We’re sure you’ve seen it all before. Athleisure. Sports luxe. Gym kit masquerading as regular clothes. But this season, the pretence has dropped; sportswear is just sportswear again. Hoodies, sweatpants and proper trainers that you could legitimately work out in. Not that you would when the kit in question is by Vetements, but, you know. You could.
So what sets things apart this time around? Designers have realised the appeal of sportswear lies in its authenticity and democratic aesthetic. People from all walks of life can (and do) wear Adidas Originals Stan Smiths and popper pants. 1990s nerd-chic Reebok trainers are trending, as are unironic T-shirts emblazoned with Kappa, Speedo or [insert retro sport brand here]. This is the mood that designers are now emulating, rather than going for the sexed-up yoga pant and impractical parka vibe. Think Vetements’ collaboration with Champion – piggybacking on the unpretentious appeal of this sportswear David to Adidas and Nike’s Goliath. Demna Gvasalia’s boundary-pushing brand has also partnered with Reebok, Juicy Couture and Eastpak, to name but a few – and if anyone understands the zeitgeist, it’s him. Others have followed his lead. Louis Vuitton has joined forces with insider sportswear behemoth Supreme, resulting in a collection of logo-emblazoned denim, tees and (of course) bags. Cue stampede.
It’s not all about teaming up, however. There’s been a rise in high-end, fashion-led sportswear designers that are getting ahead of the pack. Brands like Yeezy, Fuck Art Make Tees, Ader, Alessandra Rich and Chrome Hearts have put hoodies and tracksuits back on the map; a bit hip hop, a bit urban, the cool-girl way to wear them is underneath a long cashmere coat with statement sunglasses and beautifully blow dried (not post gym) hair. Take note of the Jenners, Hadids and Linda Toll – when it comes to this streetstyle trend, they’ve got serious game. Polish is key, here, to elevate the work out kit to ‘work it’ kit.
Balenciaga, Givenchy and Off-White have all made sweatshirts, roomy logo tees and sporting details part of their design lexicon, and it’s time we all did, too. It adds a relaxed insouciance to any off-duty look. Rocking the new power suit? Skip the shirt and opt for a hoodie underneath: instantly cooler. Heels feeling (and looking) like too much effort? Old-school Reeboks show you’ve got places to go and things to do; heels would only slow you down. Slouchy sweaters are perfect for toning down the sex of PVC pants or the girliness of accordion pleat skirts while baseball caps, the surprise hit of the season, add the witty punchline to all streetwear styles. Opt for Vetements’ ‘Polizei’’ hat to be in on the joke.
Go on, be a good sport.