23 October 2016
A trend is emerging toward expensive fitness wear that looks as good on the street as in the gym. Photo:
A trend is emerging toward expensive fitness wear that looks as good on the street as in the gym. Photo:

Luxury leggings: US$400 yoga pants just the beginning

If you’re a woman who buys US$1,500 designer dresses, pays US$250 a month for an upscale gym membership and totes around a US$4,000 Chanel bag, why would you spend a mere US$100 on the leggings you wear to the gym, on errands, and on the weekend?

That’s the question well-heeled fitness enthusiasts have been asking themselves, and luxury labels are beginning to address the gap.

Upmarket workout gear that can be worn in or out of the gym has become a status symbol, much like any other pricey designer clothing, Bloomberg reported.

Premium yoga pants, made popular amongst the masses by Lululemon, can run anywhere from US$80 to US$200.

A horde of brands battle each other in this segment, including superpowers Nike, Under Armour and Adidas.

Yet there’s little available for women searching the racks for even more expensive, higher-end performance wear. 

But quietly, a smattering of new true luxury activewear labels have appeared, each with the hope that affluent shoppers are willing to shell out US$300, US$400, or more on a pair of pliable pants.

“Some of the newer brands that are emerging are going to give activewear a whole level of status we haven’t seen in this business before,” the report quoted Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at trend intelligence firm Doneger Group, as saying.

The “designer casual” look is prominent these days, championed by luxe labels like Brunello Cuccinelli and Isabel Marant.

Fitness wear used to be dismissed in couture circles as unworthy, but luxury fashion houses have started to sell some adapted forms, using their longtime reputations to justify selling jersey leggings for US$400.

The next phase involves specialized companies touting luxury leggings under new performance-centric brands, Morrison said.

Take Charli Cohen, who launched her eponymous activewear line straight out of college in 2013.

The young British designer went into fitness fashion immediately, because she saw technical sportswear as the next big thing.

Now she sells leggings, tops and jackets that run for US$300 or more, targeting women who spend a lot of money on their evening wear wardrobe who want equally chic, quality garments for the gym.

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