What will mark this era out in fashion history will be that sports has finally taken the leap, from all its sweaty origins, locations and associations, into the arena of luxury fashion. Thanks to street-inspired designers, athletic-inspired fashion has finally grown up. The idea has leapt far from the starting point of that unsophisticated pair of sweatpants, a slouchy T-shirt and baseball cap; Over the last two years, the lines between Sportswear and Fashion have become blurred.
Athletic influences are no longer immediately recognisable, and when they are, they have been made so luxe that you wouldn’t dream of wearing them to kick about. A sexier (narrow) fit, unexpected styling and unusual fabrics are used to balance out the relaxed, rugged silhouettes, making the new sports-style a modern hybrid elegance.
Traditionally, fashion and sportswear have been polar opposites: Fashion is refined, decorative and precious, while Sportswear was about function, technically advanced fabrics, and durability. The assimilation process began in the 1990s when fashion designers began to be seduced by massive sportswear brands into signing lucrative “capsule collection” deals, which helped the designers raise their profile and reach a mass audience; they also learnt the vocabulary of Sportwear, and brought their new-found knowledge to Fashion. Fashion sneakers, which today can be worn with just about anything, became just the tip of the Sportswear iceberg.
Fast-forward to now and hoodies and sweatshirts are flooding runways; But perhaps you had seen it all coming for isn’t fashion’s perennial T-shirt a sign of what was to come? Blame it on Casual Fridays (which became casual Every-days) and the raise of comfort over anything. Blame it on exercise becoming a fact of life for the professionally beautiful. Blame it on mega-rich, celeb sports stars.
Sports-styling has come to invade the Fashion arena in a winning streak and there’s no looking back now, except in wonder at all those difficult, fussy, restrictive things that we used to wear in the name of fashion.
Be a sport won’t you?