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The Athletic Craze

The Athletic Craze

Retailers like Lululemon and Athleta are specialized retailers that cater to a demographic of women between the ages of 25 and 45, with a specific concentration of athletic offerings for yoga, running, pilates and a unique category: urban athletic wear.

Urban athletic wear is what I call “work-out” clothes that are acceptable for everyday—run around clothes for busy moms, college students and, yes, athletes.

Walking down memory lane a bit—I remember when tracksuits were trendy back in the 1980s. They were created for running around the track in cooler weather. Their style and appeal soon spread to other sports like basketball, and everything else in between. The general public began to wear tracksuits purely for comfort and practicality. There was one big problem: they didn’t wear well. They were made from pure synthetic fibers that didn’t breathe at all, or 100% cotton that could not hold its shape after a handful of wear and wash; the pants had permanent saggy knees and butt. They were unsightly to say the least.


Fast-forward a decade and voila—Juicy Couture! Pure genius. You want a sexier tracksuit? One that is Pepto bismol pink or tangy lime? One that doesn’t sag and give you permanent knee and butt stretch marks? You got it! Juicy Couture incorporated a mix of 15% Spandex and 85% cotton blend to forever solve this problem. Their tracksuits fit more snuggly, with better fabric and grommet quality. They were also about 200% more expensive than the standard 80s tracksuit. Women bought them up in droves and the resurrection of the tracksuits can be seen from space.


Fast-forward two more decades. What you see now is a new craze in the athletic wear category. This “movement” encompasses a wider net of retailers. What may have started from specialized retailers like Lululemon and Athleta can now be seen and offered from Old Navy, Gap, Nordstroms, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Marshall’s, and so many more. All of these retailers offer their own private labeling of such athletic wear that not only can be used for doing real yoga or pilates, but can be worn as acceptable everyday wear in its own category of “urban athletic wear.”


The popularity of the urban athletic wear has caused many mainstream as well as specialized retailers to invest in either expanding their own private label line or expand such offerings with more options from wholesale doors.

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