The figures are impressive: Athleisure witnessed more than 15% growth during the pandemic and now the worth of the Indian market for this clothing segment is estimated to be Rs 54,000 crore. As the name suggests, it’s ideal for working out as well as lounging around the house.
The imperative to work from home (WFH) and increased awareness about fitness helped in this hike. The major selling point of these brands was making fashion accessible for everyone at a price much lower than premium brands like Adidas, Puma and Nike.
Divya Aggarwal and Siddhant Aggarwal co-founded the brand KZ07 during the pandemic. It is a platform for men and women, where “fashion meets art and comfort”. By experimenting with new approaches, the brand claims to be all about individuality and stretching people’s comfort zone.
“During Covid, people realised the importance of quality of life and longevity. They gradually started taking efforts towards slow fashion, preferring comfort above style”, says Divya.
KZ07 collection features unisex and versatile clothes, as well as shades of grey and neutrals blended with neon and bright hues to enhance the collection’s appeal.
Talking about the rapid surge in the market, she says, “Social media has led consumers to adopt fashion trends quicker than before.”
Athlizur was founded by Arpit Poddar and Bhanu after witnessing the struggles women in the family faced while shopping for colourful activewear. “There was a need for an Indian-born activewear brand which was pocket friendly and colourful. That’s what laid the foundation of Athlizur”, says Poddar.
For the brand, the pandemic opened up new opportunities. It gave people a chance to discover that activewear is more comfortable than their casual outfits.
According to Poddar, social media is probably the best medium through which a brand can market its products and style ideas to people across the country and the globe. Local promotions have a limited reach. On the other hand, with social media, you can reach anyone anywhere in the country and figure out a more niche audience for the trends you are developing.
“Athleisure is here to stay. I trust that it will become one of the fastest growing segments in the apparel category and you will see it everywhere from gyms and yoga studios to airports and coffee houses as well as discotheques and offices”, he claims.
These brands offer a dynamic range of mix-and-match options that work well together and with more conventional everyday wear. “This experimentation in the fashion industry was rampant if not always coherent. Casual has conquered the battlefield”, claims Divya.
The increased desire for clothing that supports both an active and social lifestyle has combined with innovations in fabrics, designs and textures.
Experiments in design have helped Athlizure to stand out from other brands. “We keep experimenting and adding new features that are practical. Not like you need a pocket in your sports bra but you definitely would look at a sports bra that can function as your party wear top as well”, says Poddar.
Based on his observation, millenials are definitely the first takers. The brand’s quirky cartoon and superhero prints help women to celebrate fandom and nostalgia.
“KZ07 embraces individuality. which covers both generations”, Divya adds.
Millennials, they say, are in search of authentic expression, for which reason they prefer imperfections rather than curated perfection. This visual style is best described as messy realness, using collage style layering.
In sum, the new clothing segment serves a desire for self-expression, freedom and fluidity. Digital and analog come together as one. No wonder these entrepreneurs are confident that the scope of this fashion trend is unlimited.
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