Sportswear, the new brand challenge

There was a time when brands specialized in a field, to the detriment of other departments. Nowadays, it is more important than ever to diversify with a particular attention to sportswear. All gym fans? In any case, all dressed to stretch.

It all started with a rather shy start. H & M, Mango and New Look, who had until now been used to outfits to go to the office or go out with friends, suddenly started offering us fluorescent bras and other gym tights. The reason ? The fashionistas craze for sport. At a time when healthy is the new skinny, it is more than common to jog, cross fit or other perspiring discipline and document its efforts with great shots of Instagram photos and stories Snapchat. A small gold mine for brands that can now offer their clients style and performance on a new ground.

From sport to style

If the trend was followed by some big names for a few seasons already, just this year many brands have taken the plunge. And if J. Crew chose to launch with New Balance for a line of sneakers, American Vintage made the big leap solo a few months ago, as did the site of online sale Missguided and the corsetier Darjeeling who Now offers sports bras. But far from the gym sessions, these new pieces respond to a key trend of 2016: that of athleisure, which promotes clothes in which it is possible to exercise but also to relax. Flag bearers of this trend? The millenials, which adopted it en masse. From Kylie Jenner to Gigi Hadid to tops like Karlie Kloss, Lycra sticky was the piece to own this year.

Before so much plebiscite, no wonder that sports brands have stepped aside for pure and hard fashion. If Stella McCartney has been designing Adidas collections for several seasons (Karla Kloss), the German brand has recently offered the favors of several stars with an irreproachable look, from Pharrell Williams to Rita Ora. Nike also promotes performance, comfort and style with Isabeli Fontana, or Reebok, which highlights the Gigi Hadid concretes with a fitness line as sexy as technical.

From style to sport

And between luxury and sporstwear there is only one step, which Puma has cheerfully crossed. Lost in speed until recently, the cat’s claw appealed in 2015 to the queen of style, Rihanna, whom she named artistic director. Result? Well-thought-out collections, presented at Fashion Week and which snatch once in store. Another podium combining sportswear and fashion? That of Versace. For his latest collection, Donatella Versace has created sporty creations in an ultra-lightweight nylon, specially developed for the occasion. A sport fever that also touched Dior: for her very first collection for the brand, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented pieces inspired by fencing outfits. What to loop the loop? This is particularly noteworthy for the new paraphernalia of modern women, free of both clothing and movement.

How luxury has fallen in love with sportswear. This is no longer a secret for anyone: luxury fashion has long since jumped together in sportswear.

Guerlain, The Kooples, Porsche … The list of luxury homes and designers who collaborate with brands from the sporting world continues to grow over the months. Is this a way to hook Gen Y? A need to diversify? Or just to target a wider audience? These partnerships are beneficial for both luxury homes and sportswear brands, which are also looking to win in the ready-to-wear segment. Nevertheless, the collaborations multiply and give birth to unpublished pieces mixing know-how and performance, offered at prices that are often affordable.

A bold bet. It is already several seasons that sports brands are attempting an incursion into the world of fashion, by enlisting models of international fame. These include Kylie Jenner, Liu Wen, Naomi Campbell and Cara Delevingne for Puma, Karlie Kloss, Lexi Boling, Sara Sampaio for adidas, Gigi Hadid for Reebok and recently Bella Hadid for Nike. Little by little, to the big names in sports, who were the giants of sportswear.

On the side of the luxury houses, there is another phenomenon that could alert us: the podiums. The sportswear style has become a reality in the women’s wardrobe from spring-summer 2016, with a multitude of references spotted during Fashion Week in London, Milan, New York and Paris. Houses such as Chloe, Marni, Alexander Wang and Stella McCartney have not hesitated to offer joggers, hoodies, oversized creations and zips, revisiting the classics of the dressing room in a chic and sophisticated way.

Collaborations. Since the beginning of the year 2017, the number of collaborators has increased. In addition to Damir Doma x Lotto, who will be presenting his new spring-summer 2018 collection on June 18th during the Milan parades, there are partnerships between Riccardo Tisci and Nike, Alexandre Wang and adidas and Porsche and adidas.

More recently, the Guerlain house has teamed up with the sporting coq for a collaboration around the sneakers ‘Arthur Ashe’¬†and ‘La Petite Robe Noire’, and Puma has worked hand in hand with The Kooples to propose a chic and audacious version Of its ‘PUMA Clyde’.

And when the world of art mixes fashion and sports stories, it gives a collection of Slip-On signed Marc Vans x Marc Jacobs, customized by several artists for a fun and arty result. All that remains is to wait for the next collaboration between these two universes. They are expected to be even more numerous next season.

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