With the summer sporting season kicking off and the Athleisure trend still in full swing, we take a look at the designers who are renowned for seasoning their collections with a touch of sport.
Alexander Wang has been credited with fuelling the start of the athleisure trend way back in 2009 when he showed a football inspired collection for Spring 2010.
Wang has also teamed up with Adidas to provide us with some sportswear inspired lines. He announced that he was collaborating with Adidas Originals in 2016 after surprisingly showcasing his capsule collection with the brand at the end of his Spring 2017 Runway show. Since then he has launched two more successful collections with Adidas, with his latest collection being launched this year. And it’s clear to see that Wang played it far from safe when designing for the sportswear giant. His debut collection for Adidas, saw him turn their iconic logo on its head and on first glance the second collection may have been deemed more suitable for Bradley Wiggins than your typical consumer. However, the most recent collection was probably the riskiest as Wang purposely designed the clothes so they looked like they had been subject to production errors.
And Adidas isn’t the only brand that Alexander has collaborated with. H&M was lucky enough to have a line created by Wang which reflected his sportswear flare. The 2014 collection, like all of H&M’s designer collaborations, was a sell-out of a success, rushing off the shelves quicker than Usain Bolt can run the 100m.
Coincidentally Stella McCartney, who is seen as the pioneer of Athleisure, has also collaborated with H&M and Adidas. Whilst she launched a one-off collection with H&M back in 2005 her relationship with Adidas has been a lot more longstanding. The designer has been collaborating with the world’s second-largest sportswear brand for 14 years, having designed her first collection for them back in 2010. Stella even designed the Adidas kits worn by the British athletes in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. Whilst the 2012 kit was met with mixed opinions due to the lack of red in the design, overall it was deemed a success resulting in Stella being asked to design the kit 4 years later.
Beyoncé/ Topshop – Ivy Park
With the Athleisure trend being more successful than Brazil in the World Cup or Roger Federer at Wimbledon it comes as no surprise that celebrities have turned their hand to designing fashionable Sportswear. From Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma to Kate Hudson co-founding Fabletics, all the stars are ensuring they don’t miss out on the athleisure hype.
One brand that has been incredibly successful is Ivy Park which was co-founded by Topshop and none other than Beyoncé in 2016. What is great about the brand is that it stands for so much more than a celebrity designing a few sporty clothes items. Described as a feminist brand, Ivy Park is based around the idea of Sisterhood, with Beyoncé choosing strong, empowering and like-minded women to star in the brand’s campaigns. Actress Yara Shadidi, model Sophie Koella and model and musician Selah Marley starred in the campaigns for Ivy Park’s second campaign and sum up the message behind the brand.
Koella pointed out that ‘sports are usually only geared towards men’ and said ‘ I love that [the collection] highlights that women are capable of anything.’
Perhaps this is how Beyoncé’s Ivy Park differs from the plethora of other celebrity endorsed or deigned athleisure lines out there. Rather than designing simply to keep up with the craze Beyoncé has used what is current to co-create a brand that empowers women and girls and shoes them as equal to men.
What do you think? Will the athleisure trend continue to grow? Will more celebrities be designing sports lines? Will high-end designers keep collaborating with sportswear brands?
Text: Chaz Pond
Images: Marcio Madeira, David X Prutting/BFA.com, Alexander Wang, Bryan Luna / Highsnobiety, H&M, Ivy Park, Stella McCartney, Getty, Brianna Capozzi.