Embracing the Athleisure Movement

In the last few years we’ve seen a shift in corporate cultures across the globe. Everything from the rise of non-standard work hours, to shifting to remote and satellite work sites with the advancements in mobile and digital technologies have played a definitive role in the evolution of modern day work culture. However, this culture shift has not been limited to logistical changes alone. As the idea of “casual Fridays” morphed into what many companies are now calling “dress for your day,” the need for standard business casual wear has lessened a bit and paved the way for an even more leisurely & comfortable mode of dress. We’re talking about the rise of the athleisure culture.

As standard fitness apparel torch-bearers like Nike, Under Armour & Adidas have expanded their lifestyle wear lines, we’ve also seen the rise of newer labels like Lululemon and Fabletics adding more to what appears to be a booming market that sees the lines between lifestyle wear and fitness, or “workout,” gear becoming more and more blurred. Couple this with more people adopting a fitness-centric way of life, and the boom in the number of fitness-focused social influencers, and you get the emergence of even more boutique apparel companies specifically catering to the fitness and athleisure market.

Gone are the days of extra baggy sweatpants, large tees, and those loose-fitting gym shorts from the 90s that resemble your mother’s culottes. It’s all about form-fitting joggers and slim-fit hoodies that can be transitioned from the gym to even the most casual of sit-down dinners. I mean what better way to accentuate all your gainz from hours spent in the gym, right?

There is an extremely large pool of fitness and athleisure-wear companies out there offering a wide selection of products fit for an even wider range of activities both in and out of the gym. Here are some of my favorites:

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Photo: machinefitness.com

Machine Fitness This Manchester UK-based company was founded in 2013, and offers fashionable and functional gym gear for the active male. Products are cut to fit the male form in a complementary way, providing comfort and durability conducive to grueling workouts or simply for lounging about.

With roughly 9 collections, including a “Signature” line, there are several styles of joggers, compression gear, tees, stringers and sweatshirts to enhance any man’s wardrobe. The company’s website is easy to navigate, and provides a top-notch e-commerce solution with international shipping capabilities. The site also includes a blog documenting various topics ranging from their different lines to fitness shows and other related events.

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Photo: vqfit.com

Vanquish Fitness London’s Vanquish Fitness bridges the gap between active clothing and streetwear. It is one of the fastest growing fitness communities in the world, and members of the #VQFIT movement include a roster of high-profile fitness personalities and athletes including Sergi Constance and Jason Poston among others.

The brand offers an extensive product line of tops, bottoms and even accessories for men. It also offers a limited product line for women, which is sure to expand with growing interest. I recently ordered their Exodus Blackout Tapered Joggers, which is part of a range of products made with “a European fashion-conscious edge.” They are easily one of the best-fitting pairs of athleisure pants that I have, and one of the brand’s more popular products made of a unique fabric blend of cotton, polyester and spandex.

Classic Tee in Green

Sporting my Rise Classic Tee in Green

Rise Canadian brand, Rise, was founded in 2014, and has also made a name for itself as a world leading brand in both sports equipment and apparel. With an extensive global reach, the company has built an incredible online social presence. Rise offers a pretty wide range of clothing products for both men and women, but also produces lifting gear including wrist & lifting straps and grips.

Rise creates some of the most comfortable tees in the market: soft and durable, nicely fitted, and perfect for workouts or for layering underneath hoodies and sweaters. Some of my favorites include the Classic tee, the two-toned Pulse tee, and the Unity tank.

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Photo: rondorff.com

Ron Dorff You might have seen this European brand popping up in social media feeds more so lately in the past few months. The men’s & women’s athleisure wear company is the brainchild of Frenchman Jérôme Touron and his Swedish collaborator Claus Lindorff, which explains the brand’s very simple, modern and elegant aesthetic. Products include multi-functional tops and bottoms that boast a minimalist look and feel; perfect for casual days (or nights) out.

The brand also includes a wider range of men’s products, including underwear, skincare, swimwear & accessories. It recently collaborated with men’s lifestyle magazine, Man About Town, to celebrate the pub’s 10th anniversary. In addition to a fashion editorial shot exclusively by famed photographer, Mario Testino, the company created an extremely limited number of tees and sweatshirts sold in their Paris and London stores. Ron Dorff is surely developing itself into a very relevant lifestyle brand. Check out their playlists created by Swedish music curators, Ohlogy.

Main header image collage from machinefitness.com & rondorff.com.

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