We caught up with Pablo Al-Kaalik an ex-player now actor/producer in London to discuss how sportswear fashion has evolved into this multi billion dollar industry with a projected figure of $231.7 billion in the next 5 years.
Sportswear is turning into a highly popular style statement and fashion trend. Market research has provided data regarding the role that sports and fitness clothing plays in the apparel and footwear industry. Both sports-inspired footwear and apparel is growing at a rapid pace, registering 10% and 6% growth respectively. In addition to emerging markets and core markets such as the US are also producing significant sports-inspired growth, despite its reputation as a performance-orientated market.
The market is expected to more than double by 2020 to reach $184 billion, from $78 billion in 2016. The next 5 years will see the market grow to its projected figure.
What’s your first memory of wearing sneakers off the pitch?
“You mean when did I first start to care how clean my sneakers were? Well that has to be middle school when I got my Air Jordan’s. I literally spent tip toeing around not to scuff them and stopping every second to clean the most minor dirt off. Was an absolute nightmare because I wanted to play but not wreck them”
When did you notice sportswear to transition?
“I guess it was when the term smart casual started to include no collars and also a lot of sneaker brands began to launch shoe versions. Fashion houses like Balenciaga joined this trend with their “Arena” shoe which was one of my favourites along with Italian-American Jon Buscemi and Christian Louboutin ranges. They weren’t your conventional sports look. It was good because you could go to a bar/club or restaurant and still respect smart casual. Obviously some places still maintain a strict policy but I feel that was the turning point plus you could sneak in not wearing shoes!”
Are you surprised how big the industry has grown?
“Yeah definitely because traditionally you wouldn’t associate sportswear outside of sports as much. A lot of people wear sports casual outfits which could be a outfits but they might not necessarily be a sporty person. The involvement of large fashion houses such and Fendi and Givenchy with others has really boosted the industry, so you can dress sporty and still make a fashion statement. Today it’s not really sportswear it’s everyday wear. This is the perfect medium to be comfortable and look good”.
Which sport do you think is responsible for this growth?
“I don’t think any one sport can’t claim success because it’s a combination really of where sports meets fashion. Large sports brands have launched and pushed new or retro ranges such as Adidas Originals or Puma Classics. We saw the return of a lot of old brands which many thought were obsolete who made a return or brands like New Balance who targeted a different audience and made stronger presence by sponsoring teams like Liverpool FC. So it’s sports on a whole”.
Can you see industry reaching $231.7 Billion before 2024?
“Yes absolutely. Our lifestyle has definitely evolved. The average persons perception is more active today than 10 years ago and we are more conscious of our health then ever before. We research and read literally everything instantly online and make decisions to adjust our lifestyle more or less immediately. Gyms they are popping up everywhere due to demand and healthy eateries on ever corner not to forget even burger joints are listing calorie counts or offering healthier alternatives. The sportswear industry will reach it sooner because today we’re a more aware and health conscious society”.
Where do you get your wardrobe inspiration from?
“That’s a good question and a tricky one too. In recent years a lot of hip-hop music artist such as Kanye West, Drake and Pharrell Williams have entered the sportswear fashion industry. They have really opened the market to a wider audience with their collections. I like what Kanye brings as its diverse. I kind of mix and match from different collections. It really depends on the day. At the minute I’m wearing Lululemon yoga wear crossed with Nike vest and a pair Kanye West YEEZY 350 Boost”.