- Issue Time
- Jan 4,2023
Today, the world seems to be driven by sports. In this blog, we'll take a look at the history of stylish sportswear and look at three trends to consider when doing business in the sportswear industry.
Today, the world seems to be driven by sports. It's a billion-dollar heavyweight that exists in everything from entertainment to fashion. Because there's so much money to be made, there's room for everyone: professionals, amateurs, enthusiasts, and haters. It also means that activewear can be anything you want it to be.
In this blog, we'll look back at the history of stylish sportswear, look at where we are today, and three trends to consider when doing business in the sportswear industry.
The Evolution of Sportswear: The Evolution of Society
Sport and fashion have always responded to our changing society. For example, before the Industrial Revolution, fashion was mainly tailored for the upper class. Before Liberation, sports were heavily gendered.
Sports used to be a pastime for those who could afford to have the gear and energy ready for a game. As industry replaces manual labor, manual labor can finally become a working-class pleasure as well. Photos and films make sports accessible to those who can't watch, perpetuate moments in sports, and give fans a reason to connect with their favorite athletes. Sports became a competition of nations without war.
Today, gender barriers are falling down, and consumers and brands are making enough money to make fashion and movement accessible to everyone. Money is the deciding factor - more money means more leisure time. Fashion, sports, and entertainment are all great places to spend time and money.
Sportswear Trends: Reflecting Customer Needs
You get up early and go to the gym. After your workout, you swap out your limited-edition gear for an outfit that includes a t-shirt, hoodie, polo shirt, or sneakers. After getting off work, you relax at home in your most comfortable clothes.
Before you know it, you're wearing your workout clothes most of the day. Sneakers and polo shirts are made for the tennis court. The hoodie started as performance clothing but has become a fashion staple, with luxury versions retailing for as much as $2,000.
So How Did the Humble Hoodie Become Popular?
In New York in the early 20th century, the Feinbloom brothers started an athletic apparel company that they changed to "Champion" in the 1930s. Their prototype protective shirt for outdoor work morphed into Champion's beloved sweatshirt, a garment that keeps athletes warm before and after training. To allow the jersey to better absorb body heat, Champion added a hood to it.
College students began wearing the hoodie on the sidelines, and the garment quickly became popular off campus for its practicality and versatility. Once the subculture of the '70s and '80s caught hold of the hoodie, they turned it into an anti-establishment symbol. Soon, hoodies were everywhere in sports, music, and streetwear.
Today, as the hoodie takes over the fashion scene, Champion has transformed its identity for the modern customer willing to pay a premium for a brand with roots. The hoodie story is an example of smart business, sport, and fashion responding to our needs.
To help you figure it out, here are three trends impacting the activewear market now and in the future.
1. Women's Sportswear: an Unstoppable Market Segment
In 2018, the largest share of the global sportswear market was held by the menswear market. However, the female segment is projected to witness the highest growth at nearly 6% CAGR during 2019-2026.
Again, this is the market's response to social change.
In the early 1900s, women's sportswear, like women's sports, was often restricted to protect the athlete's "femininity" according to the social norms of the time. Even as the sportswear industry gave way to streetwear at the end of the 20th century, styles remained predominantly menswear.
Today, women are committed to sports professionally, recreationally, and culturally, and brands recognize the commercial potential. Women's athletic gear, health and fitness apparel, accessories, and popular collaborations with fashion designers will drive sales due to the unforeseen impact of the modern health and fitness industry.
Big-name sports companies are also taking the next step to secure a women's segment and are becoming financial and ideological supporters of women's sports around the world.
2. Sports, Apparel and E-Commerce: The Collision of Universes
One of the lessons of 2020 so far is that it's a good idea to take at least some of your apparel business online. This also applies to sportswear.
In the global sportswear market, discount stores and e-commerce remain the major distribution channels, but e-commerce is expected to witness the fastest growth. So, if you want your target customers to choose your online store over their nearest sporting goods store, you're going to have to offer them a bigger deal!
Do this by acknowledging and appreciating how thin the line between the “digital” and “real” worlds is now: especially for Gen Z and younger audiences. Being online means finding connections offline and vice versa. You will have to create your image and tell your brand story in a way that makes sense in both worlds.
The world is full of products and brands, so your presence is what counts. In sports and fashion, quality, heritage, innovation, and collaboration remain the same.
3. Selling Sportswear: Selling Dreams
Very few of us train to be part of a national sports team. Even fewer will be famous enough to be recognized on the street. However, we all want to be healthy, and to some extent, we all want to be like our idols.
Sports and fashion are two of the biggest industries currently catering to these affordable needs. The sportswear business is narrowing the distinctions between "sportswear," "activewear," "athleisure," "streetwear," and "fashion."
So, the next time you see someone wearing leggings outside the gym, don't think it's an outrageous style. Think about how it's formed, and you'll see that leggings are any combination of:
- The wearer mimics their fitness or fashion role model
- The wearer tells you their taste and lifestyle non-verbally
- Purchases based on marketing campaigns or influencer recommendations
- Symbol of a society that values speed, comfort, and affordability
- Demonstration of technological progress in the textile industry
(Or maybe it's just that the leggings are comfortable.)
Like I said at the beginning of this article, activewear can be anything you want it to be, and so can your dreams through branding.
The Future of Sportswear: Quality and Information
Sports is an exciting industry because it celebrates the past, present, and future.
This is why the demand for activewear in the fashion industry continues and thrives in emerging countries where people have more disposable income and free time. However, what restricts the overall development of the sportswear industry is the proliferation of inferior and counterfeit products.
So if you want to be a part of the game, you have to give it your all, be aware of the times we live in, and focus on quality. The history of trendy activewear shows that a brand's success comes from creating a product that solves a problem for a specific demographic and then adapting that product for other interested demographics.
The above introduces the development trend of sportswear, if you want to order sportswear, please contact us.
YOYOUNG is a professional custom sportswear manufacturer, we manufacture higher quality sportswear to help your brand optimize brand value and customer loyalty. Each raw material is carefully selected and inspected by our professional team to ensure its high quality. In addition, inspections during and after production further ensure the quality of the garments.