The Rise of Activewear and ‘Athleisure’

 18 January 2021 

When I got into fitness, the only thing I'd look for in activewear was that the pieces were sweat proof, kept my boobs still and had a thick waistband around the stomach for support. To be honest, I just wanted to get through my workout and not have everything jiggle.

Fast forward a few years and ‘Athleisure’ had made it's debut. It's basically a word merge between 'athletics' and 'leisure'. Think yoga pants, leggings, sports bras etc but you don't have to be heading to a workout to wear them. You're just wearing it because it makes you look and feel good. Athleisure soon became my all time absolute favourite thing to wear, as soon as a it became clear that that is now acceptable as an outfit. No questions asked!

A comedy sketch that springs to mind is an old viral video parodying women that do everything in activewear.

Athleisure pieces includes yoga pants, tights, leggings, hoodies, sports bras, trainers (sneakers). It’s also really body sculpting and I think most women would agree with me that the compression in some of my leggings is makes you feel like you're wearing spanks style ‘suck you all in’ underwear except you aren't counting down the hours until you can take it off.

It became one of those trends where being underdressed was the new overdressed. When I was in LA, I remember hearing somebody say that it's unacceptable to wear gym clothes after midday if you're out and about. I don't remember who said it to me but I remember it really sticking in my mind. Either way, i've ignored that person's mantra. I'm someone who wears a sports bra and leggings and a zip up hoodie out to social things if the dress code is not specified. Most of the men in my life too, live in sports clothes because it's sweat proof, lightweight and comfortable, what's not to love.

In terms of supply and competition, there's now more sports brands than ever before. According to SoMe athleisure analysis, there are 565 athleisure brands. The most followed brand on Instagram is Gymshark, a UK based brand, with over 4.2 million followers. Gymshark was born in 2012, but it first came to my attention when I met a personal trainer. Her leggings made her bum look UNBELIEVABLE. I couldn't tell if it was her actual bum or the style of the leggings but she told me they were from Gymshark. It looked like the fabric and the stitching of the leggings kind of gave her a booty lift.

What facinates me most is how some of the creators behind these brands have achieved so much at such a young age. Ben Francis is 28, born in 1992 and he is the founder of Gymshark and majority shareholder. His reported net worth is £700 million. Other brands like TALA have become popular for their stress on sustainability, making athleisure clothing out of recycled plastic bottles. TALA was founded by Grace Beverley, 23, who started out as a content creator on Youtube and Instagram, documenting her life and workouts whilst studying at Oxford University. Her flagship brand, TALA generated more than £5.2 million in sales in it's first year.

It feels like athleisure is here to stay. Below are some of my picks for comfortable, luxe, fashionable, functional clothes if you're looking for a little but of atheleisure inspiration and feel like treating yourself! (especially since working from home is still a thing and not going anywhere for the foreseeable)

Leggings from Sweaty Betty

Gymshark Leggings (bum sculpting)

Nike Sports Bra

And Other Stories Loungewear Bras (sooo comfy)

ASOS athleisure

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Lia Hatzakis
Hiya! I’m Lia, a British born Greek-Cypriot youtuber and actress living in West Sussex, UK. Welcome to my blog! I share my life stories, recipes, travel guides and outfits. Expect lots of ramblings and cups of tea.

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I'm known as Lia, but


is my Greek name (pronounced “vah-se-leé-ah”). It means royal / queen / kingdom. So you can call me Queen Lia!
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