From Athleisure to Lifewear

A few weeks ago I spoke about the trend Athleisure signposting a shift in consumer expectations of their clothing. I summed up the shift with the following words;

‘Atheleisure wear is more comfortable, more useful, more practical clothing and it’s on this omission that I openly ask, why would we return to anything less?’

The purpose of the article was to recognize that with ‘better’ product being sold by the active wear industry, its highly unlikely consumers will return to anything less comfortable or lower performing. This shift has meant that designers and makers have had to respond in order to retain their market share i.e. denim’s declining sales, lost to Lycra leggings. 

Uniqlo have been the fastest to recognize the change in attitudes towards clothing by suggesting what Athleisure will look like in the future. Their new campaign features a series of adds by Droga5 London. They’ve coined the term ‘Lifewear’ which features in adverts suggesting that people can expect their clothing to do more, perform to a higher standard and enhance the experience for the wearer. The most interesting element is that this isn’t clothing classified as active wear, it’s referred to as clothing meant for every day life.

There’s an entertaining short focused on a wireless bra. The wireless bra is the holy grail of any brand looking to stake a claim as selling the most comfortable, highest performing product. Interestingly it’s also one of the hardest products to get right.

And there’s another one with a more serious tone, centered on ordinary clothing being completely unordinary.

Son of a gun…no wait. Son of a tailor.

When brands talk about customisation, they are quick to default to customisation of the aesthetic or appearance of the garment, based on the customer’s preference. This often means that the other main area, customisation of fit, is often ignored.

As a consumer myself, I’ve felt that for far too long we’ve been forced to buy cheap or expensive off-the-peg clothing, based on a standardized measurement system. A truly custom fit can be found on Savile Row, but the process is slow and not in line with modern consumer behaviors. When we talk about behaviors, we refer to groups such as the time precious or those that expect instant gratification.  Moving down (in price) from Savile Row, we muddle our way through, buying clothing and having it altered. Alternatively we buy made-to-measure which are really standardised fit options, masquerading as fits unique to the wearer.

So it was when I stumbled on Son Of a Tailor that I thought, finally someone gets it. The brand is built with customisation of fit AND aesthetic, central to its business model. They have established a viable customer journey, enabling you to be very unfussy or to have full control of every detail. Their confidence in their process is great to see, with an option to return the t-shirt, should you not be happy with it.

It’s this kind of business model that is both scalable and desirable in its own right and its’ surely not long until luxury houses or even sports brands follow suit.

I’m going to be the guinea pig as I am extremely fussy about the fit of my t-shirts. I’ll put in an order and post the results.

Want to discuss this further Get in touch OR leave your email to hear from me, next time i post something.

www.sonofatailor.com

What 'Athleisure' really means
 

We recently saw a huge apparel trend that was referred to as ‘Athleisure’. For me, athletic leisure clothing should simply be regarded as a case study of better apparel design. It shows that the apparel industry is no longer about trade-offs or compromises. It proves that apparel designers have the ability to offer more suitable, higher performing product. Athleisure wear is more comfortable, more useful, more practical clothing and it’s on this omission that I openly ask, why would we return to anything less?

The Nike Lab ACG collection is the perfect example of this attitude to design

"We always view technology as a function of quality,” Errolson Hugh of Acronym Studios, explains. "So high tech for its own sake is basically decoration. It only makes sense to use the technology if you’re creating a tangible benefit.”

 

 

 

 
oliver royce