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Entering the World of “Spashion”

Jun 29, 2017
Maria Rugolo, Director, Industry Analyst ;

Eight glasses of water…check. Ten thousand steps…check. Whole grains…check. From clean eating to athleisure makeup, the idea of living a healthy lifestyle is here to stay and making its presence known across industries. But, for some, healthy living is less about actually being healthy and more about looking the part.

Beyond the comfort component that has been a major focus behind the athleisure trend, consumers are also looking for clothing to be functional, and of course, fashionable. Clothing that can be worn to work and the soccer field makes life much easier for working moms.

Enter “spashion”…companies are now blurring the lines between sport functionality and fashionable looks.

Athleisure has been a main trend in the industry for the past few years, showing double-digit growth since 2012. We are wearing activewear even when we are not actually exercising. It’s part of our wardrobe and part of the casualization of Americans that my colleague, Marshal Cohen, has been examining since its onset. This year, the craze for athletic bottoms has started to settle – dollar sales gained a moderate five percent compared to the 14 percent growth last year.

On the flipside, interest in denim has been on the rise, with dollar sales growing for the last two years, largely due to newness and innovation within the women’s category.* Jeans with yoga pant lining or extreme stretch are the types of products that consumers are starting to expect from clothing brands today. Gone are the days of uncomfortable denim. Today’s jeans are softer, stretchier, and more versatile than they were a few short years ago. These innovations are spanning various brands and price-points, making this trend more attainable.

Bralettes are another example of the fashion and sport worlds coming together. These products have made sport and non-sport bras somewhat interchangeable for the consumer. As a result, sport bralettes’ share of the market increased 12 points in just one year’s time.**

The list of categories that blur sports and fashion is long. From bigger ticket items like outerwear to your everyday basics like socks, elements from both sides are making their way into end products. Knowing which elements are most important to your unique consumer is essential in aligning your product’s offerings to their lifestyle.

After all, a consumer who wants to be fashionable while running errands around town may very well be looking for some of the same functional features as a consumer planning to run a marathon –  when that happens, it is time to enter the world of “spashion”.


Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Consumer Tracking 12ME May 2017*
Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking 12ME April 2017**

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