ATHLEISURE – This buzzworthy trend is bigger than ever.

March 13, 2019 written by
Women's athleisure - Cover story - C9

Find out what it’s all about.

Outer wear, just like innerwear has evolved and changed over time with consumers opting for comfort blended with style. Also, Asia-Pacific in general has seen an immense rise in active wear; as lifestyles become more comfort-driven and the new generation having great disposable incomes. Also, women have started coming out more now than ever and becoming more independent than before. The stress on fitness too is high and everyone is veered towards a fit and comfortable life. We take a look at how active wear, particularly, women’s active wear is increasing in demand.

Blending of leisurewear and sportswear:     

About a decade ago, Reebok, one of the leading sportswear brands made an entry into India with its range of active wear and others such as Adidas, Puma, Nike followed suit. At a time when the craze of fitness was catching up with Indians, especially the young, these brands made a foray into an as of untapped segment of athleisure, in the country.  Indian brands such as Black Panther, Sports King, Lovable, Enamor, Amante, PrettySecrets, Swee Athelica, Bodycare, Bumkum, SDL, Floret, C9, Zelocity by Zivame followed these international ones in time and today, this has become a much sought after category for both, manufacturers as well as consumers.

Athleisure sales are booming, and the active sports category is the fastest-growing segment of the market. Consumer market research firm NPD reported that sales of activewear and athletic footwear reached $36 billion, and that sales in this category were growing faster than other apparel — they were up seven percent.

Trends Driving Sales:

Meanwhile, running, cycling and team sports are amongst India’s fastest trending exercises — the number of gyms in the country is projected to rise 7 percent year-on-year till 2020 — and the rise of social media in the country has shifted consumer perception of what is now considered to be ‘body-beautiful’. A growing number of consumers – both female and male – are emulating the daily fitness routines and sportswear purchases of Bollywood stars and famous athletes.

Women's athleisure - Cover story - Bodycare Creations . Women's athleisure - Cover story - Van Heusen

With these social, cultural and market shifts continuing in the years to come, India is gearing up for its biggest sporting boom to date. This makes the country’s athleisure sector increasingly attractive to a host of local and international brands.

Market Research firm Euromonitor said the active wear segment is poised to grow at a CAGR of 17.1%. In 2015-16, the category grew by 22%, beating the global growth of 7%.

C9 offers smart and relaxing active range for women made from polyester and lycra with flat waistbands, various colours, etc., falling into the price range of INR 500-1000, which is also comfortable for the Indian pocket. The brand constantly reinvents offering its consumers seamless wear that maximises flexibility, mobility and comfort while enhancing comfort and confidence with their collection of joggers, track pants, capris, sports bras, etc.

Besides, today’s generation, i.e., the millennials’ being health and fashion conscious has given brands another opportunity to make profits…turn sportswear into casual wear. Hence, athleisure is usually defined as sportswear that can be worn even outside the gym, making it a great attire even for outings with friends.

Brands are not only offering this ‘in’ casual wear offline, but the online players too are joining the bandwagon. In fact, one e-commerce platform apparently is trying to introduce sub-brands and even increasing their product offerings.

Market Size:

Considered to be a market of INR 7,000-crore, the segment itself grows at about 14 per cent per year, according to sources.

Mr Sanjay Dawar, MD, Bodycare Creations, says, “It’s a market of 5,000 crore and after five years, the potential of the market will be more than double.”

Ms Swati Sharma, Group Manager, Design, Van Heusen, opines, “The market is growing tremendously fast and speculated to grow 8,000 crore by 2020. The growing wealth, disposable incomes, change in lifestyle and urbanisation in the cities has created awareness among people.”

Women's athleisure - Cover story - Floret

Ever evolving segment

The high disposable incomes of the young generation today coupled with their passion for fitness has triggered the growth in the active wear market. But, women’s athleisure has seen a surge as now women too stress a lot on staying healthy and fit. Says Ms Sharma, “The Indian consumer has become more conscious about their health and the way they look. Bollywood actors are endorsing brands to bring awareness about being fit to live a healthy lifestyle which brings a huge scope to this category.”

Mr Dawar too feels that the active wear segment has a huge potentiality in India as women are getting highly health conscious in today’s world.

This rise in demand has also ignited the research and development in the fabrics used. So, today we see features such as water repellency, soil and stain release, wash and wear, rapid dry, moisture transportation, etc., in the finishing of the products. Besides properties such as antibacterial protection, quick drying properties, durability, and breathability add to the resilience of active wear. Brands also make their products trendy, colourful and stylish to meet the demands of the fashion-conscious youngsters.

Styles and trends:

As far as the products are concerned, there is a wide range for consumers to choose from…racer backs to regular tracks, to hoodies, to T-shirts, there’s everything that one would want. Mr Dawar says they offer many styles for women…”our basket comprises of complete styles that are required for modern women. So, we have track pants, yoga Pants for different uses as well as shorts for the modern woman, T-Shirts etc. The basket is full of lively and vibrant colours, which is also the choice of Indian women. The MRP is very attractive, competitive as well affordable for the contemporary women.”

Ms Sharma meanwhile says that Van Heusen offers a fresh colour palette, exclusively created through extensive market research, while keeping the consumers in mind.

Mr Dawar adds that racer back and criss-cross are fast moving styles and Ms Sharma states that travel pants, joggers, hooded jackets, and treggings are quite in demand.

Women's athleisure - Cover story - Bodycare Creations

Categories in demand:

There is a plethora of variety in this segment and brands offer almost all categories to their customers. Says Ms Sharma, “Athleisure being the new favourite among people who want to travel in style is really picking up fast in this segment since airport looks have become a global trend not just for celebrities but most of us.”

Besides, social media and fitness clubs spike up the demand as well, she adds. “On the other hand, increased presence of multiple fitness clubs and fitness posts on social media has made a real difference and has been inspiring people to invest in sports and yoga specific clothing.”

“The secret of our brand identity is innovation infused in clothing for creating one of its kind experiences. Added properties in fabrics like moisture wicking, stain release, hi-stretch and ultra soft touch brings effortless style and comfort all day long,” she mentions.

Mr Dawar explains, “Track pants, yoga pants are well popular as well the T-shirts is highly essential with the lower, so both the verticals are most important. We have seen very good response in our shorts and half pants segments for the women. But of course the sales of track pants are more.”

Lingerie brand floret too has ventured into this segment and has launched its range of active wear for women. From sports bras to leggings, they offer a variety in colours and styles for the discerning and style conscious woman of today.

As for the penetration in the market today Mr Dawar states that they’ve started penetrating the market well with their distribution setup. “But the market is very huge, we want to penetrate to the fullest,” he adds.

Ms Sharma says while speaking about the fast-growing segment that five years ago people were not aware about athleisure becoming a mainstream trend in India. “Thanks to the global fitness trend, which put a lot of emphasis on fitness due to ever changing lives of people in this modern age in every society, the international cross cultural boundaries have disappeared now and the knowledge sharing and information has created this common culture of fitness across the world, she adds.

Conclusion:

The athleisure market is only going to grow. Micro trends like Liesurewear and activewear only support this theory. Trendy activewear is enabled by the improved textile materials now available in the industry which allows sportswear to be more versatile, comfortable and fashionable. Supported by technology the only way athleisure can move, is forward.

So overall, as we can see, women’s athleisure is not only fast becoming popular but is her to stay with the changing lifestyles and the confident and independent Indian woman of today. With the entire Indian sportswear market pegged at $3.0 billion by 2025, and the current share of women’s athleisure being about 31 per cent, it paints a bright and profitable picture for most international and local brands.

Wearing activewear better for health than everyday clothes

It turns out mooching around in activewear may be more beneficial for a woman’s health than staying in everyday clothes.

A new Victoria University study has found the simple act of donning a pair of Lycra leggings will greatly increase a woman’s likelihood of exercising.

The $140,000 research project examined trends in the female activewear market and found women who put on exercise gear – regardless of whether or not they plan to exercise or are involved in sport – are more encouraged to do beneficial physical activity.

“Australian women want to make healthier lifestyle choices. Sometimes the first step is actually associating with it, wearing something that makes you feel healthier,” said the study’s Principal Researcher, Associate professor Clare Hanlon.

The University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living today released results from the study, commissioned by the Australian Sporting Goods Association, which examined women’s behaviour and consumer sentiment when deciding to purchase exercise gear.

Van Heusen offers printed joggers, slim travel ants, gym joggers,  treggings, full zip hoodie, gym full zip hoodie.

BOTTOMS: S – XL; INR 999 – 1299, JACKETS: S – XXL; INR 1399 – 1499

Colours for BOTTOMS: Black, Pink Blush, Charcoal Melange, Grey Melange, Maroon

Colours for JACKETS: Black, Deep Sea Navy, Pink Blush, Charcoal Melange, Grey Melange, Maroon

Floret Foray in Athleisure

Floret athleisure hit the market in the summer of 2016. Research and development of course had started in early 2015. The reason they introduced this category is because they realised the shifting trend in the market with the change in people’s lifestyles. People have now started leading more workout oriented lives, whether it is a walk or a jog in the morning or Zumba or Yoga or the Gym in the evening. This rise lead to athleisure being accepted as regular wear as they became a larger part of people’s everyday wardrobes. This is not surprising since they are comfortable as well as stylish and can be teamed with anything at all. I mean look around you, you see Yoga pants everywhere!

Floret’s athleisure catalogue boasts a variety of workout oriented as well as leisure oriented garments, made from a variety of fabrics that have been handpicked for this particular purpose. The range consists of Workout pants, Yoga Pants, Jogger pants, Casual Pajamas, Capris of a variety of fits, Shorts as well as T-shirts. Their target audience is the young Modern Indian woman who desires both style and comfort.

Most of their Athleisure is available in 6-9 colors from S to 3XL. The starting range of the collection is Rs. 319 to Rs. 899.

Since Floret caters to customers pan India the biggest challenge faced by us while launching this category was finalising sizing for each fit.

It has mostly been a smooth ride since then.

Most of their prints are designed in-house for their athleisure collection, after studying the season’s forecast and researching international trends. A very small percentage of the prints is bought.

In a garment like athleisure, functionality and style go hand in hand. Since they design their own prints it works to their advantage. Each garment is developed keeping the functionality in mind, and each print is designed keeping the garment in mind.

Their designing process involves studying the market and understanding its latest need. They then go on to design a product that serves this need. It is during this process that the prints are developed and even before making the garment or the print, their team makes 3Ds of this and the styles are shortlisted. They then go onto making patterns and prototypes for testing and sampling. Only after this process is a garment approved to go into production.

Their range of Athleisure has just the right mix of basic and trendy products. After much weeding and deliberation during the sampling stage they finalised a range that is unique to them and will keep their customers coming back to us. Their products are designed keeping a modern Indian woman in mind, the styles are patterned to suit different activities, the prints to follow latest trends and the fabrics are picked based on comfort, their high wicking properties, antibacterial wash, and high stretchability.

Currently the most loved style seems to be the Narrow Slim fit along with Yoga Pants. Colors like Navy and Black always do well, however this season will also be favourable towards a very dark shade of Jade.

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