Athleisure Has Finally Gone High Fashion

Athleisure Has Finally Gone High Fashion
Rock ’n’ roll isn’t quite dead, but the fashion world is no longer in thrall to the skinny jean-clad playboys that sat smoking cigarettes at the pinnacle of cool in the aughts. Now, the fashion agenda is being set by the most glowing and virile among us. Maybe it’s the omnipresence of iPhone cameras that has us obsessed with working out. Perhaps the shift a natural counter-reaction to the hedonistic self-destruction of the post-crash years: wellness is now the ultimate luxury. Whatever it is, it’s now cooler to skip the afterparty (I have a 6:00 a.m. Barry’s, but thanks anyway) than to post a late-night selfie from the bathroom.
And the uniform of the cool and hot is no longer athleisure, which was more a sign that you’d given up, anyway. The current moment is all about dialing in your gym fit—and for the first time in recorded history it’s finally possible to look downright fashionable while you’re sweating. Fashion and sport are no longer competing cliques in the high school cafeteria, and a plethora of new brands—from Nike-led collaborations to insurgent upstarts—are turning out highly advanced workout gear that doesn’t look out of place at fashion week. (Which is why several new athletic-wear lines debuted this season on the New York and Paris runways.) Here are the four coolest fashion labels making gym gear you’ll actually want to be seen in.

Nike x Matthew Williams
Matthew Williams, the founder of 1017 Alyx 9SM, is relentlessly committed to creating clothing that works hard for its wearer. So it was only a matter of time before he got the call from Beaverton—and in no time Nike x Matthew Williams has become one of the most hyped athleticwear releases in the fashion world. With a Paris Fashion Week debut and training camp activation sessions around the world, the cult following that has coalesced behind Alyx has fully embraced Williams’s vision for Nike, too. And it doesn’t just look cool—Nike’s troves of data on how athletes move and sweat informs Williams’s designs, like where to include rain coverage on water-resistant tops.

The Canadian Gore-Tex architects behind the label formerly known as Arc’teryx Veilance are making a few changes to ring in the brand’s tenth year. First, they’ve streamlined their brand name—now it’s just Veilance. And they’re embracing the full range of outdoor-urban activities their devoted fanbase engages in. Where they once focused on minimalistic, seamless outerwear systems, Veilance and its creative director Taka Kasuga are introducing a line of running gear. Dubbed FL (“fast and light”), each piece is feather-light, air-permeable, and, in usual Veilance fashion, packed with a grip of subtle design details that make the line a no-brainer to wear in basically any situation.
If you ever wondered what would happen if a former skateboarder who is obsessed with Dries Van Noten suddenly caught the running bug and decided to start an athletic lifestyle brand, well, congrats on having such a specific question, because Paris-based Satisfy is your answer. Founded by Brice Partouch, Satisfy responds to the need of serious athletes with a punk ethos rarely found in athleticwear. Shirts are riddled with holes, a design flourish that also happens to make them extra breathable. Graphics like “Running Club Member” and “Possesed” are splashed across the garments where a streetwear brand would place its logo. But the label doesn’t compromise on material or performance in pursuit of simply making cool clothes. A recent capsule collection is made out of what Satisfy calls “Justice,” a material created with a French silk-maker that’s 35% lighter than traditional athletic fabric.
Robert Geller x Lululemon
Robert Geller’s return to the New York Fashion Week schedule was accompanied by an unexpected collaboration with yoga pants powerhouse Lululemon. But the result turned the much-maligned athleisure trend on its head: in Geller’s hands, bonded sweat-wicking jackets, dyed in his signature dusty color palette, become grail-level pieces of outerwear. And you’d be crazy not to wear the color-blocked shorts and yoga tights to and from the gym (and everywhere else). The 12-piece collection drops May 6.

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