The rise of active wear
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In the 1920s, legendary tennis player Jean Rene Lacoste invented the tennis shirt, the signature of the Lacoste brand.

When golf emerged as a public sport in the 1970s, fashion designers converted the fashion of professional golfers into casual clothes. Golf shirts made with knit collars have become comfortable items to suggest a leisurly lifestyle. Also the long-sleeved shirt of polo players has been transformed and is now, with short sleeves, a basic fashion item of which everyone has three or four in the closet.

About 50 years later, yoga apparel is reshaping global fashion. It has been just 20 years since yoga, which originated in India, was established in modern society as a mental and physical training sport.

Canadian entrepreneur Chip Wilson, a surfing and outdoor sports gear maker at the time, took a yoga class to cure a lower back disease. His new brand Lulu Lemon sold its first yoga pants for $ 98 at a Vancouver store. Despite the high price compared to other competitive sports apparel brands, it has been growing rapidly. The brand lead the athlete fashion revolution by breaking down the boundaries between formality and function between home and work, socializing, and leisure.

According to the Pfeiffer Jeffrey Consumer Research Institute, consumers have recently become more fond of athlete fashion, with Lulu Lemon being the most popular brand among women in the North American fashion market, including the middle-aged. In particular, yoga pants, a signature product, are widely used in yoga or gym grounds as well as street wear.

Several fashion trends contributed to the success of the brand. Anti-aging and well-being are seen as key socioeconomic assets and symbols. Yoga fashion thus has become a sign to showcase a healthy body and spirit. In fact, since its inception, ´Lulu Lemon´ has been targeting women in modern urban cities with high levels of education, a high participation in social life, and high consumption tendencies.

It also offers pop-up yoga and meditation classes, jogging clubs, and group events for yoga fans. In the early days of its establishment, Lulu Lemon´s word-of-mouth marketing has been effective, and recently, social network marketing efforts using Facebook and Instagram have been strengthening its online community.

The trend of casualization, simplification, and functional apparel, led by young American consumers, contribute to the overall growth of the athlete and active wear market. Robert Geller X, a limited edition collection for men, released in May, combines the free spirit of urban men with an active lifestyle concept.

In order to dispel the perception that yoga is a women´s sport, Lulu Lemon closed men´s specialty stores in New York and Vancouver. Instead, they are being refurbished as a unisex-oriented dual-gender stores. In addition, the online shopping mall launched a unisex product self-care line.

Every human being wants to be wiser than he is now, younger, more beautiful, and more successful. Active wear is a styling solution that combines fashion with sports, well-being and self-care to support the aspirations of contemporary consumers.

Images Courtesy Lulu Lemon. Text by Jina Park.
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