With easy access to some of the most jaw-dropping sights in the world and no shortage of world class gyms, it’s no wonder that we Aussies love exercising so much. Accordingly, the activewear trend is here to stay – and we expect to see even more innovations in this industry in 2022.
We Aussies are a naturally active community, our culture is built upon days by the beach or in lush national parks. From professional athletes to weekend warriors, most Australians participate in sports in one form or another.
With at least half of all Australians participating in cardio-intensive exercises such as running and cycling, it’s no surprise that sports bras and cycling shorts are among the most popular attire among fitness enthusiasts each year.
So what activewear will be wearing in 2022 and beyond? Let’s investigate.
#1 – A focus on more ethical and sustainable products
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of companies that practice ethical labour practices and those that don’t. According to Forbes, 54% of Gen Z are willing to spend at least 10% or more on sustainable products, whereas 50% of millennialls would claim to do the same.
Natural and recyclable textiles, as well as local and limited manufacturing, are becoming more popular alternatives among these environmentally-aware individuals, especially among those who opt to to athleisure. This is especially true for Generation Z, who came of age during a period when climate change is front of mind across the globe.
As Gen Z start to gradually enter the workforce and increase their purchasing power, their impact in the fashion industry will start to be felt. This will undoubtedly create a shift away from cheap fast-fashion products and more into sustainable mens and women’s fashion pieces.
#2 – A focus on better fit
Just as there is a rise in awareness of ethical practices, consumers are also becoming more mindful about sizing and fit for their activewear.
When looking at our neighbours across the pond for a comparison, popular active wear in NZ tends to be those brands that excel in two main ways: style and functionality.
Sportswear is designed to be figure-hugging and accentuate the body to reduce the amount of drag that a loose item of clothing might cause for an athlete. This has led to everyday active wear incorporating design elements such as seamless and short-sleeved cut-outs, as well as tights that are more stretchable and fit closer to the skin.
With so many local and international brands competing in the active wear space, it’s only natural that they market their products aggressively. Whether by utilising higher-quality materials or developing a more aesthetically attractive design, many brands spend a great deal of focus creating unique and eye-catching ranges.
#3 – A move towards performance technology
Mobility is a core factor for any athlete, and the clothes you wear can play a big impact on performance. Fabric innovations have been a big area of research for brands, as they allow for flexibility and faster recovery time after intense physical activity. In addition, these clothes are created to be tightly fitted to the body so that they can increase oxygen flow around the muscles, which leads to better performance during aerobic activities.
For example, compression socks are a type of activewear that are commonly used in sportswear these days. By applying pressure on the legs, the body receives an increased blood flow and decreased lactic build up during a strenuous workout, which helps to reduce swelling post-exercise.
By contrast, if you opt to wear casual, non-active wear items, you run the risk of developing blisters, chafing and muscle tears as a result of poor-fitting clothes. Sportswear fixes this dilemma as they are shown to reduce risk of injury with the right sportswear.
Activewear brands are also starting to look into equipping their new items with anti-odour qualities, while others are designed to wick away sweat and moisture to prevent bacterial infections.
#4 – A rise of Instagram-worthy designs
In an age where almost everyone has a camera phone and the ability to share images instantly on social media, it’s no surprise that many activewear brands are focusing on clean, simplistic designs to appeal to these audiences.
By having a good-looking activewear range, these brands can reach a wider audience and sell more products. With 70% of teens trusting influencers on Instagram over traditional celebrities, there’s a high chance for acquiring potential customers when you can show them a good looking design on their preferred platform if it’s worn by a familiar face.
#5 – Minimalism over embellishments or bling
With an increasing focus on quality and an understanding of a more price-sensitive market, in 2022 and beyond, brands may want to move away from designing sportswear that is too embellished.
If you look at the top brands, they tend to avoid bold print designs and flashy embellishments on their products—instead, they focus on sleek, minimalist design in dominant and trending colour ways. By adopting this approach, their designs are versatile enough that they can be worn for different types of activities, ranging from hiking to running to Crossfit and even regular socialising.