How the Athleisure Movement Went from Fad to Dominating the Fashion Industry

You’ve heard it from us before but we just can’t say it enough: the athleisure movement is more than just a fad, it’s a style that is here to stay. At BELLA+CANVAS, we have a highly skilled team of trend forecasters who look at the top designers in the world to see what styles they’re releasing each season. Then they predict what styles will trickle down into the mainstream trends for the mass market. Having this resource is crucial in the apparel industry and has allowed us to get ahead of trends so we can provide YOU with the most sought after styles and colors in the retail market but offered in the wholesale space.


Athleisure Domination

So let’s talk about the athleisure movement: It’s a power combo of style, comfort, fit and functionality. And it’s got staying power–even haute couture labels like Gucci, Fendi and Tom Ford  are imitating and inspired by the mainstream success of athletic performance wear brands.

athleisure movement

Millennials and Gen Zers want fashion-forward activewear garments that let them balance wellness priorities with remote work and at-home responsibilities and even a night out on the town, all without having to change outfits. It is no question that consumers have  responded to this lifestyle shift wanting a selection of stylish, cross-functional athleisure styles that fit their multidimensional lifestyles: work, home, the gym and on the go. Due to the variety of athleisure styles and fabrications, there are infinite possibilities for print techniques and placements. Selling fashion-forward athleisure as branding basics is a surefire sales strategy for 2020 in the wholesale industry. 

2020’s Trends for the Athleisure Movement

Matching Sweatsuits

The mega popular 90s trend of matching sweat suits is back in a luxurious way. This year’s styles blend on-trend silhouettes, fit and comfort. Between navigating busy schedules, staying active throughout the day, and (for many) enjoying the perks of working from home, sweatsuits and tracksuits are more than just a trend. These loungewear basics are a lifestyle essential. 

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Style Tip:

Pair your sweatsuit with white tube socks for a vintage vibe (or go heather grey for a sportier look). You can also dress up your sweatsuit with structured blazers and sneaks, or chunky knits and boots for an off-duty or off-the-runway look like you see on today’s top models and fashion icons. 


Trending Textures

Let’s talk texture.  A sueded fleece fabrication offers comfort inside and out, not to mention an eye-catching, on-trend look. It’s performance wear that feels like cashmere so be sure to prepare yourself for lots of strangers wanting to touch to feel the softness for themselves. Plus, the more you wash your sueded fleece basics, the more of a  worn-in vintage feel you get.

Style Tip:

If you’re looking for a cross-functional loungewear look, sueded fleece tops and bottoms fit right into 2020’s athleisure styling. 


Neo-futuristic Styling

With high-tech developments like robots, artificial intelligence and virtual reality all around us, everyone’s got an eye toward the future—including fashion designers. Enter: ultramodern graphics and neo-materials like holographic foil, metallic inks, vinyls, mesh, pearlised iridescent finishes and more on seamlessly constructed garments. At the start of a new decade, reflective colors and graphics take streetwear styles to new futuristic levels, while lightweight performance activewear pops with printed holographic skins. We’ve seen this trend with brands like Fashion Nova and Adidas and on celebs like Beyonce. 

athleisure movement

Style Tip:

Layer futuristic outerwear and hoodies over body-flattering performance pieces such as a  sports bra-and-muscle-tank combo and high-waist fitness leggings.


Retro Color Palette

When old school gym class from the 1990s meets 2020 urban fashion, colors explode. Bright purples and yellows made a major comeback, and we’re loving the retro comfort of reimagined athletic wear. However, with bold, geometric graphics, along with feel-good mid-tones like cool blues and earthy neutrals, the vintage vibe is revamped for a new decade with a modern twist, blurring the lines between sporty and sophisticated. 

Style Tip
The mid-tones have it this year, with feel-good hues for him and her, that work across many industries, from wellness to outdoors: all shades of yellow, true-to-nature blues and earthy neutrals. To achieve this look…. 


Cropped Silhouettes 

Breathable, flexible and on trend, crop tops are perfect performance-wear pieces. From boxy to slimmer silhouettes, this style is the perfect layering piece taking you from the studio, to brunch, to errands to a night out with friends. In 2020, these lightweight but structured crop styles fit into performance and athleisure collections, offering new layering and styling options.

Style Tip:

Layering is your friend! Try a cropped long sleeve with high waisted jeans and a jacket for a more modest take on this trend. Or pair a cropped hoodie with a pair of leggings for a fresh out of the gym approach! The options are plentiful. 

athleisure movement

Athleisure Trends for You

As you can see, athleisure is a versatile trend that is continuing to expand in the fashion industry. We know these trends are going to be huge for your business and we can’t wait for you to experience the positive feedback! If there was a trend that stood out to you and you’re excited about, share with us in the comments below! Or if there was an athleisure trend we didn’t cover that you like we’d love to hear that as well. 


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Trend Guide: The Rise of the Athleisure Movement
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Trend Guide: The Rise of the Athleisure Movement
You’ve heard it from us before but we just can’t say it enough: the athleisure movement is more than just a fad, it’s a style that is here to stay. At BELLA+CANVAS, we have a highly skilled team of trend forecasters who look at the top designers in the world to see what styles they’re releasing each season.
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