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article imageWhat Do Rihanna, Forever 21 and #Fitness have in common?

By Julia Tamami     Mar 20, 2015 in Lifestyle
U.S. consumers spent $323 billion on apparel, footwear and accessories in 2014 and nearly $2 billion of that can be traced back to the Athleisure trend.
Celebrities like Rihanna, new fashion lines and #fitness are all contributing to American's athleisure craze.
Celebrities and designers are capitalizing on the craze, launching athletic-wear lines almost weekly. With established activewear brands taking on pop star creative directors, trendy fashion brands launching activewear lines and new activewear brands popping up weekly, one thing is certain: the athleisure trend is at an apex of popularity.
According to The NPD Group U.S. consumers spent $323 billion on apparel, footwear, and accessories in 2014. The 1 percent increase compared to 2013, resulting in an additional $2 billion in sales, was driven primarily by growth in sales of activewear, athletic performance footwear, and bags.
“Casual and ‘athleisure’ have taken on a life of their own,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “This is no longer a trend – it is now a lifestyle that is too comfortable, for consumers of all ages, for it to go away anytime soon.”
Celebrities love fitness.
And where there is fitness, athleisure is not far behind. Rihanna became Puma Women's Creative Director in January, bringing her style and sensibility to the brand and since then has been spotted rocking her sporty chic look at NBA games. Beyonce and Lady Gaga post intense workouts to their Instagram accounts and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics collection, launched only a year ago, has registered 4 million brand “members.”
It’s no wonder athletic-wear brands like Nike and Under Armour are soliciting hot names like Karlie Koss (Nike) and Gisele Bundchen (Under Armour) to represent them.
Athleisure debuts at Magic Market week.
The obsession with athleisure is manifesting itself across fashion venues.
Magic Market week, the fashion industry’s largest tradeshow debuted MIND + BODY + SPIRIT, a whole section dedicated to yoga, activewear and athleisure apparel. The section spanned 5,000 square feet of trade floor space and featured 31 brands, more than a 50 percent increase over the number brands that were featured last year.
Athleisure will be here until at least Fall 2015, indicated by the fact that many trend-conscious mainstream brands are jumping on board. Just last month Forever 21 announced the launch of their Activewear campaign with the key theme ‘Fit. Function. Fashion,’ and Lane Bryant just launched their active-wear line tagged ‘your second skin for wherever life takes you.’
Why do Americans love athleisure?
Pop open your mobile phone, get on Instagram and search #fitness and you will see why. #Fitness is one of the top 100 Instagram hashtags, according to and for every gym selfie on Instagram you will see another one taken at home, out and about or in the park. Consumers want fashion to be versatile; being able to wear their outfit to work then immediately go work out, or be active as the case may be, is a winning formula. Here is what Alexander Wang told Glamour magazine about why Americans have fallen in love with this sporty-casual look.
"Sportswear has a functionality to it. It's what you see people wearing in the street, carrying in their bags. It has a very direct connection to our lives, and that's what I love about it. It's not so much about being sporty as about being active and functional and easy."
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