If you've been keeping up to date with all of the latest trends on social media, you'll know that activewear/athleisure apparel is something of a big deal. A good number of celebrities and influencers are constantly sharing pictures of themselves decked out in their favourite activewear brands and doing paid promotions with them. It's clear to see that activewear has grown into a massive market and it's looking like it may be more than just a fashion trend.
Why is activewear so popular?
In a report published by ReportBuyer, it was stated that "The global activewear market size is expected to reach $567 billion by 2024, rising at a market growth of 6.8% CAGR during the forecast period." There are a number of factors behind this massive increase in the popularity of activewear. The biggest factor in this growth is the power of social media - or more specifically, the increase in fitness bloggers/personalities that have become prominent on social media. These people tend to be good-looking and in great shape, which is accentuated and complemented with activewear. Followers of these personalities are often inspired to get themselves into shape and follow in their footsteps - and what do they go out and buy themselves once their hard work starts to pay off and their bodies start to change? The same activewear that their favourite personalities are wearing! Of course, it doesn't always work like that. A lot of people simply buy activewear because they like the way it looks and it tends to be rather comfortable, hence the term 'athleisure' (a nice little compound word comprised of 'athletic' and 'leisure'.) It's no different to buying yourself a pair of jogging bottoms to lounge around in - athleisure wear just tends to be a little bit easier on the eye! People have been wearing items of clothing like Lululemon's yoga pants as leisurewear for some time now, but this style of clothing has become much more popular recently.
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Popular activewear brands
These days, you can't scroll through social media for too long without seeing some brand of activewear on your feed. Brands such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Lululemon are among the most recognisable when it comes to sportswear/activewear. Other than these brands which have almost become household names, one of the most popular brands of activewear around at the moment is Gymshark. Gymshark was founded by Ben Francis in 2012 and what started as a small screen printing operation has quickly become one of the biggest names the activewear market. With their instantly-recognisable logo and attractive clothing, Gymshark has cultivated a massive following on social media, with 3.1m followers on Instagram at the time this article was written. In turn, they have gained a number of high-profile clients, such as fitness blogger Whitney Simmons, professional boxer Ryan Garcia and UFC welterweight contender, Darren Till.
An up-and-coming activewear brand that's certainly worth a mention is TALA. Headed by Grace Beverley (perhaps better known by her Instagram handle, GraceFitUK), TALA is an activewear brand with a difference - they make their clothing from recycled plastic bottles and factory offcuts, making them far more sustainable than other brands. The TALA brand has only been around for a short amount of time, but thanks to the popularity of GraceFitUK, it's enjoying a very quick rise to prominence. The TALA Instagram account only shared its first post on 29th April, 2o19. Less than two weeks later, the account has almost 100,000 followers. The future looks very bright for GraceFitUK's sustainable brand of activewear.
Is the rise of activewear having an effect on British manufacturing?
From our experience, we have noticed a lot of companies making enquiries and purchasing machines that would be used for activewear, such as coverstitch and flatlock machines. The popularity of activewear seems to have inspired others to try their hand at making it themselves. British companies such as AIM Athleisure, Minerwear and Contrado manufacture their own clothing in-house as opposed to outsourcing it. With specialist machines and expertise available to companies in the UK, we may see more companies following suit and bringing the manufacturing back onto home soil. This would be a massive boost for UK textile manufacturing, which has already enjoyed a good deal of growth over the past few years.
Given the rapid growth of the activewear market and rising popularity, it's clear to see that it's more than just a fashion trend. As long as there are athletes, fitness bloggers and people who generally like to wear comfortable, flattering clothing as leisurewear, it looks like activewear/athleisure apparel is here to stay.
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