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Style bug bites India's sportswear market

New Delhi, Sep 11, 2013 (IANS) 19:52 IST
File image: For representational purpose
Thinking of hitting the gym in your worn out t-shirt and a pair of old pants? Rethink, as you may end up looking like a total misfit amid the flurry of fashion and fitness conscious people who are grabbing chic and stylish clothes and accessories to make a statement and stand out in the crowd.

Neons and vibrant colours have especially brightened up the sportswear segment in the country, and given the association of varied designers with sporswear brands, the trend only seems to be on the upswing.

Globally, sportswear has a major influence on fashion because of the popularity of sports among youth, says Adidas India brand director Tushar Goculdas.

"We are seeing this phenomenon in India as well and there is a growing visibility of youth sporting their favourite football or basketball jersey at pubs, bars and parties," Goculdas told IANS.

Adidas Originals, the iconic sports-inspired streetwear brand, has launched new collections which have eccentric design elements fused in. American designer Jeremy Scott adds his expertise of using fun colours and interesting designs to jazz up the brand's offerings.

Puma, another global sports lifestyle brand, has tried to add the fashion punch to its collection by incorporating the much-loved animal prints into their latest autumn-winter line. The prints can be seen as graphics in apparel, accessories, wind jacket and slipstream footwear for men, while for the women, a wide range of shoes, track pants and hoodies adorn the style statement from the 1960s.

Overall, some trends that are catching the fancy in the fitnesswear range are bright colours, especially in footwear. Also, the use of gold, silver, red and yellow in terms of colour is very visible, while some brands are using a bit of glitter too.

Among garments, football and basketball jerseys and sports-inspired track-tops are rapidly growing. Colour blocking is growing stronger as a trend along with fabric blocking too.

Ankita Mehendiratta, a young college-goer, says wearing jazzy colours to the gym makes her feel confident and happy, while for computer engineer Abhay Gulati, it is all about the "feel good" factor. And such youngsters are readily splurging thousands of rupees to create a holistic workout wardrobe.

Several brands have tried to leverage on this growing demand by tying up with established designers to create ranges that are sporty and yet spell fashion loud and clear.

Designer Aniket Satam has created a collection titled Energies for sportswear brand Attiva.

"Sports and being fit are more like a lifestyle statement today," he said.

"Clashing of such garments for multi-purpose functionality is a common styling scenario.

The line between utility-driven garment categories like fitness, yoga, pilates, leisure, lounging and casual wear are slowly blurring as people are getting more multifunctional and busy juggling many activities in their ever-busy 24-hour schedule," Satam said.

Therefore, he said, "the role of a well-designed smart set of casual designs like track suits easily pass through as travel wear, cruise wear or simply smart casuals or semi-formal dressing".

"Designs like zipper jumpers, tank tops, crop tops and track suits are silhouettes, which are in vogue and basically derived from active wear innovation," Satam added.

Manish Arora was amongst the first few designers to launch a sportswear-inspired line, Fish Fry, in association with Reebok.

Last year Adidas signed a five-year strategic partnership with Delhi-based fashion designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil to launch the S&N Adidas line for Adidas Style Essentials.

The fitness frenzy catching up among the young and old alike; so is the demand for such garments.

Now, when we talk about glamour and style, can Bollywood's fashion aficianados be left behind? Some trendsetters from the Hindi film world have also played their part in opening up the market for funky sportswear.

Actresses like Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta and Shipa Shetty have propelled fashion in the fitness world via their exercise DVD series, yoga books and health-based shows. These fit and fabulous divas look so perfectly svelte that several girls aim to emulate their style while working out in real life.

Satam pointed out how many sportswear labels are signing popular faces from Bollywood to endorse and promote their new lines for more visibility and commercial success.

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