After a series of upbeat catwalks and fashion shows, there is still one word that some major fashion designers refuse to accept – athleisure.
Over the past decade or so, the merging of “athletic” and “leisure” has been lovingly used by marketers who want to define our need for a new and casual dress code. Although some show featured collaborations of tennis dresses and tracksuits, the designers are still unwilling to accept the new norm.
After a long period of contrasts taking over fashion show landscapes, the SS19 season looks to be in between old favourites and new approaches. With sports and streetwear focused designers such as Virgil Abloh now having the power of the future of Louis Vuitton, it seems as though the fashion world and outside forces are now joining together rather than being polar opposites. From Valentino to Gucci, almost every fashion house is merging to bring the codes of sportswear and hate fashion.
Abloh’s Off-White September collection was named Track and Field and it did exactly what was expected – sportswear worn as daytime fashion and inspired by the uniforms of professional athletes. The collection concluded with some sporty-themed ball gowns which weren’t too dissimilar from the sport/eveningwear hybrids showcased by Stella McCartney a few days later.
Looking over the past five years in fashion, there has been a revolution which feels almost reactionary in these times. Index, which ranks fashion’s biggest and most coveted brands, has recently revealed that Off-White has far surpassed all of the biggest fashion houses in popularity, making Abloh one of the most in-demand fashion designers in the world. He has influence and holds a certain degree of power to influence and change the way that people dress. One of the keys to his success has been his love for the athleisure trend.
A lot of people believe that athleisure is well-suited to our time and fits in with inventions so confrontational to the dress codes we are “meant” to follow are now a love or hate affair. In a time where we are ruled by millennial-fuelled for authenticity in all walks of life, our new attraction to sportswear and gym apparel is now far too significant to be turned into just a retail tool. This search for authenticity that consumers seem to search for has become synonymous with much bigger developments in the way that we approach our wardrobes.
The age of athleisure now defines a new and bigger time in fashion, where designers such as Abloh and even Savile Row trained tailor Stella McCartney, are becoming empowered to create new and exciting ways to dress outside of established boundaries. Athleisure is almost starting to feel as though it is the unsung hero of fashion’s advancement in recent times.