Wearing traditional three-piece suits to office is passé. Today, office dressing is more about cool and comfortable sneakers as athleisure trends are slowly but surely invading workplaces. The line between sports and style continue to blur as brands take inspiration from athletic wear for everyday use. A classic example is the sportswear brand Puma which recently reintroduced its iconic sneakers like the Puma Suede. Puma also teamed up with Virat Kohli’s athleisure brand One8 to invest more in this segment.
Functionality, comfort driving athleisure growth
Today's young, millennial workforce in technology companies believe in functionality and comfort, which is reflected in what they wear to work. As a recent Morgan Stanley research reveals ‘global athleisure’ market is likely to grow to $350 billion by 2020. Technavio also predicts global athleisure market will grow by $122.66 billion at a CAGR of nearly 7 per cent owing to the growing popularity of athleisure wear among corporates in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Corporates in these countries also encourage fitness activities among employees, prompting them to sport athleisure wear at the workpace. The category has enabled brands to capitalise on the niche between the traditional sportswear category and the casual wear category with brands like Puma, Adidas, Nike etc creating specific SKU's to cater to this space.
Invading the Indian market
Having witnessed a wave of health consciousness among its working population, athleisure trend is also catching up in Indian offices. Sportswear is turning into a wardrobe essential in most companies and is likely to soon enter the mainstream industry. For instance, sportswear brand Puma will continue to focus on its athleisure or sportstyle products in India as the brand is confident of spurring of 35 per cent growth in its sportstyle products. The brand is recording an uptick in sale of not just of its in-line products but also limited-edition collaborations.
Reinventing footwear with athleisure
Alongwith the wardrobes, women are also reinventing their footwear collection. They are now protesting against specified footwear like high heels being made mandatory at workplace or formal events. Actor and freelance writer Yumi Ishikawa recently launched a new campaign in Japan to protest against high heels being mandatory for office-going women. Thus, besides the fashion industry, athleisure trend is catching up in the footwear industry too.