Athleisure as an apparel category is not new. It has existed ever since women started wearing liberated clothing after WW-I. The cool, effortless yet comfortable styling was popularised by Millennials, who became more interested in the urban street style, as well as having an affinity for fitness and wellness.

Previously, Athleisure was “casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use” as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. In just over a year, the definition has evolved. It’s no longer seen as casualwear anymore as we’re noticing the most fashionable stylists and influencers strutting their athleisure style on Instagram. Athleisure was commonly worn to exude a sporty, casual and streetwear style, but it seems the trend and market have shifted towards fitness-inspired fashion — closing the gap between sportswear and fashion.

The Indie Activewear

The activewear industry has been on the rise with large players like Nike, Adidas & Lululemon maintaining their stronghold on the market. Many indigenous players and brands have been gaining lots of attention and publicity among Millennials and GenZ consumers. Celebrity brands like Beyoncé made their conscious mark and other Indie Activewear Brands such as Outdoor Voices, Athleta, Pilot Athletics have created a place for themselves in the market by being different from the sportswear.

Athleisure for 2020

Through 2019 and as we entered Year 2020, the fashion industry as a whole has been affected by societal changes. Specific trends within athleisure were also predicted to expand and emerge based on what was happening in the consumer lifestyle and zeitgeist.

These were the deliberations of the trend forecasters who, like the rest of the world, did not see the crisis of the pandemic coming. While everything has changed and we are anticipating major upheavals in the economic world as well as the way the fashion industry is going to restart after this situation of complete shutdown, athleisure is one category which seems to come out as a winner and take the front in the fashion space as things will start to settle.

The consumer trends that have been gaining momentum in the last couple of years are women empowerment, size inclusivity and ethical consciousness. It is the Indie brands that have been conscious to address these trends and make their mark. The Post Covid-19 New Normal is going to add aspects like #socialdistancing, #Workfromhome. This is going to bring in some fresh aspects in consumer choices of fashion. Athleisure seems to address these trends very well. Looks like the category is going to grow in leaps in the post Covid-19 era.

About the author


Shunya is a journey of fashion veteran, Rajesh Jain, a business strategist in the Fashion & Retail industry. His domains cover all aspects of business – Product, People & Processes. He has journaled here his observations of this ever-changing trends in consumer behaviour and lifestyle.

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