BENGALURU:If you are living under the delusion that good fashion is painful, then please come out of that rock you have been living under and say hello to athleisure.
Your little black dress no more screams for stilettos and instead makes for a trendier pairing with white sneakers that you wear at gym. Got nothing to wear to a cocktail party? How about that dhoti pant you bought for the yoga class?Well, if one were to believe in the style of fashion influencers Beyonce, Kendall Jenner, Kanye West, Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang, then traditional fashion is no more trendy.
Former Versace and Tommy Hilfiger employee and founder of Monrow Shoes,Veena Ashiya says that the trend dates back to over a decade ago when people started wearing gym clothes outside. “Globally it became huge with the advent of sneakers, jogger pants and metallic sportswear,” she says.
Fashion blogger Nilu Thapa too agrees. “The trend has always been there, but it was not mainstream. Initially, we used to laugh comparing a-line midi skirts with sneakers, but last year the runway fashion was sneakers with dresses. This impacted how we looked at the trend. The fashion influencers helped the movement later,” says Nilu, whose Instagram account @bighairloudmouth has over 41.8 K followers.
Veena’s collection of shoes bank on the tag line “shoes that look and feel good", where Veena has taken into account two factors – flexibility and comfort to design the shoe line.
“In New York, women carry two shoes – a comfortable one and another fancy pair to wear later after work. We blended both and have metallic add ons on our sneakers, which you can remove when you are going for a formal look,” she says. So, what has led to the trend's mass popularity?
Killing Traditional Fashion?
“Comfort is the thing,” says fashion vlogger Sherry Shroff, who has over one lakh subscribers on her YouTube channel.
The trend that set its foot firmly in the fashion industry with Alexander Wang's 2016 September collection has grown widely since thanks to Beyonce’s athleisure line Ivy Park and Kylie and Kendall Jenner's Instagram posts where they were seen wearing trainers.
A Morgan Stanley survey has predicted the athleisure fashion market to grow up to $83 billion by 2020, stealing the market share from non-athletic apparel.
“The stress in on looking cool and trendy these days. Nobody wants to wear something that is uncomfortable,” says Sherry.
The country's most popular fashion vlogger says that the trend has grown as it lets “one have fun by blending two styles – formal and sporty.”
Closer home, the trend defines Bengalureans. “The city's style is one that is cool, casual and laid back. Hence, Bengalureans have quickly adapted to this trend,” says city-based blogger Farah Magi.
Farah has around 32.8 K followers on her Instagram account @farahmagi, where she posts on fashion. She credits Instagram for the trend’s popularity. “This is one trend that I have seen grow out of Instragram. The social media site is influencing the fashion culture of today,” says Farah.
Dhoti pants that were sold as yoga wear are the fashion couture of today. “They are apt for yoga and ease of movement,” says Vega Chauhan of Brass Tacks that hosts trendy dhoti pants on their website.
Turning into Bestsellers
Contemporary and trendy clothing brand Chumbak hopped on to introducing their athleisure line quite early after launching its fashion category in October 2015. “We saw athleisure wear trend growing and introduced products that would cater to it. We retail printed leggings, t-shirts, jackets, sneakers and backpacks as part of the athleisure line,” says Shubhra Chadda, co-founder of Chumbak.
She attributes its popularity to people choosing comfort. “Women do not want to dress in a clichéd feminine way all the time,” she says. She credits young fashion influencers too. “They are showing off how this new trend can be worn to suit Indian body styles and shapes. Some of our athleisure wear are the best performing products as part of the fashion collection at Chumbak,” says Shubhra. She informs that from work to parties to off-beat events, their customers are comfortable sporting this style almost everywhere.
One may argue that fashion trends come and go and this too shall pass, but the market numbers tell a different tale. “Just like the denim trend, athleisure too is here to stay. I think fitness is here to stay and so is athleisure,” says Veena.
Nilu says that while it is debatable if the trend will stick on, she doesn't see it dying out anytime soon. “Comfortable wear can not go out of fashion,” she says.