Last month I had the amazing opportunity to stroll through Active Collective here in NYC, the most incredible trade show featuring tons of the best activewear and athleisure brands in the market right now. From Koral and Vimmia to Free People and Beyond Yoga, it was pretty much leggings heaven!
Afterward, I couldn’t help but think how far we’d come. When I was in college many moons ago, no one was really wearing leggings and athleisure wasn’t even a thing. Now? Women wear what used to be considered gym clothes everywhere. Heck, I sometimes spot ladies in my office pulling off leggings for work.
How did we get here? I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk all things athleisure and activewear with the team at Active Collective. Read on below to find out how the trend grew into a movement and what styles you’ll be seeing lots of come fall.
SHEfinds: Activewear and athleisure have blown up over the last few years; why did it become so popular?
Active Collective: The recent movement for developing a healthy lifestyle, through diet and exercise has led to a resurgence in fitness programs that are more lifestyle focused. From this, functional apparel has been developed for specific activewear categories, initially focused on performance, designs have become more and more fashion influenced and we have seen the fashion spill over from the studios to the streets. Consumers have responded positively to the athleisure category where they can find comfort, fashion and performance, while associating the look with their active lifestyle choice.
SF: Let’s talk trends: what are the top activewear/athleisure trends for fall?
AC: We can definitely expect to see a more neutral and subdued color pallet in 2017–grey, black, blush and rose tones, navy, olive and taupe will be this year’s go-to shades. Head-to-toe prints that showcase more abstract and bold patterns will also be big. A high-rise legging paired with a long line sports bra or cropped tank will become the secret to a flattering, slimming and 100% secure look in the gym or studio.
SF: Any activewear/athleisure looks women should plan on retiring this season?
AC: Although the crazy prints have a lot of personality, it’s time to make a shift from “bright and busy” to “simple and chic” – at least for now!
SF: Can you give us some insight on what makes a really great activewear/athleisure piece? Material, fit, etc?
AC: Staying active and healthy has become a lifestyle for a lot of us over the last few years, and we deserve to show off our hard work. This year, we can expect to see even more “figure flattering” pieces that make a statement while still keeping it simple. We will find thicker, opaque materials that create a body shaping look and feel. Combine that with added textures like mesh and sheer geometric panels and you’ve got yourself the trendiest leggings of the year. For a softer, more moveable, “second skin” comfort, we will find more polyester blend fabrics – And don’t be surprised to find more of your fellow gym-goers rocking the jumpsuit!
SF: Do you play favorites? Are there activewear/athleisure brands that should be on every woman’s radar?
AC: Every activewear and athleisure brand that shows at The Active Collective offers their own unique style and story, so we think it’s important to explore all your options to find what suits you best. Brands like Alo Yoga, KORAL and Spiritual Gangster are always keeping us inspired, but a few of our standouts from the debut of our NYC show include Varley, Body Language Sportswear, P.E Nation and HPE.
SF: Once and for all: are leggings pants?
AC: The versatility and adaptability of leggings definitely categorize them as pants in our book! You’re now able to customize leggings to almost any outfit. Whether you’re pairing your favorite leggings with a cropped tank for a spin class or layering up with your favorite bomber jacket to dinner and a movie, you get to look fabulous without sacrificing comfort.
[Photo: Rob Gulotta]