Athleisure will continue to move ahead and be the fastest growing category, clocking in 20-25 per cent growth. Within athleisure, menswear is increasing at 8-10 per cent, while women’s and kids’ wear is growing at 11-15 per cent annually. The spurt of new brands and new product launches is making athleisure one of the most favoured apparels. Danish sportswear major Hummel’s entry into India further substantiates athleisure’s expanse. Today, form-fitting, athletic-inspired clothes have become the ‘new casual’ and changed the way consumers dress up for the gym, for casual and social occasions, and even for work. Growing on the back of increasing health and fitness awareness, the industry is estimated to be $6-7 billion in India.
Euromonitor research points out that the propagation of athleisure has greatly benefitted sportswear market, which is expected to continue to outpace the overall apparel and footwear industry to 2021. Rather than dwindling, the trend is evolving across all apparel and footwear categories as the technical attributes of sportswear merge with the aesthetics of fashion. With health and wellness becoming a priority for consumers, investments in activewear are pouring in. Today athleisure has influenced multiple industries from apparel and footwear to sports nutrition. In the wake of healthy lifestyles, consumers are seeking products that affirm their identity as an active individual such as wearable electronics. As exercise becomes a social activity, industries such as beauty are also set to benefit.
In the wake of this burgeoning growth, collaborations with high-profile designers are picking up and brands continue to seek new ways to cater to consumers both inside and outside the gym. Even celebrities have started sporting casual outfits while some of them have even invested in their own athleisure line. For instance, celebrity-driven brand company Mojostar has partnered Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez to launch their own brands, Prowl and Just F, respectively. Bollywood actors Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and her sister Rhea Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and cricketer Virat Kohli have also launched their athleisure wear brands.
In 2013, Hrithik Roshan teamed up with Myntra.com to launch a lifestyle brand HRX, which primarily operates in the active and casual wear space. As Vibin Prabhakaran, Brand Head, HRX says, India is heading towards a global trend of wearing athleisure to workplaces. The category has seen growth of 1.5 times as compared to rest of the portfolio.
Companies joining the league
Leading companies such as Arvind Lifestyle Brands, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. (ABFRL), Monte Carlo, Van Heusen and Numero Uno have all ventured into the active wear segment over the past 1-2 years. Having spent the past few years wearing sportswear on a regular basis, consumers have become accustomed to stretchy materials and technical functionalities, which will continue to influence purchase decisions in the future as consumers demand more from their clothing, prioritising performance.