Fitness Fashion

Sports for all things fashion

Sportswear is one of the largest and best-known sellers of clothing in the world and it all began with Nike in the mid-1960. Nike started-off as a maker of athletic shoes, and then branched out into shoes and clothes for athletes and those who wanted to dress like athletes. Today, it now seems it is the athletes who want to still be able to carry on with their sports activities without having to completely look athletic but stylish. Nike also came just in time to take advantage of the fitness craze, which inspired average people to buy specialized clothing; sportswear for instance, and most people who spent hundreds of pounds each year to buy this specialized sportswear never actually took part in the sport for which their clothing were designed. However, since the late 1970s fitness has been in fashion, and it is nearly as fashionable to dress like an athlete’s as to be one.

Though designer wear and activewear used to represent different sectors of the clothing industry, in the last few years with a number of diverse collaborations that have challenged the boundaries of sport and fashion we have seen many sports brands create new product lines in collaborations with fashion designers. Everyone wants to be seen as trendy or having a “designer edge” so active sports leading brands are reaching out to established designers. Now that everyone is running after collector's items or limited editions, they are turning these opportunities into new brands for a specific design-conscious clientele.

Fashion has become an essential and important way of life to many people and therefore exercise has become that crucial ingredient that contributes to all the fabulousness that people want to achieve in their lives. For one to fit-in, having a healthy, fit and shapely body as-well-as perfect skin all contribute to acquiring that desired self-image. The appeal of sportswear has become modern and intensely dynamic and has influenced both mainstream and avant-garde fashions with added features on garments like zip-fronted skirts, hoods, windproof jackets, pouch pockets, magnetic fastenings at the neckline, all this has now become a part of the day to day fashion lifecycle and speech system.

Some significant and recent collaborations between the Fashion/Sportwear Industies:

(A few examples...)


When they launched their innovative Prada sport it formed a bridge between sportswear and casuals creating clothes that had durability for performance without looking like sportswear at all. What Nike had done for sports technology –Prada did better for the fashion world creating high-performance looks that were actually high-performance for the sports aesthetic.

Michael Kors

Michael Kors’ Spring/Summer, 03 Collection showcased sportwear as part of his clothes range for the season

In 2005

Missy Elliot and Madonna collaborated to promote a women’s range for the brand which worked successfully.

Bernard Wilhem

Bernard Wilhem’s who’s SS/07 collection used patterned designs that were based on American body-builders

Jean Charles de Castelbajac’s

For his AW/01 collection, he created a very colourful re-interpretation of a jogging suit was a big hit on the cross between fashion and sportswear.

Dries Van Noten and Kim Jones have also re-worked sportswear staples such as the grey jersey tracksuit into high fashion items

Stella McCartney

SS/08 Stella McCartney designed a clothes range Addidas.

Another sport brand that has expanded into the designer world is Puma who created various collaboration projects to merge the cool street look of sport shoes with everyday footwear for design conscious people. Their most interesting ones included a collaboration with Alexander McQueen that had a goal to "define a new provocative horizon in Sports-Fashion. Other Puma collaborations were with Neil Barrett (Puma 96 hours) and Puma by Miharayasohiro by Japanese shoe designer Yasuhiro Mihara.

So not only has the technological revolution already begun changing the worlds of fashion and sport, but the transformation of the fashioned body and now more fashionable women and men becoming extremely body-conscious and image means everything. People are willing to reconstruct themselves by any means possible to achieve the perfect look and because of this; sportswear has become an essential staple in act to accomplish this. Sportswear now not only is for wearing to engage in sports activities but also can be placed as fashionable and people who want to be healthy and still be stylish have finally got what they wanted.

Later on this year, the Victoria and Albert Museum will be holding an exhibition of Fashion v Sport and hopefully that will be able to shine more light on the relationship between the two and bring more clarity to this merge that everyone seems to so desperately want to get their hands on.

The Victoria and Albert museum’s curator of Contemporary Programs, Ligaya Salazar has also written a book that explores the topic with exceptional depth and breadth including hundreds of inspiring images as well as contributions from athletically inclined tastemakers like Kim Jones, the Stylesniper, and Mihara Yasuhiro. It is due for release on the 1st of June to get us geared for the exhibition which will be running from the 5th of August to December 14th. Further details on that -