The rise of activewear

Fitness has now become cool, and attitudes towards fitness attire have changed in just a few short years.

If I had been told in Year 11 that most of the clothes I wear in 2020 would be some sort of hybrid between workout wear and casual wear, or my wardrobe would be full of outdoor hiking style clothing and shoes, I’d have laughed in your face.

And yet, craze or evolution, the rise of active wear is impossible to deny.

What is it?

Activewear and sportswear are two different types of attire for people leading an active lifestyle. “Sportswear” refers to clothes designed specifically for sports purposes, while “activewear” refers to attire or clothes designed for transitioning from exercise wear to casual wear.

Gone are the days when we’d rush home because being seen in public in your gym gear was weirdly embarrassing. Today, people do everything in their gym gear; commutes to work, being out and about – having comfortable and fashionable kit is essential.

The days when Balenciaga shoes and luxury brands were the only way you could boast about shoes. The price, the spikes, red bottoms. But you could never be a nerd about shoes, or go into intricacies of technologies that are being fused with clothing brands. We are seeing a resurgence of high quality shoes and clothing that provide high quality service. With cool names.


Invented in 1969 by Robert W Gore, Gore Tex is a membrane that repels water but allows vapour to pass through. This means Gore-Tex keeps you dry on the rainiest of days but also from the water vapour you make while sweating.

The membrane itself is made up from an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene fiber (also known as Teflon). The stretching of this polymer forms a microporous material with over nine million pores per square inch. This membrane is fused with fabrics in different ways and patterns to make the garments completely windproof and waterproof.

With the way we live our lives constantly evolving, the need of adaptability increases. The need for clothing that is sustainably made and suitable for all sorts of terrain and weather, which can keep you warm but is also enough comfortable enough for everyday use.

The majority of us don’t fight in wars, climb mountains, or take trips to the Arctic but our love for things that put us in touch with nature or speak of earlier, more physically active times, runs deep. North Face, Columbia, Arcteryx – the list of brands goes on. We don’t prepare for battle, but with the functionality of activewear it can feel like wearing a uniform and boy does it feels good.


Seeing it on the runway at fashion shows and being worn by popular folk such as Drake, Kanye West and Virgil Abloh, shows that this sort of clothing has become fashionable. And because it is such a niche part of clothing there are endless brands that make activewear with their own unique twist.

Japanese brands are becoming the new hot names, with the resurgence of mountain wear and hiking clothing. It’s not all Gore Tex, but from the sports casual page where it’s a nice mélange of sporty and presentable, Stone island, CP Company, Sergio Taccini, Ellese etc.  often sported by the likes of Liam Gallagher.