If the 2010s will be remembered for one thing in the world of fashion, it’s likely to be known as the time when active wear got the fashion bug: keeping fit has always been popular, but over the last few years it’s attracted the attention of Big Name labels and name designers who are elevating athletic wear to an art form.
While this means some sports wear just gives you an extra an edge of style in your normal gym session, another take on this Athleisure trend is to take inspiration from sports wear and use fashion design sensibilities and classic, high end fabrics to create something that you wouldn’t want to wear for a sprint around the track – clothes that focus on the Leisure end of the Athleisure name.
Cashmere is one material that some designers on this side of the Leisurewear spectrum have taken to heart: it’s a classic material, helping to integrate Athleisure clothing into the wider taxonomy of fashion, as it’s long been established as a hallmark of quality and luxury, while active wear can be regarded as too utilitarian to be embraced as part of the fashion world. It also helps to signal that pieces designed with cashmere are intended for luxury and relaxation.
One such item is Chinti and Parker’s Cashmere Tracksuit. One of a range of such high end Athleisure pieces, Chinti and Parker’s range is designed for comfort and luxury, as discussed above, and with a bold, playful sensibility that really lets you make a statement. Their designs include a leopard pattern – eschewing cliched leopard print to feature images of the whole leopard – which is difficult to see or wear without bringing a smile to the face. It allows the wearer to bring their personality to the fore, signaling their identification with a fitness centred lifestyle, and also displaying their relaxation and humour.
On the high fashion end of the scale, Nikelabs have partnered the designer Sacai to produce some bold, envelope pushing designs that still have all the insulation and performance necessary to be worn as active exercise wear, and indeed relies on this to show off the clothes to their fullest extent. Looking at a recent Fall Season Collection, for example, the lines of clothes are a little slack until a burst of speed from the wearer lets them stretch out behind: truly active wear.