Did you know Merriam-Webster have added “athleisure” to their Words To Watch for this year? So many of us are becoming more and more discerning about what we wear to the gym and out running, there’s no surprise that sportswear has become an industry in its own right. As well as the big boys there’s a growing number of activewear startups and most high-street brands have had a pop at some sort of Lycra this past year.
But what’s to come for 2016? What are the trends, which new brands are emerging, and will any high street stores will be running sportswear lines? I spoke to two of my favourite online activewear stores to hear what their thoughts were, plus took a look around at what’s available to pick out a couple of my favourite trends and pieces for the upcoming year.
Camille Roegiers de Silva of Fashercise
Fashercise was one of the pioneering luxury sportswear stockists, so I consider founders Camille and Alex to be the authority on activewear!
“In terms of brands, I think No Ka’Oi is the a big newcomer; they do things slightly differently and it’s really a new approach to activewear, much cooler, much more luxe.
Natalie Dale of Style PB
Natalie struggled to find stylish sportswear online when training for the London Marathon – so created her own destination for functional, stylish sportswear in Style PB.
“Mesh is still a huge trend in the activewear field. However it needs to be done well as lots of people are now copying the trend. Michi is an excellent example of Mesh done well, especially the Hydra Crop legging.
“Activewear as the new daywear is also a huge trend. I personally spend my whole life in leggings now and it’s great to see brands like Varley doing this so well. Their Sofia legging is ideal for Pilates or Yoga and all you need is a change of top and you can go from the gym to a meeting and no one would notice.
“It’s great to see the sportswear industry moving away from just neon pink for women! This seasons there are lots of lovely shades of red, such as claret, berry and burgundy, which all look great. Again I think this is because the industry is now aware that women want to wear workout wear that is stylish and that they can wear outside the gym too.
“A new brand to watch out for is LNDR, a great new athleisure brand that mixes seriously stylish sports bras and leggings with more Sports Luxe pieces.”
What else is coming up?
USA Pro have made Little Mix their ambassadors. They look nice and all, but I thought we’d gotten over using celebrities as faces for sportswear lines and focusing more on athletes with bodies more like the women actually wearing the activewear, but some marketing person somewhere thought this must be a good idea, so there you go.
Though Nike will remain dominant, Lululemon will become more popular in the UK in 2016, with their showrooms launching in more cities around the country. I struggle to justify paying the price as the pieces tend to be fairly plain – though the quality is meant to be excellent, so it’s worth the investment if you want your activewear to last.
A brand called Catalyst Activewear‘s CrowdCube funding project has just ended. They’re an “affordable luxury activewear brand” which looks to be in subtle shades with pops of colour, and directional straps, which appears to be aimed at the yummy mummy yoga market. All very cool so I look forward to the brand launching to see more.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve not heard of any traditional fashion retailers releasing any sportswear lines this year, other than your staple H&M and Primark lines. Some highly-publicised launches from well-known fashion lines didn’t go down so well last year, generally because people need their activewear to perform (be supportive, sweat-wicking, well-fitting and wash nicely) as well as look good. You can only assume these retailers learned from their mistakes and have either gone back to the drawing board or decided that sportswear is just too out of their sphere of knowledge.
What will I be wearing?
In short, we’re going to progressively wearing more mesh, strappier bras, more geometric prints, and looking more like Little Mix in the gym.. but what do I want to wear in 2016?
Whilst I will always love crazy patterned leggings in as many different colours as possible, I’ve found my gym-style has become more subtle recently, with more directional patterns and unusual silhouettes. I’ve also become much more functional in my tastes – I know, I know, yawn – and am loving my Nike Legend leggings that I know won’t budge anywhere and the Elastika tank which I now own in three different colours, which I will no doubt be adding to soon.
On my wishlist for the next year is more leggings in black and white patterns or mesh panels, baggy vests with cool straps, and sports bras in bright colours.
However, going against everything I’ve just said, I love the camoflage prints of Laain and would love camo to be a big print in gyms for 2016!