Sportswear as Fashionwear: The Rise of Athleisure

With sportswear now fashionable, so many more opportunities to get fit and celebrities leading the way, it’s no surprise that the UK sportswear market and the need for sports pr is growing rapidly.  By 2019, the sportswear market is set to exceed £8bn and between now and then is predicted to grow at an average rate of 8%.  In particular, it’s women’s sportswear that will continue to grow as fashion retailers continue to launch sportswear lines, women’s only fitness brands pop up and the athleisure trend continues.

The line between active wear and high fashion has become increasingly blurred, described as the athleisure trend.  When I used this term in the office, I got a few puzzled faces staring back at me, but the trend has actually been on the scene for a few years.  In fact, athleisure was one of the most googled style terms in 2014.  This trend is why it’s now acceptable to wear your gym gear, even if you’re not going to the gym (and haven’t we all done it?).  The Tab even did a study to test this out and, perhaps unsurprisingly, found that 9 out of 9 girls wearing gym kit on campus were not going to the gym… and one didn’t even have a gym membership!

It’s now fashionable to wear sportswear and that’s thanks to the huge number of fitness lines and brands out there and their fitness pr.  Most high street fashion stores now sell fitness lines, such as H&M, Primark and Victoria’s Secret.  Of course it’s not just on the high street, online we’ve seen the launch of fitness clothing ranges including Boohoo Fit and Missguided Active.  There are also more and more online exclusive female fitness clothing companies, with Fabletics and Hey Holla being two of my favourites.  Even Muscle Food has a section on their website dedicated to active wear!

Celebrities are jumping on board being seen in gym gear on the street and getting involved with sports brands.  The likes of Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Sienna Miller are but a few who have been spotted sporting a variation of the athleisure trend.  Of course, athleisure cannot be mentioned without bringing up Beyoncé’s Ivy Park range for TopShop.  On launch day, Ivy Park took social media by storm and in a matter of hours became the most-engaged fashion brand on Instagram.  Even beating Rihanna’s Puma line, where she has been the Women’s Creative Director since 2014.

Of course social media pr has had its part to play in the rise of fitness fashion brands, especially Instagram – the go-to hub for inspiration.  Instagram is the perfect platform for fitness brands and influencers to communicate with their audience.  Fitness bloggers and influencers, such as Zanna Van Dijk and Clean Eating Alice, motivate and inspire their followers with workout videos and training tips.  Brands are on there doing a very similar thing, including Lorna Jane, Victoria Sport and Nike.

With the athleisure trend set to grow even further and opportunities to exercise improving, the sportswear market is expected to continue to outpace growth in the wider clothing and footwear market over the next five years.  With all this choice and the fact that gym gear is just SO comfortable, are we really surprised?

Our consumer lifestyle PR team specialise in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer Lifestyle PR, Food & Drink PR, Consumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR. More information on these areas of knowledge can be found at