Fashion brands want in on Performance

July 2020



Savvy fashion brands are looking to gain market share by bridging the gap between performance and fashionable ready-to-wear. As activewear is increasingly being integrated into daily attire and continues to captivate consumers, the category presents new exciting opportunities for hybrid solutions that fuse fashion and function.

US-based ethical fashion brand Everlane recently launched into the space, stating that leggings were their most-requested item from customers prior to launch. The brands VP of Design, Sonia Martin described the rational for designing the new line, stating

"Instead of just focusing on working out and exercise, we thought about lifestyle and where [our customer] is wearing these leggings day to day,"

Scandinavian sustainable fashion brand, Filippa K also recently launched into the category with their new fashion-meets-function line dubbed Soft Sport. The collection is described as a gentle approach to the active wardrobe. This epitomises the growing relevance of activewear beyond the gym.

Alex Ingildsen, CCO at LTP Group and trend forecaster CHANTELL FENTON discuss the key factors brands must consider when creating all-day active fashion.

Filippa K Soft Sport, image source
Filippa K Soft Sport, image source WWW.FILIPPA-K.COM

Why Now?

After months of lockdown consumers have become accustom to comfort. They will no longer accept hours of discomfort in the name of fashion. Restrictive jackets and uncomfortable jeans will become a thing of the past. Fashion brands must pivots their offer to functional fashion. Aim to take the best innovations from the sports market and recast these technologies into a fashion setting.

Jessica Harman, activewear strategist at the global trend-forecasting agency WGSN recently told Wired

“The comfort factor and more fluid approach to work and leisure have all played their role. We’ve seen iterations of it in the past, but now, as performance fabrics become more sophisticated, they’re better adapted to bridge the gap between work and leisure.”

Changes in fitness habits and the blurred boundaries between work and play means clothing that can be worn in multiple scenarios will gain commercial relevance. Think functional products that aesthetically align with the wearers day-to-day wardrobe. The sweet spot is where fashion and fitness collide.

Choosing a functional fashion partner is critical to success

To capitalise on this shift, it’s vital to use the right partner who can marry functionality and fashionability. It may be tempting to stick with an existing fashion supplier but sports apparel is generally more technical, utilising different construction techniques, shapes and material innovations. Working with an experienced manufacturer that understands the nuances of the category and can utilise cutting-edge techniques is key as sports enthusiasts demand all the latest functional details from their hybrid fashion-meets-fitness kit. Tap into the supplier’s technical know-how on the latest fabric innovations from crease resistance to anti-bacterial or the newest innovations in anti-virus technology.

The LTP Group, image source
The LTP Group, image source WWW.L-T-P.COM

Emphasising functionality alongside fashionability is key

Multi-wear apparel is about much more than just the look. It’s got to look great and perform to become a key staple of the modern wardrobe. Consumers want temperature-regulation, ergonomic fit and hyper-technical solutions for everyday adventures. Lyst’s report said online searches for leggings with pockets were up 180% in the last three months of 2019. The next generation of athleisure works harder for the consumer with t-shirts designed to sleep, sweat or live-in and leggings that are ready for anything. Epoque Evolution's Jet Set Trouser is a perfect example of hybridised fashion. The pant is designed to do it all, a wear-everywhere trouser that fuses comfort, function and fashion.

Products that have a a high frequency of wear and can be worn on numerous occasions will continue to gain commercial relevance. Aim for a winning mix of durability, functionality and fashionability.

Epoque Evolution's Jet Set Trouser, image source
Epoque Evolution's Jet Set Trouser, image source WWW.EPOQUEEVOLUTION.COM

About LTP

LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, urban performance, athleisure and sustainable fashion | Lifestyle. LTP was established in 1991, and is probably the biggest Sport & Outdoor garment manufacturer in Europe with bluesign setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam

LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in nine fully-owned factories.

About Chantell Fenton

Chantell is an experienced performance sportswear designer and trend forecaster, with a passion for wellness, technology and function-first design. Chantell has an in-depth knowledge of how to spot and translate the must-have trends and macro shifts for the sports and outdoor industry. For more details visit WWW.CHANTELLFENTON.COM