Performance is the new Black

We underestimate what our clothes go through daily. Whether commuting to and from work or heading to the bar after office hours to bring in the weekend, your best suit, or any apparel for that matter, will no doubt be put under extreme conditions.

Whether hiking the escalators in and out of the tube or braving the office air con, through sweat or shiver, we rely on our clothes to keep us comfortable, something that’s not always reflected in the choices we have.

With the sportswear trend hitting the catwalks again, now is a better time than any for fashion and lifestyle brands to start looking into performance optimization and whether the concepts they create are fit for purpose. Exploring the following can make a big difference.

jenniarksey performance

Shape and Tailoring

Many brands are blurring the boundaries between pre and post work-out apparel through the tailoring they use. For example, ‘Work Out Life’ and their ‘Gigabyte’ cropped trouser combines performance wear with fresh tailoring to make for an item that would be practical enough to be worn in the gym, yet visually appealing so that you might wear it popping out for a coffee. With more high-street labels opting for cuff trousers and off the shoulder tees, modern day fashion has adopted the comfort of sportswear without sacrificing the style.


Bomber jackets have made a triumphant return to our wardrobes. Many use a mix of neoprene, nylon and power mesh that looks good at the gym as well as stylish outside of it. By innovating perceptions of what fabrics can work and challenging the limits as to what is acceptable in every day wear, brands can broaden options for their customers and direct new styles. We have even welcomed a wave of designs from top-end labels that make use of mesh fabric for evening wear, a look that is now frequenting the red carpets.


Many sportswear lines have repetitively incorporated the same colours in their offerings. Blacks, greys and whites have always been the stable foundation, with the occasional greens and blues thrown in for male lines and pink and purple for the female. Such rigid approaches have made it less engaging for sporting novices to consider sportswear, and even sport. With new brands coming on to the market such as ‘Fabletics’, their experimentation with colour appeals to a mass market, blurring the lines between fabulously causual to practical athletic wear.


With scope to create new and exciting items and inspire a new generation of designers to push boundaries, why not create a cool outfit for dancing all night long that is quick drying or odor reductive? Taking into account the endless possibilities when it comes to detail, designers are not limited to the norm and are free to incorporate aspects of tech, such as bonded constructions, waterproof zips, articulation in panels or performance fabrics etc. By creating a garment that is beautifully functional, down to the last button, your consumers will know that it was made with them in mind.

By Jenni Arksey via Fashion Capital

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