Cementing the fact that “athleisure” has moved beyond a trend is the word’s inclusion in last year’s unabridged version of Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. Not to mention that The NPD Group’s consumer data for the last 12 months (ending June 2017) values the athletic apparel category at $46 billion with an 11 percent growth when compared to the same period last year.
“Casual and ‘athleisure’ have taken on a life of their own,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NDP Group Inc. “This is no longer a trend – it is now a lifestyle that is too comfortable, for consumers of all ages, to go away anytime soon.”
So what’s the story in this often-covered apparel category? According to Matt Waterman, general manager of the Champion brand at HanesBrands, the athleisure story is life itself.
“Our ‘sport’ today is life,” Waterman said. “Athleisure is about embracing life as an activity itself, made up of many facets. We move faster, and juggle busier and more diverse schedules than ever before. And we’re all looking for simplicity – apparel that is ‘whole-life wear.’”
He continues: “For Champion, athleisure represents far more than ‘casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use.’ It is about self-expression, moving toward a wellness-focused lifestyle and the growing global trend of valuing experiences more than possessions. And Champion offers an apparel line that can be worn during life’s best moments.”
Waterman also notes that athleisure is a continuum. Challenging the notion that apparel should be compartmentalized by activity, the Champion brand offers a collection that ranges from high-performance gear to athletic-inspired streetwear – all of which mix-and-match for the sport of life.
Running Around (and we’re not talking errands). High-intensity activities, such as trail running, call for high-performance gear. Champion’s Vapor T-shirt and shorts, for example, incorporate both X-Temp and FreshIQ technologies. X-Temp enables the apparel to act like a “second skin” to assist in regulating temperature. That means when the temperature is high, the fabric will release moisture to keep the wearer cool and dry, and the opposite when the temperature is cool to help retain warmth. FreshIQ is an antimicrobial technology that inhibits bacteria growth, which can cause odor. So, hit those trails and have lunch with friends, all without a change of clothes.
In the Gym. Who says you can’t mix it up? Train in comfort when you pair your favorite old T-shirt with wear Champion’s PowerFlex Tights, which are made to stretch and flex for all-around ease. And the quick-drying fabric, makes for a cooler, drier, more comfortable workout. These versatile, three-quarter length tights are also ideal for layering under shorts … so you can catch a movie after those squats.
Hanging Out. Move from the sofa to a neighborhood pick-up basketball game in Champion’s Heritage collection. T-shirts, fleece hoodies and joggers are a perfect match for any activity.
On the Street. Champion C-Life is an athletic-inspired, fashion-forward apparel collection, which offers a variety of garment dye techniques, distinctive colors and specialty graphics. The brand’s iconic Reverse Weave fleece is the foundation of the line, and a must-have item for many of the brand’s loyal followers.