What is athleisure?
“I’m often asked if the athleisure trend is going to fade away, and the answer is no,” says prominent retail analyst Marshal Cohen of the NPD Group. “When you have comfort and function combined with fashion it’s difficult to go back to anything else on a regular basis,” Cohen added.
Athleisure is the stylish sibling of sportswear. This type of apparel is described as trendy sportswear that can be worn both inside and outside of the gym. While athleisure for women has been fashionable for a while (think chic leggings with cute patterns and lightweight sweaters), smart sportswear companies are now targeting men. Currently, athleisure sales compose nearly a quarter (24%) of apparel sales. However, research by the esteemed global information company NPD Group shows that number is poised to rise, mainly because of an increase of male shoppers.
Why is this athleisure segment growing for men?
In January 2019, Nike unveiled a new yoga wear line, with pieces exclusively for men. Nike is perhaps the King of sportswear, but this year, the company is focusing on creating athleisure specifically for men. The company’s first line of yoga-specific wear includes long hem shirts and straight shorts that will stay down when you’re upside down in downward dog.
As more male athletes recognize the value of combining yoga with weight training, the yoga wear and athleisure categories continue to grow. Athletic wear companies are crafting yoga pieces that compliment men’s bodies and preferred colour palettes. Trendy colours for male athleisure include olive, grey and black.
Companies are betting big on men’s athleisure. Lululemon, another sportswear giant, is trying to scale its male athletic wear business to 1 billion by 2020. The company has been targeting male athletes by hosting male-friendly yoga events, like its “broga” retreats held in the United States. 30% of Lululemon’s new consumers were men in its most recent quarter.
Beyond the big dogs, smaller, niche clothing lines have seen great success with male-centric athletic wear. Here are the upcoming athleisure brands for men to watch:
Men now account for about a quarter of all yoga class attendees in many major North American cities, that figure is a significant increase from even two years ago. As men participate more and more in yoga, the athleisure retail segment will continue to expand.
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