Difference Between Activewear and Athleisure

In the recent past, I had attended a seminar on activewear and athleisure. In that seminar, there was a gathering of international activewear buyers, sportswear manufacturers and domestic sportswear brand owners. Speakers were discussing various terms of sportswear products including activewear, sportswear, athleisure, yoga clothes, leisurewear etc.

In the seminar, one most common question among the participant was -
What are the difference between Activewear and Athleisure?  

Difference Between Activewear and Athleisure 

According to the Oxford dictionary -

Activewear is casual, comfortable clothing suitable for sport or exercise and Athleisure clothes are casual, comfortable clothing designed to be suitable both for exercise and everyday wear. Athleisure clothes are perfect for travelling and walking.

Activewear and athleisure
Activewear vs Athleisure (Image source: hip2save.com)
Activewear is synonyms of Sportswear. Typical sport-specific garments include shorts, tracksuits, T-shirts, tennis shirts and polo shirts (Wikipedia).

Indu Sharma, one of the speakers, explained the difference between these two terms.

Activewear is “clothing designed to be worn for sports, exercise and outdoor activities”. It’s what you wear to the gym, to your yoga class, or your morning run. It’s typically light-weight, sweat-wicking and form-fitting, to allow you to move freely. Its primary aim is functionality. Activewear clothes are clothes that serve the purpose of an active life mixed with a casual social life.

Athleisure was born out of compromise. It lies at the intersection of activewear and traditional sportswear that was meant as recreational wear designed for daytime or leisure activity but later adapted for more formal occasions.

When celebrities and influencers from supermodels to singing sensations, took activewear from the gym to the streets of London, Los Angeles, and New York. Yoga pants became the staple of every college and working girl’s wardrobe, transitioning into casual wear.

Related post: The manufacturing challenges in sportswear manufacturing (video)

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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