Athleisure finds its groove in India

India’s fashion scene has witnessed a major shift and is moving towards dressing for comfort. This has led to the evolvement of the concept of athleisure—a trendy extension of sportswear with a hint of function, comfort as well as style – all incorporated in one. It is the new buzzword that has taken the stretchy leggings and tops out of the gym into everyday life. “There was no place for athleisure in the Indian wardrobe till a few years back. With the spending power going up, some new trends began to emerge – Friday dressing being one. Today, with global style icons like Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Nick Jonas, etc. donning athleisure for casual outings, the young generation is getting inspired to flaunt the trend. Needless to say it is comfort clothing which can be worn from the studio to street,” says Afsar Zaidi, CEO and Co-Founder, HRX.


With the fitness mania getting louder, people are going for athleisure wear rather than just casual clothing and thus, sports brands started improvising clothes for athletic performance. Shazmeen Kara, Founder and CEO, YWC Fashion, asserts, “The athleisure trend is here to stay and 2018 is about to see another significant bull run in the fashion and sports industry. The overall athleisure category is growing at a rate of 20% to 25% annually wherein menswear is growing at a rate of 8% to 10%, while the women and children segment is growing at 11% to 15%.”

“We are seeing this category growing at 10% to 12% year-on-year. The segment is targeting those in the age group of 20- 40 years. With the category contributing up to 20% to overall sales, it is seeing an upward trend even as we speak. The average ticket size is anything between Rs 999 – Rs 1,599,” informs Shankar, Design Head, Van Heusen Athleisure. While the average ticket size for Alcis is around Rs 750 during summer and Rs 1,300 in winter, it falls in the bracket of Rs 800 and above for HRX.

Being a millennial-driven trend, athleisure is growing at a phenomenal rate not only in urban cities but also in the Tier II and III regions. Roshan Baid, MD, Alcis Sports, comments, “There is a massive surge in the demand for quality sportswear. We saw a huge gap in the market. Hence, Alcis Sports was born as a premium cutting-edge Indian performance wear brand.”


Another big push to the segment is given by celebrities who are not only embracing athleisure look but are also going to the extent of launching their own line. For instance, Mojostar partnered with actors Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez to launch their own brands, Prowl and Just F respectively. Other celebrities including Shahid Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor and her sister Rhea Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and cricketer Virat Kohli have also launched their athleisure wear brands.


While industry experts argue that the trend is here to stay now, it was not always the case. Athleisure was a trend that entered from the West and it was a challenge to carve out this market in India. “As an industry, we think this category is only set to boom further and the consumer will be even more spoilt for choice with a huge variety,” Shankar opines. This trend will rise with the proliferation of the fitness industry. It is not only a timely trend, but also a lifestyle to stay.

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