The cost of athleisure has reached an all time high
Do you actually work out or just dress like you do?
Activewear hasn’t been relegated to gyms or fitness classes in years, thanks to designer athleisure. From Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma collaboration (prices range from $90 to $2,900), to Beyonce’s Ivy Park label ($26 to $100) and actress Hilary Swank’s Mission Statement line of pricey pieces ($115 to $1,150), people are spending more than ever on clothes so casual they’re meant to be sweat in.
According to data from The NPD Group’s Consumer Tracking Services, U.S. activewear sales reached $46.2 billion from May 2016 to May 2017, a 6% increase from the prior year. Much of that is on higher end lines too: Lululemon’s annual revenue was up 13.6% from 2016 to 2017 and according to Slice Intelligence, and Ivy Park was the number one selling brand at Nordstrom the week it launched in 2016.
And that doesn’t even take into account what people are actually spending on fitness. With over 57.25 million gym memberships in the United States, according to Statista, and an onslaught of boutique exercise classes including spin, pilates and barre that often cost $30 or more a pop—Americans are spending more than ever on getting (and looking) fit.
But wearing athletic attire to go about your day when you have no intention of putting your ticker to the test or toning your thighs doesn’t stop people from dressing the part.
This month, Khloe Kardashian flaunted her signature curves in a $295 Michi unitard made from high performance nylon and Lycra sourced from Switzerland. An online description of the Siren Jumpsuit claims to “contour the body and sculpt the feminine form with its strategically placed mesh inserts,” — making a pair of jeans for the same amount of money sound slightly less flattering or comfortable. Supermodel Gigi Hadid is often spotted sauntering around NYC in Koral, a luxe line of activewear.
Michelle Watson, creative director and founder of Michi tells Moneyish, “It’s worth the investment because every piece is meticulously designed with the end user in mind. We design to flatter the body, accentuate curves, flatten the stomach, make a butt look good and legs look long.”
Whether you’re working out once a day or wearing a get up like this to grocery shop, see movies or meet friends for lunch—activewear has become an accepted genre of apparel regardless of venue.
Erin Chiamulon, founder of Venice Beach-based luxury activewear brand Electric & Rose tells Moneyish, “Barneys might not be the first place you’d think to shop for yoga clothes but because our versatile collection is designed for pre, during and post-workouts, they’re easy to dress up or down.” Her bohemian yoga, surf and travel-inspired line for men and women also retails at Goop.com and Anthropologie.
Activewear staple Lululemon even launched a line for kids and teens called ivivva, where mesh and Lycra yoga pants run $72 and sweat-wicking jackets cost $78—a small fortune for something with a relatively short lifespan considering how quickly kids grow. The company even partnered with PBteen on bedding, desk accessories and decor for active youngins who want to channel the brand’s girl power motto. The collection includes $30 pillows and a $199 ballet barre.
Athleisure has come a long way since Lululemon’s spandex revolution made it okay to wear leggings virtually anywhere. Since then, the technical apparel niche was born and companies like Kit + Ace, Aether Apparel and Outdoor Voices have created recreational clothing for people who appreciate high fashion but also love the comfort of their gym clothes.
“We think about making the wearer feel empowered, confident and comfortable,” says Watson. And we all know that isn’t easy to do in spandex.
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