.

[Image: Lululemon]

Lululemon

USP: Identified their archetypal customer

The original yoga brand tends out in athleisure thanks to its expansive and perfected range of products. They have since branched into making clothes that can suit any workout; even if that is defined as a trip to your local café. The mix of sturdy, chic and quality has played a part in creating this universally recognised brand that has been known to make incredibly flattering leggings. Their decision to identify their ideal customer – what these women like to listen to, watch, read and drive – helped them tweak the product to fit into their lifestyle.

[Image: NIKE]

NIKE

USP: Invest in Fabric Research

Nike has long been a dominant force in sportswear. You’ll often see them active environments, from the gym to the professional athletic arenas. Apart from investing in research and development of fabrics that help athletes excel, they have incorporated style as well. They’ve made the leap into illustrating that functional wear can be just as cute/chic.

[Image: Adidas x Stella McCartney]

ADIDAS

USP: Collaborations

You can’t miss the graphically bold stripe that is Adidas. However, they took trendy athletic street style and added some designer pizazz. Most notable designer to produce for Adidas is the Stella McCartney collaboration. The mixture of high-performance fabrics and high quality style results in a genius combination that keeps on giving. It took street wear and gave it a dose of floral, bold colours and futuristic inspired fitness design. Alexander Wang joined forces with Adidas Originals for a Spring 2017 runway show. It featured 84 unisex pieces that including both apparel and footwear. Interestingly, they chose to place Adidas signature logo upside down.

Madonna in Alexander Wang x Adidas Originals

 

PUMA, New Balance, Under Armour, FILA, REEBOK

USP: Celebrity Driven

When things plateau and need a little jolt what better way than to reach out to taste makers of your generation. Puma not only launched a collection, but became a creative director for the brand. Who can forget her showcasing at Fashion Week that she describes as the Addams family’s go-to gym wear. Stand out pieces included creeper sneakers and fur-lined sliders.

[Image: PUMA]

Then there’s model and Project Runway host, Heidi Klum, who wanted to bring the runway to New balance. The result, a hip, and fun collection that is built to last. Lastly, what has been called Lululemon’s biggest threat, Under Armour has focused its athleisure campaign on growing its women’s business. Having faces such as star ballerina Misty Copeland and supermodel Gisele Bundchen has been a beneficial addition to the brand.

[Image: New Balance]
[Image: Under Armour]
 

Revived Nostalgic Brands such as FILA and Reebok are receiving a new-wave of life; thanks to this trend and well-placed celebrity support that gives them the stamp of cool approval. FILA has been part of the lucrative 1990s nostalgia campaign and has been pushed forward by partnerships with A$AP Rocky and having been spotted on influencers such as Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. Reebok, also a 90s brand, got its boost from celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and Kendrick Lamar buying its classic line.

Kendrick Lamar Reebok Classic Campaign
A$AP Rocky mink jacket, FILA Gosha Rubchinskiy tee

 

Fabletics

USP: Improve the shopping experience

Actor and Entrepreneur, Kate Hudson, sets her athleisure brand apart by curating the type of information customers are exposed to. They have set up a quiz to narrow down your sizes and preferences, so as to show you items that are more in line with your needs. As opposed to rummaging through countless webpages of gear that isn’t remotely what you’re looking for. Plus, if you become a VIP member you get additional savings.

[Image:Fabletics]

Ivy Park

USP: Marketing Pro

Wherever Queen Bey goes, the Beehive shall follow. So, it’s no surprise this collection for Topshop was a winner. But Ivy Park deserves credit on how they chose to introduce the collection. Through a buzz-worthy video, she got the internet talking about her bodysuits, cropped t-shirts and high-waisted leggings. By tapping into emotional response, and creating a videos that oozed cool and sex-appeal, it’s no wonder the Ivy Park-logoed gear is everywhere.

[Image: Ivy Park]

ONU

USP: Eco friendly

According to Forbes US, this brand has invested one million dollars to make their apparel more environmentally conscious. They want people to buy less by making clothes that last. Thus ONU founders, Paul Lee and Thomas Moon, make capsule collections that contain less than 12 items and are only available in limited runs. They use biodegradable fabrics and create new textiles such as their fabric made of fish collagen peptide amino from recycled fish scales, to be featured in their third collection. They also have a pair of men’s ankle pants that are made out of a fabric that mimics duck feathers. Ecorepel, works like these feathers to repel dirt and water, while being completely biodegradable.  In addition, their collections are designed to perform in a variety of environments such as a waterproof, breathable fabric in their second collection.

[Image: ONU]

Tory Burch, Versace

USP: Athluxury

Of course athleisure had to get the luxury touch and while there are several designers that have made athluxury collections, we’ll only highlight two here. There’s Tory Sport by Tory Burch. The brand carriers wardrobe essentials but with the Burch touch that makes them elegant, country-club ready apparel.

[Image: Tory Burch]

Versace, on the other hand, chose to interpret this trend with plunging necklines, Swarovski crystals and daring cut-outs. She tapped into the athleisure craze with her athletic couture showcase for Spring 2016 that definitely isn’t meant to be anywhere near a gym.

[Image: Versace]

From their colour and print, to their functionality and unique selling position, there’s something to learn from designers and brands that have already made their way in the industry. But, who did we miss out on in this list? In the spirit of #mondaymotivation share with us in the comment section below.

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