The Athleisure Take Over
Athleisure has taken over contemporary lifestyles within the last few years, making waves with clothing that offers comfort and functionality. Merriam-Webster defines the term as "Casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use." More and more, people are opting for apparel that's comfortable for the gym yet stylish enough for casual outings like brunch, shopping, and anything in between. Even seeing a casual dress code for a potential job is a new perk. Many experts have suggested that athleisure isn't a mere trend, but a complete shift in modern living.
So, when did athleisure begin gaining traction? Some attribute it to the growing interest in yoga and fitness classes in the 1980s and 90s, with memorable achievements like the famous workout routine tapes of Jane Fonda. While not considered athleisure then, the fit and fabric of Fonda's stretchy yoga gear caught on. Fast forward to 1997 when entrepreneur Chip Wilson walked into his first yoga class to help alleviate back pain. Taking note of the instructor's apparel, which was likely yoga pants and a fitted top, he took these concepts and transformed them into what we now know as Lululemon. Since then, revenue in athleisure has hiked as more brands like Nike, Athletica, and Fabletics have adapted to this consumer interest. Where you once needed to pack entirely different outfits for the gym and a dinner date, now the two really aren't so different.
There are a number of celebrities that have directly impacted athleisure, either by developing their own brands or heavily supporting one. One of the best examples of this is Kanye's Yeezy brand with Adidas. While the shoes have exploded in popularity, with people literally fighting over them, Kanye has taken his interest in fashion and created a desirable casual wear empire. Like him, Drake's support of Nike and his OVO collection have also created major ripples in the athleisure pool. Kate Hudson's Fabletics is a brand that has garnered so much popularity off of one key item—leggings. You've likely seen celebrities sporting a pair of these coveted leggings, like Demi Lovato or Kelly Rowland. Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Carrie Underwood all have their own athleisure brands, turning more people onto this lifestyle.
At Tradition, HBCU athleisure is something we're passionate about. We believe in offering comfortable apparel that functions in almost any environment. From our women's leggings to our G.O.A.T. basketball shorts, our offerings are designed to look on point and feel good. Depending on how you style them, many of our options can be dressed up or down, further emphasizing that the line between what's athletic and what's casual is hard to identify. Tradition is for all HBCU supporters, whether they're athletic or not—that's what has made athleisurewear so successful. No longer is this kind of gear solely for those who are dedicated fitness goers. Athleisure finds itself blending into streetwear, which takes on a more urban appeal. Circling back to Kanye, Drake, and Beyoncé, their efforts in the athleisure world speak to street fashion too. The state of modern fashion is in a place where personal comfort is king (or queen), and Tradition is totally down for it.