The Epic Rise of Athleisure Wear

Are We Paying Too Much for Fashion’s Latest Trend?

Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels

What’s Quality Got to Do with Price?

What I’ve learned over my years of product purchases and wear is that price points across certain brands are very comparable, but the quality of materials and life of the garments varies. Some brand’s fabrics maintain stretchiness for much longer, don’t pill or are far less likely to fade. Any garment that contains stretch like Lycra (spandex/elastane) is worn for workouts, sweated in, and washed a lot will hold its original day of purchase shape for about a year. After lots of wear, legging knees can get baggy and waste bands gap. Garments worn only as streetwear may have a longer lifespan.

A Little Product Knowledge Goes a Long Way.

An $88.00 sports bra style called the “Leah” led me to question current athleisure prices and examine my buying habits. At first glance, the “Leah” was a contender for my sports bra purchase, with thicker straps, a longer line, and a straight-cut back. What kept me from placing it in my cart and checking out? The bra was black with multi-colored stripes, and the lines of stripes did not match at the side seams. Mismatched stripes are a pet peeve of mine. In the world of sewing and garment construction, it’s a major no-no. And with higher price point brands, it’s expected that stripes will match. In ready-to-wear (mid to low price points), garments are cut in bulk, and it has become acceptable not to match stripes. Not matching stripes at garment seams is now widely practiced, especially by lower price point brands. This practice became popular because it is financially beneficial for brands. The upside is that it also happens to be helpful for the environment.

  • Reduces cost: By not matching stripes, a designer/manufacturer minimizes the amount of fabric they must purchase for production and allows for the fabric to be cut several layers at a time, saving time.

Examine Behaviors

To be aware and intentional when making purchases in today’s fashion system requires consumers to independently search for truth. For me, this process starts with analyzing my own thoughts and behaviors and then extending this analysis to the fashion industry. I find questions are helpful for reflecting on and better understanding my behavior.

  • I believe in empowering women and working for gender equity. Am I willing to prioritize purchasing from women-owned, privately-held brands over male-founded or publicly traded brands?
  • What about Black women-owned businesses? The U.S. has a history of discriminatory lending practices, and even today, Black-owned companies struggle to get the capital/loans they need to grow and develop. Am I willing to research to find Black-owned athleisure brands and use my dollars to support their success?
  • Would I prioritize buying from a brand that uses recycled materials and is transparent about their manufacturing practices even I didn’t like their styles as much as mainstream brands?

Industry Insider: Increase Your Product Knowledge

Poly/spandex is a very common fabric combination especially in workout /athleisure garments.

Writing about Fashion, Spirituality, Business & Psychology via my research & life experiences. These topics intersect more often than you might expect.

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