Today, sportswear has become more of a style statement than just being merely associated with sports. Gone are the days when sportswear was meant only for running or exercise purposes. It has gradually entered the mainstream fashion world. One can be seen wearing shirts with shorts, T-shirts with skirts, and loose attires like jackets, pullovers and sweatshirts. This has had a great impact on the fashion industry,  so that now, sporty almost rhymes with stylish.

No longer do we see boys wearing dull colours. Bright colours are in vogue and colours like orange and red are in obsession. Girls can be seen wearing loose, sporty t-shirts, and adjectives like “Sporty” has become a synonym for stylish and fit. In the last few decades, sportswear in India has managed to bring about a social and cultural change. These days, men can be seen wearing sports shoes with office formals at work. 

Sportswear arrived in India in the 90s when fashion industry started to flourish. It would be wrong to say that people were less fashion conscious in the past. The leading brands like Bata, Sreeleathers and Action had already captured the market in India. While Action’s innovative light-up shoes were popular among kids in the 90s. These brands still continue to dominate small towns and rural areas.

With the advent of brands like Reebok, Adidas, Nike and Puma, the Indian sportswear markets began to look different. These brands not only brought new designs and techniques but also brought a wide range of fabrics and colours which were at that time only available abroad. From shoes to apparels, these labels made a mark and eventually influenced the Indian customers by offering unmatched variety in their collections. From trousers to shoes, from head bands to wrist bands, fitness kits have made people health conscious and stylish from head to toe. This has resulted in exercise and other sporting activities becoming enjoyable and more fashionable.

These brands created sportswear according to modern trends. The long -standing quality and great performance of products gave an impetus to these brands and promised large longevity and authenticity to its growing customers.

These brands promise to cater the needs of the athletes and others alike. With high fashion labels growing in the market, every two or three month new arrivals are there to woo customers. Every brand comes up with something unique to stir up the competition. Offering everything from proper athletic sportswear to lifestyle sportswear, one thing is for sure; these brands have captured the minds of the customers. Despite being expensive and not very pocket-friendly to many, they have continued to rule the market.

Girls and boys are nowadays more into buying sportswear as they are highly active in dancing, zumba and fitness exercises.

About the popularity of their collection, Kamla Nagar’s store manager of Adidas says, “Our collection is always in demand. From shoes to apparels, college boys and girls are always keen to buy our products as it’s stylish and comfortable. Our shoes are as popular as our apparels.” 

According to Puma’s store manager in the same vicinity, people are more into fitness now. He says, “We offer wide varieties of collections be it shoes, apparels or bags. Everything is fashionable here. Our collection is expensive but we offer guaranteed benefits and we have good exchange policies. Greater purchasing is done by men as they are more active in gym and exercise. Earlier people were not very serious about fitness, people used to run in slippers but now it is not the same anymore. Also, metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and big cities have large customer base but when it comes to smaller cities, Bata, Action and Campus shoes still continue to be popular. There are local brands who offer products at low cost but they don’t last long. Therefore, our brand is known for our long lasting quality.”  

Reebok’s store manager says, “Reebok always focuses on fitness perspective. We launch shoes where one is comfortable doing running and cardio both. We focus on more fitness and less on style and technologically we try to make shoes which are more leg friendly and hurt less to your feet. Our purpose is to launch such products which actually solve your fitness segments rather focusing only on style statement. Also, girls are nowadays more into buying sportswear as they are highly active now in dancing, zumba and fitness exercises.”

Sportswear has spread throughout the world representing not only sports and fitness but also fashion and clothing. These sportswear giants have attracted global attention from highly fashionable wears to casual attires making it trendy, stylish and emerging as an important part of the fashion industry.

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