Megatrends are those that transform our lives and define each era. Think back to the 80s and you’re sure to picture flannel, ripped jeans, permed hair, and definitely some spandex. Or how about the 90s with those denim skirts and butterfly hairclips we all admittedly had. What about the era we’re in now? How will our present time be defined? I believe 2019 will be remembered as the year in which fashion became sport and sport became fashion.
Today’s biggest ready-to-wear designers can be seen drawing inspiration from the world of sport and incorporating it into their lines. From the sporty-casual look of Vince sneakers and Splendid joggers, to the neon-sport hue of ALC’s Marin Dress, vibrant colors and technical fabrics have given our dress code a radical update.
So, how did this happen? How did sport slide into first place with today’s designers seemingly so subtly? It turns out that while “Sport” as a fashion trend may seem very now, it’s actually not entirely new. Remember the Lacoste shirts of your middle school days? The Prep or Collegiate look has been around for decades, arising in the 1920s from golf and tennis. And tracksuits? You guessed it…That look took the lead in the 1970s with the manufacturing of stretch fabrics, resulting in many a zip-up windbreaker you could find worn on and off the track (and probably in a box in your parent’s attic). And perhaps no place is sport’s impact on fashion more evident than in the sneaker style game. Hip-hop fashion of the 80s relied heavily on basketball-inspired pieces and still does today.
So, if sport has been influencing fashion both consciously and subconsciously for decades, what makes this idea of sport in fashion—particularly women’s fashion—different in 2019? I would argue that there a number of factors at play here. Designers know our lives are more fast paced than ever, leading to the need for functionality in our clothing. But we’re also choosier than ever! We refuse to sacrifice any level of style in the name of function, tasking today’s designers creating styles that not only perform, but also deliver big on aesthetics.
Women are also more prominent in sports than ever before. And some of the biggest stars in their respective arenas are placing a priority on fashion both on and off the clock. Take Serena Williams for example, an athlete who is always pushing the envelope with her on-court choices, blurring the lines between sport influencing fashion and fashion influencing sport.
The parallels between the two are seemingly endless. Both sport and fashion are places in which to be creative, to express individuality, to take risks, to push boundaries, to be competitive. It is no surprise that both continue to evolve and impact one another, influencing today and tomorrow’s designers.