The days when gym kit was worn solely within the confines of the gym are long gone: it is not unusual to see mums wearing designer yoga pants on the school run, women attending business lunches in trainers and even people enjoying post work-out cocktails decked in their work-out attire.
We’re talking about the athleisure boom and according to Caroline Lucey, founder of fitness fashion website Active in Style, this is a trend that is here to stay.
“Wearing your sports gear all day is not just about convenience or laziness, it’s about the lifestyle. Being fit and healthy has become much more desirable and accessible, thanks to social media. People see Instagrammers like Amanda Bisk looking incredible and sporty and they want that look,” she explains.
Looking good is obviously important, but the clothes have to be functional as well, adds Caroline. According to a recent Mintel survey, millennials are more likely to splash out on experiences rather than material goods. Therefore in order to justify a luxury purchase it must have a performance-oriented reason for it’s higher cost.
Caroline first came up with the idea of Active in Style in June 2012, when she returned from a stint working for iconic fitness brand Lorna Jane in Brisbane, Australia. She quickly noticed the lack of stylish sportswear available in the UK compared to Australia, where being active and spending time outdoors is the norm. Within six months she had set up Active in Style as a platform to import Lorna Jane products.
It was not long before the trend for fashionable high performance clothing took hold and new brands were popping up around the world. Caroline started to add multiple labels to Active in Style and was responsible for exclusively launching the likes of Vie Active, Pilot Athletic, Nimble and Running Bare into the UK market.
Next steps include opening Active in Style’s first dedicated store in a gym, which will open in May at Third Space Canary Wharf. The company opened its first boutique on London’s King’s Road in November 2015.
Instagramming sensations such as Fredrika Akander, Kayla Itsines, Cat Meffan and Lilly Sabri have been key drivers of the British fitness fashion market, which is forecast to be worth £8.65 billion by 2019, rising by 35.6% between 2015 an 2019*.
Exercise opportunities are also increasing, says Caroline.
“The choices for keeping fit used to be quite limited. It was either running or taking part in a class. Now you can do spinning, yoga, there is so much more variety.”
All this means our gym kit has had a major overhaul. The sweaty, fresh-faced and dishevelled look has a certain charm, but make sure your leggings are designer and any holes in your tops are meant to be there.
Caroline picks three hot fitness wear trends for 2016:
1. Monochrome – printed leggings in very bright colours are so last year. Opt for infinitely more wearable black and white combinations in 2016.
2. Mesh – a very demure way to expose some skin, as body-proud gym-goers are want to do. Panelled leggings, sheer hoodies, hints of mesh on a gym bag. The more futuristic the better.
3. Camouflage – this old-school Army-inspired look is making a serious comeback in leggings, tops and hoodies. An added bonus?This is one trend that can really transcend the gym into everyday wear.