Go The Distance
REMEMBER THE DAYS when workout clothes were workout clothes only? Everyone had a drawer-full: apparel that worked, literally and figuratively, only in the gym. Clothes that made one feel, frankly, a little out of place anywhere else.
Those days are gone. Now, people want to be able to zip from the gym to the store to the coffee shop without having to change—and this need is filled by more fashionable sports apparel, which has the dual advantage of wicking away sweat and still being presentable no matter how hard gym enthusiasts hit the speed bag. Yes, the sweat-soaked T-shirt look has been blessedly allowed to retire.
“It’s definitely athletic wear, but it’s also casual wear as well. It can be part of people’s lifestyle,” described Nicole Britt, the national account executive for Los Angeles-based ALO. Indeed, because the new breed of fashion-friendly workout clothes expands far beyond the gym, promotional opportunities with athletic clothing have never been better.
Style with staying power
“In the past 10 years, exercise apparel has become a staple in people’s wardrobes for a several reasons,” said Margaret Crow, director of marketing at S & S Activewear, based in Bolingbrook, Ill., which offers ALO, Badger and Augusta Sportswear. “First, more people are working out and joining health clubs than ever. Business travelers now rely on workout facilities in their hotels (and often need to grab something from the hotel gift shop for their workout). And probably most important, workout clothes are now made to go straight from errands to the gym.”
As a result, Crow stated for the promotional apparel industry, workout gear fits perfectly into promotional programs at gyms, health clubs, schools, camps and resorts.
Michael Topliss, vice president of Burnaby, British Columbia-based ID Wear, recognized the shift toward more lifestyle-driven products. “Over the years we have been investing more into athletic wear, because it is not only fashion-forward, but provides performance product features,” he explained. “We provide a look that goes beyond corporate basics.”