Let’s Get Phys­i­cal

Sported at hip cafés and fash­ion weeks, ac­tivewear is no longer re­served for the gym.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents - By Cai Mei Khoo.

Sports­wear has long in­flu­enced fash­ion but at the cou­ture shows this past Jan­uary, it claimed the high­est honours when both Karl Lager­feld and Raf Si­mons showed luxed-up train­ers in the Chanel and Dior Haute Cou­ture Spring/Sum­mer ’14 shows re­spec­tively. Made at the Mas­saro ate­liers, the Chanel train­ers in lace, tweed, and python re­port­edly took some 30 hours to make, per pair. Now, if Lager­feld thinks train­ers are worth spend­ing that much time (and money) on, you know what you should be shop­ping for. If you haven’t al­ready got yourself a pair of the much more af­ford­able Nike Free Flyknits that were ubiq­ui­tous at the re­cent fash­ion weeks, just what are you wait­ing for?

But it’s not just shoes that are mak­ing head­lines. While wear­ing yoga pants to lunch may once have elicited a re­mark like, “Are you re­ally wear­ing that?”, ac­com­pa­nied by a killer eye roll, these days it seems ap­pro­pri­ate and even fash­ion­able to be seen in work­out wear, whether or not you’ve ac­tu­ally come to lunch post-yoga. It’s al­most a new take on the Juicy Cou­ture velour-track­suit trend from the early Naugh­ties that saw ev­ery­one from Madonna to Paris Hil­ton wear­ing them from LAX to din­ner in Beverly Hills – ex­cept to­day’s ac­tivewear is made from a va­ri­ety of high-tech, sweat-wick­ing, quickdry­ing ma­te­ri­als that even have scent con­trol abil­i­ties.

Un­der Ar­mour, an Amer­i­can ac­tivewear and ca­su­al­wear com­pany, is one of the few brands es­tab­lished in the late ’90s that’s see­ing in­creas­ing rev­enues in re­cent years. An­other is Lu­l­ule­mon Ath­let­ica, best known for its yo­gawear, so well loved that some have called its cus­tomers’ loy­alty al­most cult-like. Cre­ated in 1998, the same year as Lu­l­ule­mon, Sweaty Betty was the UK’s first fash­ion­able ac­tivewear brand, founded by Ta­mara Hill-Nor­ton who wanted to make women “look as beau­ti­ful in their work­outs as they do day-to-day”. “Ac­tivewear is the bright spot in ap­parel right now be­cause the con­sumer has de­cided to wear it whether she works out at the gym or not,” said Mar­shal Co­hen, chief in­dus­try an­a­lyst at New York-based mar­ket re­search firm NPD Group to WWD. “Re­tail­ers are go­ing to start chas­ing this cat­e­gory big time, and I think stores are go­ing to get into this and stay. The rea­son is, the con­sumer is cre­at­ing the trend – it is not some­thing de­signed and

mer­chan­dised in ad­vance or shown in a show­room.”

Re­tail­ers have in­deed caught onto the trend with brands such as Gap, H&M, and Top­man launch­ing sports­wear lines. Both Tory Burch and Bet­sey John­son are also jump­ing onto the band­wagon. If not launch­ing their own sports­wear lines, de­sign­ers are team­ing up with sports­wear gi­ants, as seen in the Nike + Ric­cardo Tisci col­lab­o­ra­tion. Adi­das, how­ever, has trumped Nike in this sec­tor, with a long list of de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tors to boast of, in­clud­ing Yo­hji Ya­mamoto, Rick Owens, Jeremy Scott, and Raf Si­mons, who will be launch­ing an­other collection for Au­tumn/Win­ter ’14.

Adi­das also re­cently an­nounced new projects with Rita Ora and Mary Ka­trant­zou, mere months af­ter its col­lab­o­ra­tion with high-street favourite, Top­shop. “Top­shop and Adi­das Orig­i­nals work­ing to­gether is a to­tal cel­e­bra­tion of the great­ness of fash­ion and sports­wear, and how im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial they are to each other,” said Kate Phe­lan, Top­shop’s cre­ative di­rec­tor. “We’re in a sports­wear revo­lu­tion at the mo­ment; fash­ion is re­ally driven by what’s hap­pen­ing in the sports­wear world.”

“Many fash­ion de­sign­ers take in­spi­ra­tion for their run­way col­lec­tions from sports­wear, but I get to do the op­po­site,” said Stella McCart­ney, an Adi­das col­lab­o­ra­tor since 2005, to

Sun­day In­de­pen­dent’s Life mag­a­zine re­cently. “I’m learn­ing about new sports all the time, such as aerial yoga, and am de­sign­ing kits specif­i­cally for them.”

Pro­vid­ing high-per­for­mance sports­wear for women, the Adi­das by Stella McCart­ney range is per­haps when fash­ion­able sports­wear re­ally started to de­velop. “Sports cloth­ing for women, in par­tic­u­lar sports per­for­mance, was such an ill-ad­dressed sub­ject,” she re­called. “The colours were very ba­sic and there wasn’t much vari­a­tion in de­sign. I saw this as a real op­por­tu­nity to put it right by of­fer­ing women some­thing they could work out in and still feel good about the way they look.” In line with her eco-friendly phi­los­o­phy, sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als are used in her Adi­das range, to­gether with in­no­va­tions like the Adi­das DryDye tech­nol­ogy, which doesn’t use wa­ter to dye cloth­ing. “We are still one of the only col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween fash­ion and sport that truly tar­gets the high-per­for­mance arena and I am re­ally proud of that. We haven’t veered off the dream to cre­ate stylish clothes and not sac­ri­fice style for your sport,” shared McCart­ney, whose first ever Adi­das by Stella McCart­ney store opened in Mi­ami this past Jan­uary.

So whether your sport is foot­ball or fash­ion, sports­wear is hav­ing a se­ri­ous fash­ion mo­ment, but as people start to make a con­scious choice to live health­ier life­styles, the ac­tivewear “trend” looks like it’s here to stay for longer than six months. Time to in­vest in a pair of yoga pants, or three.

Rita Ora for Adi­das

Blog­ger Susie Lau takes on Paris in train­ers At Lon­don Fash­ion Week At New York Fash­ion Week

Blog­ger Chiara Fer­ragni makes the sporty look her own

Kris­ten Ste­wart works Cannes in Chanel Haute Cou­ture Michael Kors Pre- Fall ’14

A bright red suit paired with New Bal­ance

Air Force 1 Hi shoes, Nike + Ric­cardo Tisci

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