In 2014 at the Women’s Innovation Summit in in New York City, Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, proclaimed that ‘Leggings are the new denim’ and thus far nothing has happened to disprove his point. Sports-wear as day-wear may once have seemed lazy, however today, with British Vogue layering an Umbro training vest under an organza dress by Dior, the bold sporting style has been given an elegant feminine twist which makes it more suited to everyday life. Obviously, minus the Dior. What’s more, with celebrities such as Rihanna - who has taken over as Creative Director for Umbro - climbing on board and targeting the traditional sports brands to a more fashion-conscious audience, this trend is becoming almost impossible to avoid.
There must be something which has led to the dramatic increase in the number of psychedelic yoga leggings and neon Nike trainers seen on campus and indeed, worldwide. Perhaps this trend in women’s fashion has arisen as a result of the campaigns such as Nike’s ‘This Girl Can’ which saw Nike developing more advanced and stylish active wear in order to encourage more women to participate in sport. Or it could be part of the aftermath of the 2012 London Olympics, which for many sparked an interest in sport. Alternatively it could be accredited to the clear move towards health conscious lifestyles through the platform of social media, with the success of Youtube channels such as X-Hit Daily, and the rise in workout themed Instagram profiles such as Rachel Brathen aka. Yoga Girl.
"it gives off the vibe that you look after your body and health even if the only work-out you’ve done in it is perusing the Topshop sales."
Whatever it was that brought about this craze, it seems clear that it is only becoming more prevalent. It has already spread from fashion bloggers to the runway. Look at Dior’s embellished trainers, and then back to the high street with Beyoncé’s Topshop active-wear collection. H&M and even Miss Selfridge, who are notorious for their glamorous sparkly dresses, have created an active-wear range. So there must be something which has changed the role of sports clothing. Could it be that it is the answer to the old style-over-comfort dilemma?
There’s no denying active-wear is comfortable, it is designed to be to enhance your performance and when chosen carefully athleisure can also look very flattering. Moreover it gives off the vibe that you look after your body and health even if the only work-out you’ve done in it is perusing the Topshop sales. However, as with denim, leggings and trainers have their limitations. It is still unacceptable to jog your way through the grand doors of the Ritz in a trainers and tank top combination, even if it did cost the same as an Oscar de la Renta gown. And sadly, it’s probably still not ok to go to a ball or a wedding in leggings and a head band.
"Could it be that it is the answer to the old style-over-comfort dilemma?"
That’s not to say that this trend isn’t versatile, it’s all about striking a suitable balance and knowing the dress code. By layering pastel colours and soft jersey materials and putting your hair up you can create a casual look perfect for lazy days or stuffy lecture theatres. Whilst choosing more metallic styles and swapping the sweatshirt for a fitted jacket, it gives a more polished impression. Maybe it’s the adaptability that makes this trend so strong. Suffice to say, that with the Rio 2016 Olympics just around the corner I can only imagine its popularity will rise and rise.