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The relationship between fashion and sport

The importance of clothing in sport has always been crucial. Uniforms and sportswear offering athletes durability, breathability and movement. Back in the 20s and beyond, most sport was only spectated by the wealthy, but as media became more accessible, so did sport. Sport gained its popularity throughout the decades, making classic pieces of sportswear find its way into every day fashion.

Sportswear’s most obvious appeal is its comfort. The evolution of stretch fabrics made sportswear take on a new level of comfort and ease- the combination of the two created ‘athleisure’. The comfort that comes with this style is its main selling point, which was heavily acknowledged in the industry, so it started making its way into high fashion, being adapted into couture styles and runway pieces.


Another huge aspect of sportswear that took the world by storm is sneakers. Starting off as tennis shoes, Adidas soon adapted these for consumers by creating the ‘Stan smith’ shoe in the 70s.



Soon after, many hip hop groups started styling sneakers and footwear made for sport. A notable style being Nike’s Jordan. Now I’m 2021, there are sneakers that resell on the market for thousands, such as the Nike and Dior collaboration.



There are styles and pieces we see now that many may not even recognise as having roots in sports. A great example being every day leggings that originally came from yoga pants or

dancing tights. Another is hiking gear and outerwear, such as the iconic puffer jacket, often seen made by North Face.



An extremely popular style, as of recent, is streetwear. Defined as casual clothing styled by various urban subcultures, streetwear has many influences. From Korean fashion, to sneakers worn on the basketball court, it’s an expressive cocktail of many styles. Streetwear definitely has solid roots in sportswear, especially with the popularity of sneakers and brand/designer collaborations like Yeezy, or Nike and Travis Scott.


Sportswear is definitely as much part of the fashion cycle as any other style, so keeping up to date on the lasting trends and returning styles is important. Comfort will always be in demand, meaning there will always be a customer base when you’re choosing comfort and practicality over other things. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from sportswear brands you admire, and integrate some ideas and aspects you like into your own brand or closet.


Written by: Abby Ashenhurst

Digital content executive @ Elemntz