Johannesburg - Five so-called athleisure and active wear brands are opening new stores at Sandton City.
Athleisure embraces performance wear as everyday wear, a trend growing in prominence.
Sandton City is owned by Liberty Two Degrees, Liberty Group and Pareto, and managed by JHI Retail.
Adidas recently opened its HomeCourt performance store at Sandton City. Over the next two months, more boutique sportswear brands, collections and collaborations will be joining the mall.
Luxury active sportswear brand Plein Sport will debut its first South African store at Sandton City. Performance apparel names Under Armour, Puma and Kappa will also open at Sandton City.
Jonathan Sinden, Liberty Two Degrees’ asset management executive for Sandton City, explains that athleisure is an evolution of fashion, rather than a trend or a fad.
“Mixing casual, couture and athletic wear has essentially created an entirely new clothing category. Athleisure blurs the lines between locker room, dressing room and boardroom,” he explains.
Athleisure is emblematic of bigger cultural trends, including the widespread shift to health and fitness. This is increasing consumer participation in sport and exercise leading to a greater, wider customer base for active wear.
Social media is also driving this concept as young consumers are increasingly exposed to fitness and lifestyle icons, both locally and internationally. The social element of training together is also growing athleisure, because it is another occasion to dress for.
In a time-scarce world, people want hassle-free clothing. Athletic wear is generally more durable and has wrinkle and odour resistance from its tech-infused fibres. Also, people are no longer prepared to feel constrained by their wardrobe and want to be flexible.
Athleisure has influenced high fashion, from couture sneakers and limited-edition trainers to chic clothing for work, sport and lounging around. Luxury brands are introducing athleisure lines. Sportswear brands are launching designer collaborations.
Sinden believes athleisure is a perfect fit for Sandton City shoppers as they prize brands that mix a sense of fashion with fitness.
“Consumers have added another dimension to how they perceive modern luxury, and it includes investing in their health and well-being. This new idea of luxury is as versatile, durable, flexible and comfortable as it is contemporary and cosmopolitan,” he says.
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