Sports Wear

Sportswear trends customer desires reflected

Sports and fashion have always been there to respond to our changing society. For example, before the industrial revolution, fashion was tailored mainly for the upper class (Wear day clothes to the theater? Barbarians!). Pre-emancipation, sports was heavily gendered (Women in sports? What nonsense!).

Sports used to be a pastime for those with means for the gear and energy for the game. With industry replacing manual labor, physical exertion could finally become fun for the working class, too. Photo and film made sports accessible to those who couldn’t go to the games, and allowed moments in sports to live (and be monetized) forever, giving reason for fans to become attached to their favorite athletes. Sports turned into a competition of nations without war.

Today, gender barriers are coming down, and both consumers and brands are making enough money to let fashion and sports be accessible to everyone. Money is the dealbreaker—the more of it you have, the more leisure time you have. And fashion, sports, and entertainment are all brilliant for spending that time and money.

 

In this blog, we’ll reflect on the history of sportswear in fashion to see where we are today, and three trends to consider when building a business in the athletic apparel industry.

Evolution of activewear: evolution of society

Sports and fashion have always been there to respond to our changing society. For example, before the industrial revolution, fashion was tailored mainly for the upper class (Wear day clothes to the theater? Barbarians!). Pre-emancipation, sports was heavily gendered (Women in sports? What nonsense!).

Sports used to be a pastime for those with means for the gear and energy for the game. With industry replacing manual labor, physical exertion could finally become fun for the working class, too. Photo and film made sports accessible to those who couldn’t go to the games, and allowed moments in sports to live (and be monetized) forever, giving reason for fans to become attached to their favorite athletes. Sports turned into a competition of nations without war.

Today, gender barriers are coming down, and both consumers and brands are making enough money to let fashion and sports be accessible to everyone. Money is the dealbreaker—the more of it you have, the more leisure time you have. And fashion, sports, and entertainment are all brilliant for spending that time and money.

Sportswear trends: customer desires, reflected

You wake up early to hit the gym. Post workout, you slip out of your limited-edition gear and change into an outfit that includes either a t-shirt, a hoodie, a polo, or a pair of sneakers. After work, you unwind at home in your coziest sweats.

Unknowingly, you’ve spent most of your day in sportswear. Sneakers (aka tennis shoes) and polo shirts were made for the tennis court. Hoodies started out as performance wear, but are now a fashion staple with luxe versions retailing as much as $2,000.

So how did the humble hoodie rise to such fame?

Printful-sportswear-fashion-hoodies
Designer hoodies at Neiman Marcus

In early 20th century New York, the Feinbloom brothers began a sports apparel company they would rebrand as “Champion” by the 1930s. Their prototype of a protective shirt for working outdoors transformed into Champion’s much-loved sweatshirt, a garment for keeping athletes warm before and after training. To have the sweatshirt trap body heat even better, Champion fitted it with a hood.

College students started wearing their hoodies off the court and field, and the garment quickly gained favor outside campuses for its utility and versatility. Once 1970’s and 1980’s subcultures grabbed hold of the hoodie, they turned it into a symbol of anti-establishment. In no time, the hoodie was all over sports, music, and streetwear.

Today, with the hoodie making rounds in the fashion arena, Champion has revamped their identity for the modern customer who’s willing to pay top dollar for a brand with roots. The tale of the hoodie is an example of smart business, and sports and fashion responding to our desires.

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