In a recurrent global sweep, distinctive signs of popular brands with once exclusively sport heritage are being re-appropriated as our everyday street wear. The unmistakable three lines running down a tracksuit seam, the swooshing tick approving a cotton T-shirt, or a laurel wreath emblazoned on the left chest side of a polo shirt are only a few of distinctive trademarks of trusted brands that are resonating with members of the new generation who are looking for new ways to express themselves. However, in recent years, sportswear and street wear are merging, with both designers and consumers rejecting traditional fashion categories.
Fashion and performance
When talking about women’s sportswear lines, Nike president Trevor Edwards says that apart from constantly changing the ways of expression, great performance is still the base of their products. Even a strictly sportswear brand like Nike acknowledges the fashion side of women’s sports experience. Women athletes, physically active women, as well as all women who like to blur the line between sportswear and street wear don’t have to make a choice between highly functional and fashionable product anymore. For Adidas, on the other hand, fashion collaborations are a means of expanding the company’s creative and keeping consumer loyal to the brand in the fast-moving sportswear market.
Pursue elegant simplicity
In 1973 the German sportswear giant Adidas launched the iconic white tennis shoe, and according to their own financial records, sold 40 million pair since then. However just a few years ago, in 2015, they sold eight million pairs of Stan Smiths around the world. The revival of interest for sporty and fashionable retro white trainers such as sleek womens Adidas lows can partly be attributed to influential figures such as Céline’s Phoebe Philo celebrating the minimal style which made it acceptable for women of fashion to wear flat shoes. However, it’s not just revived designs that spur all the interest. Dirk Schönberger, creative director of Adidas’ sport style division says that people go to vertical retailers like H&M and Zara, where they are used to seeing new products every month. Being a very commercial brand on its own, Adidas has to deliver something new at a minimum weekly pace to excite the consumer.
Celebrating great outdoors
American outdoor clothing companies like The North Face, Under Armour, and Columbia have been popular active-wear brands of choice for hikers, cyclists, climbers and in general people having a time of their life exposed to the elements. However, collaborations with fashion labels such as Supreme, made their popularity soar among the urban dwellers literally overnight. Once anticipated as serious investment garments for no-nonsense explorers, Patagonia’s technical sportswear has effortlessly adapted to become one of the favourite labels for active townspeople.
Blurred men’s and women’s lines
Shortly after its launching, Givenchy’s Rottweiler hooded sweater became a cult item, as well as the inspiration for many copies and fakes. Whoever, one of the reasons behind its popularity is the fact that it subtly loosens the wearer’s silhouette, blurring the line between womens wear and menswear. Following shortly, the engagement of Demna Gvasalia at Vetements brought in a line of oversized hoodies and bombers that were out of stock almost the moment they were announced. Jumping forward to 2017, and teenagers and fashion editors alike are equally excited about the latest collection from Supreme, with the hardest fans queuing for hours for the latest piece.
There was the time when showing up in yoga pants and trainers anywhere outside the gym and perhaps a jogging park was frowned upon, however today’s street-style influencers and professionals are flaunting their lifestyle choices by wearing fashionable ‘athleisure’ pieces that offer great performance as well, as an homage to their purely athletic origins.