Athleisure is one of the biggest trends to land on our fashion radars in the past decade, and year after year, someone predicts the end of its reign. But, it doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon. Deirdre Clemente, a fashion historian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, told the Atlantic last year that there are three reasons for its staying power: innovation in materials, wellness status and versatility. “One hundred years ago, you would have day clothes for the street, dinner clothes for the restaurant, theater clothes, and so many genres of dress,” Clemente told the Atlantic. “Those barriers have come down. Athleisure is the ultimate breaking down of barriers.”
Those three things are also what make athleisure a force for sustainability. No other sector of the fashion industry uses materials like it does, or innovates so regularly to make them functional. No other clothing can outwardly convey your commitment to a healthier lifestyle. And, no other clothing can be seamlessly transitioned from the gym to the office to dinner. Read on to find out more about why athleisure is sustainability’s champion.
How often have you spotted a fellow supermarket shopper in leggings, clearly coming from or headed to the gym? Whether or not the gym is actually a part of their day, it’s completely acceptable that they’re wearing those leggings outside of it. Pair them with a tunic and ballet flats, and you’ve got a workwear outfit. Or, wear a crop top with your favourite jeans and heels, and you have the perfect outfit for an evening out. NO KA ‘OI‘s Patchwork Bra is a great option for that look.
A big part of having a sustainable wardrobe is the versatility of your pieces. If you have a top you can wear on two or three occasions, that’s two or three less tops you need to own. The need to wear something once and never be spotted in it again is quickly becoming a faux pas, too, and that’s all the more reason to focus on buying pieces that can be worn more than once.
Some of the most functional, high-quality materials have come out of the athleisure trend, because they need to hold up against lots of movement without tearing, and they need to last. Activewear brand Sàpopa found inspiration in an unlikely place for their innovative designs: French corsetry. They worked to get a patent for their Sleggings design, creating a piece without any zips, seams or clasps that fits like a second skin. Designs like those are becoming standard within athleisure, with more brands striving to create the perfect combination of form and function.
Along with the design, athleisure brands focus on sustainable materials. Michi uses textiles that are both Oeko-Tex® certified and Bluesign® approved, and each piece is created with minimal waste. Brands are constantly innovating to produce better, more sustainable materials for their activewear, and the results are durable and wrinkle-free. Best of all, both for you and the planet, they rarely require dry cleaning and often need to be hung to dry rather than using an energy-wasting dryer.
The wellness industry is huge, which is great, because keeping yourself healthy can help you make less of an impact on the environment, and the world in general. Whether that means walking to work or going to the gym seven days a week, opting for clothing that allows you to stay healthy and be active comfortably is a step in the right direction. People also tend to be proud of their efforts to stay fit and want those around them to be aware of their efforts, too. Working athleisure into your regular wardrobe signals that people, and it makes every part of your day feel like a workout—in a good way, of course.
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Written by - Tara MacInnis