April 27, 2018 4 min read
There is so much change occurring in the iGeneration.
The world is more connected than ever. More than any time in history, people are able to pull back the curtains and see right into the lives of the rich, famous and even those people that you only “kind of know”. Information and ideas are spreading like wildfire. Old beliefs and ways of doing things are dying out. Supposed “trends” are becoming the new norms and are here to stay.
Compared with ten years ago, there are now new ways of connecting, sharing memories, making careers, and socialising. In 2018, one desire of people is to no longer compartmentalise different areas of life. People do not want to separate work from passion, socialising from healthy living, or keeping fit from living life. They want it all to blend into one and rightly so.
There was a time when you used to wear shorts or tracksuit pants when training, jeans and a top during the day and strictly professional attire in the workplace. There was very little middle ground or overspill. Life did not crossover the way it does now or so it seemed.
That is where ‘Athleisure’ emerged. Why have one outfit for working out and one to relax with friends? Why separate them? Why must we separate the activities at all? Instead of going to the gym to keep fit, why not just live a fit life?
It has been said that Athleisure is not a trend but a movement, a new way of life. It certainly feels that way. In the same way that social media has become the new way of connecting with others, the Athleisure lifestyle is the new way of living healthily. But before we go too overboard, let’s take a step back and get up to speed.
Athleisure comes from the simple amalgamation of two words - “athletic” and “leisure”. Athleisure clothing is sporty in appearance but with a comfy, leisurely fit. It brings comfort without sacrificing on style. It is fashion’s way of taking inspiration from sportswear or activewear but carrying it over to smart casual wear. A type of clothing you can wear no matter the occasion.
There was a time when you would almost be embarrassed to be spotted working out. Embarrassed to be seen sweating in public in shorts and a baggy shirt or tank top. That embarrassment was soon replaced by pride. People were proud to have put in the time to work on themselves.
That shift in perspective led to a change in lifestyle. Working out or going to the gym became part of social life. Before, working out was a free zone. A time where you could hop off the life train, get sweaty and dirty before cleaning up and hopping back on. Now people want to look their very best at all times. People realised that there was no need to change outfits between tasks. Athleisure entices people to go to the gym and hit the cafe in the same outfit. This new way of life is the reasonwhy Gym+Coffee started after all.
Athleisure isn’t so much a trend as an evolution in the way we do things. Like any evolution, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact point of origin. Some people believe that it started bubbling back in the days of the fabulously retro Jane Fonda exercise videos. Others believe it came along with the emergence of the Instagram-led culture around healthy living.
The latter makes the most sense to us. Instagram and social media have opened the world’s eyes to health and fitness. Before, celebrities and movie stars seemed to come from a different planet. Now, people have behind the scenes access to celebrity life. Through this accessibility came the ‘shocking reveal’ that these people weren’t just born looking fit and healthy, they had to work for it.
The discovery led to mass spreading of knowledge and fitness tips. The spreading of knowledge led to new ways of living and the emergence of Athleisure.
Fad is a nasty word. It implies that something isn’t real or hasn’t been fully thought through. “Ah, that’s a nice idea but it will never last.” However, there are some trends that were borne out of functionality and lasted forever.
Levi jeans started out as clothing for gold miners when they needed outfits that were tough and built to last. Trench coats were created during trench warfare as soldier needed long jackets that didn’t weigh a tonne. Athleisure was born out of people’s desire to mix functionality with life and style. In a changing world where functionality trumps all, the Athleisure lifestyle is here to stay.
So, now you know, you’re up to speed. You’ll be able to ‘wow’ your friends with the fascinating backstory to this emerging phenomenon. Ok that’s probably a bit much but it is interesting to track where this new lifestyle we are living has come from and how it might evolve.
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