New years day; was anybody feeling the guilt? Lying on the sofa nursing your hangover instead of preparing for that Iron Man? Not long ago, only the few had run a marathon. It wasn't something every other person had already ticked off their new year's resolution list.
We are a society obsessed with exercise and fitness. One feels almost neurotically guilty if we skip one day on the treadmill, and each year we find a new fitness fling; whether it'll be wild outdoor swimming, SoulCycling or Zumba. There are several similarities between the industry of active living and the fashion industry. You take an old idea, 'update it' by giving it a new spin and voilà! You've got yourself the latest fitness trend. Plainly speaking, isn't wild outdoor swimming just normal swimming in a natural source of water? Maybe not that revolutionary.
The fashion industry has artfully latched onto our fitness obsession. It all started in 2004 when Stella McCartney designed her first collection for Adidas. Her collection was soon after followed by a collaboration between Puma and Alexander McQueen. These paved the way for many others that followed. To date big names such as Marc Jacobs, Liberty and A.P.C have fiddled with the post-gym look and big high street brands such as H&M and Gap have launched new 'work-out inspired' fashion lines.
Surely, the interest from high-fashion brands must be a reflection of our increased time spent on exercise and how it has changed our lifestyle. Living a healthy and active life has never been higher on our priority list. In 2012 YouGov estimated that one million more women were taking part in physical activity and sports since the London 2012 Olympic bid was won in 2005. We are now more willing to pay premium prices for sports apparel as we spend more time in them. No longer is it enough for sportswear to be purely functional. It has to be stylish too.
Arguably, as mentioned, the Olympics in London in 2012 has had a role to play. It was the first time sportswear had been presented in such a fusion of performance and style. While athletic warriors battled it out for the gold medal in the Olympic stadium, Stella McCartney (U.K.), Ralph Lauren (U.S.) and Giorgio Armani (Italy) used the stadium as the ultimate fashion catwalk to showcase their national creations. In 2013, the sportswear look started to filter through into high-fashion casual-wear with the sporty aesthetic being reinterpreted as casual-chic.
Double page spreads in fashion magazines and the latest creations on the catwalk are proof that high-fashion designers are starting to draw inspiration from sports-apparel. As we've seen in the latest women's Spring/Summer 2014 collections high-end designers, such as Gucci and Marc by Marc Jacobs, are using performance fabrics to create the sporty vibe. Fabrics like Airtex, mesh, fleece, jersey and rib knits are used to create a sporty look with simple silhouettes, clean designs and an athletic aesthetic. Kenzo has dominated the last two fashion seasons with black-eye trainers and tiger sweaters and t-shirts. They have reinvented the brand and reentered the fashion map after a brief hiatus struggling in the background. Now they are one of our most desired fashion brands out there.
I predict 2014 will be the year the fashion/sport mash-up trend becomes firmly established on the fashion scene strongly lead by the iconic trainer. The high fashion trainer trend is already thriving with brands such as Dior and Valentino offering their interpretation of the fashion/sport mash-up on a trainer.
So think runway, not running track when you're shopping for next season and embrace the fashion/sport mash-up trend beyond your weekly exercise class.