Just as the obesity epidemic has increased in figures in the last few years, the same has been happening with sports/activewear. Obviously this seems a touch contradictory - unless obese people everywhere have created a new trend of eating McDonald's in some Nike Dri-FIT - but the activewear market has seen a rise of about 7%; with regular apparel only seeing an increase of 1%. Developers and designers everywhere are seeing this gap in the market, and boy are they making money from it.
It isn't just an exponential interest in activewear that's taking the industry by storm, but the interest in fashionable and aesthetically pleasing pieces
that we can all wear and cause envy in the hearts of those next to us in our mid-afternoon Spin class. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Tumblr in particular, are bringing images of colourful, attractive activewear to our attention and making it seem 'trendy', or 'fashionable' to be fit, healthy and conscious of what we put into, and engage our bodies in on a daily basis.
Now, I'm not sure if many of you know this, but when it comes to sourcing those perfect yoga pants or sports bra, you don't actually have to shop at Nike or Lululemon. I know, major shock. Believe me, I was the same when I made the discovery. But with more designers seeing an opportunity in sportswear, new brands are coming to the forefront of our Tumblrs and blogs and getting us psyched for hitting the gym ASAP.
I've come across quite a few brands on my research for this post, however I thought I'd condense it down to about three or four for now. First up is Alala. Founded by NYC triathlete Denise Lee, the brand was created to answer the main issues that women face on a daily basis - clothes that just don't fit well for their purpose, and clothes that do it all; making you look cute enough to run from the gym to the office - and not wishing the ground would swallow you up whole because of how you looked if you met 'the one' on the commute. The collection is very simple in terms of colour and pattern, but the devil is definitely in the details with each piece. I mean, they even have sports bras with zippers up the back so that you can actually get out of the thing post-workout. Genius. My favourite is the Got Your Back Tank, and at $85/£50 it's around the same price point as Nike.
Next, Tully Lou. As TL is an Australian brand, I can't kept but just get why the collections are so bloody stylish. The Aussie's seem to get most things right when it comes to fashion - think Triangl and Sabo Skirt - and Tully Lou is no exception to that. Although the website is basic in all aspects, the collections are very colourful and slightly futuristic. Actually, it reminds me on Triangl with the linear concepts and bright block colours. The price point is similar to Alala, and they ship Internationally (obviously just need to watch out for customs tax), so it's worth having a look.
Then there's Koral Activewear. What I loved most about this brand (other than the fact that they were based in LA), was that it's sports bras actually looked like bikini tops, and not something that a child would wear. They're known for their use of high quality materials which shape and contour the female body, whilst providing support in every way possible. It's stylish workout gear with a difference, and I'm 100% a fan.
And lastly, Without Walls. If the name doesn't entice you in, then how about the fact that their website gives you everything you'd need to live a healthy lifestyle. Not only do they stock their own collections, but they offer activewear from other designers, too. And you can buy your yoga mat and protein shaker at the same time. It's just convenience at its best. I loved how their collection features a lot of mesh and little hints of pattern. It's sports luxe but with practicality. Fab.
Where do you usually shop for your gym clothes?
Photo Credit: Tumblr (top image), Tully Lou, Koral Activewear, Without Walls & Alala websites.