Sports luxe has been skirting the edges of mainstream awareness for a couple of seasons, with subtle references in shape or fabric usage. But it is only now the theme has percolated through to all levels of the market that the trend has become a surefire hit.
The SS12 shows were swimming with glammed-up sports gear, as referenced in the key looks in our Season Round-up Report and discussed back in September on this blog. Christopher Kane and Donnatella Versace made quite the formidable P.E. duo with their gym-inspired collection for Versus, whilst Alexander Wang‘s use of mesh gets him a special mention at our sports day. Elsewhere, high-tech leggings, experimental use of plastics and a crisp palette spoke strongly of the theme. All very well, with SS12 being an Olympic season, the inspiration journey isn’t a hard one to understand.
It’s the filtration of the sport theme into the greater market and collective conscience of the customer that makes for really interesting viewing. A crop of new sportswear brands have sprung up which are now garnering a great deal of attention: James Perse’s outdoor living collection, Mother of Pearl’s art chick meets surf dude and Lucas Hugh’s uber-cool, super-luxe running garb… These aren’t sports-inspired collections, these are high-fashion sports brands – a sign that the sports industry itself is expanding.
Furthermore, highstreet retailers are adopting activewear pieces into their collections. And better still they’re selling, and selling well. ASOS Africa’s £40 Longline Sweater Dress sold out across six sizes within days of dropping at the end of September. Reiss‘ gym-ready £39 racer tank initially sold out in six weeks and within a week on two subsequent restocks.
So what does all this mean? Online sentiment shows that sports styles are in the collective conscience. This has allowed the market to grow not only within retail, but also increased opportunities for stand-alone brands to offer higher priced goods. So next time you hit the gym, be prepared for the fashion show-down.