If your leggings became a wardrobe staple this year, replacing your jeans during the rest of the days and not solely seen on trips to the gym, then consider yourself part of one of 2016’s most fashionable trends: Athleisure.
So big was the trend that the Merriam-Webster dictionary included ‘athleisure’ as a new word for its 2016 edition, defining it as “casual clothing meant to be worn both for exercising and for general use.”
Despite reports that athleisure may now be peaking, activewear remains a huge market, as research firm NPD noted in October; here we take a look back on the year to see what helped elevate the humble gym kit to one of the biggest trends of 2016.
Although adidas and British designer Stella McCartney had a long-term collaboration long before the athleisure trend really took off, this year saw an influx of other brands tapping celebrity names in order to inject some style into their sportswear collections.
Nike tapped both Givenchy designer Riccardo Tisci and Balmain designer Olivier Rousteing, Rihanna showed her Fenty x Puma collection at Paris Fashion Week, supermodel favourite Bodyism collaborated with Charlotte Olympia, and Beyonce went so far as to launch her own collection, Ivy Park.
For anyone following celebrity fitness fans on Instagram or the style pages, it was easy to see what the off-duty look was this year. When not walking the catwalk or the red carpet, celebrities such as Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Reese Witherspoon, and Alicia Vikander were happy to be seen showing off their lycra — and not only on their way to a workout.
No longer are fitness fans limited to giant sport brands such as Nike, adidas, and Reebok, with a host of niche and luxury athleisure brands cropping up throughout the year to satisfy the athleisure demand. Still employing technical fabrics to aid performance, these new, niche brands set themselves apart from the big players with their designs and styles.
Some notable launches included European-made Aeance, making its debut just as we headed into 2016 with a unique, non-seasonal collection designed to be worn for both sports and leisure; lifestyle and fitness brand Tone It Up which released a capsule collection with Bandier; and school gym class-inspired P.E. Nation, designed with both fashion and functionality in mind.
A rise in fitness
The increase in athleisure wasn’t just down to millennials who wanted something to wear to their workout before they headed to a well-deserved brunch. With supermodels, yoga girls and gym bunnies posting their workouts and green smoothies all over Instagram, fitness has never been so fashionable, and sportswear never so stylish.
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