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Exclusive: Tommy Hilfiger on the Athleisure phenomenon

All-American designer and style icon says Instagram and the “casualisation” of life are the reason we love sports wear these days

The next generation wants designs that fit their active, on-the-go lifestyle, and there are no longer strict dress codes for work, play and everything in between ~ Tommy Hilfiger.

There is arguably no fashion authority better placed to assess the ongoing athleisure wear phenomenon than Tommy Hilfiger. The man who, in the late ‘60s set out with $150 in his back pocket to forge a fashion label and branch of that reflected his own sense of attitude and lifestyle, can be seen as a precursor for the modern Millennial generation.

With an emphasis on comfort and a particular street style, since 1985 Hilfiger’s lines have always sought to strike a happy medium between well-dressed and practical: which sounds an awful lot like the current crop of 20-somethings who are seeking to do away with stuffy office attire and replace it with a more relaxed sartorial approach that you used to find exclusively at gyms and yoga classes.

The all-American fashion designer spoke to Debonair about the trend that continues to shape collections and wardrobes across the globe.

“I feel that there has been a casualization of life over the past few years,” the 67-year-old fashion designer said, “with the athleisure category considered cool for almost all occasions.

“The rise of social media platforms like Instagram has really opened up the world of celebrity street style. Seeing pop culture icons wearing “off duty” sporty outfits has sparked a new wave of athleisure wear inspiration for consumers worldwide,” he said.

The next generation wants designs that fit their active, on-the-go lifestyle, and there are no longer strict dress codes for work, play and everything in between ~ Tommy Hilfiger.

A cursory flick through the recent collections released by most of fashion’s front-runners shows sneakers paired with smart attire, tennis shorts and jumpers worn for the office and the ever-present cotton track-pant material cropping up more and more.

And while the leading fashion houses continue to shape and mould the look of the world, there’s little doubt that the demand for active-leisure wear is continuing unabated, which Hilfiger says is inevitably reflected in their lines.

relax your look

Sunspel

Track Pant Grey Melange
AED 364.00

Koio

Primo Flamma
AED 1,400.00

Timothy Everest

Navy Lightweight Bomber
AED 1,400.00

Hook LDN

Juke suns blue
AED 699.00

“There is an element of ‘everyday active’ in the way we approach our collections today. The next generation wants designs that fit their active, on-the-go lifestyle, and there are no longer strict dress codes for work, play and everything in between,” he says.

Indeed the desire for a one-outfit-suits-all environments is another driver behind the plethora of sports wear that is ever-present in high-end luxury labels today. And with offices now looking more like nursery crèches or playgrounds with space hoppers for chairs and bar stools for tables, the athleisure movement shows no signs of slowing.

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