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Sustainable Sportswear on the Rise at the Designer Menswear Collections


This month we turn our attention to menswear as the year kicks off with London Fashion Week Men’s, followed by Milan and Paris respectively. According to data from the world’s leading market intelligence agency, Mintel, the menswear market is predicted to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2022 to reach £17.1 billion. (Mintel, 2018). This growing sector is laden with fabric innovation and practical trends that are often debuted on the designer catwalks. In particular elements of sportswear and athleisure that gained momentum over the past decade continue to grow and filter through to the High Street.

Styling trends aside, brand sustainability has made its way to the forefront over the last year or so with British based designers such as Bethany Williams, Astrid Andersen and Christopher Raeburn leading the way with their sustainable approach to materials and the production process.

“I think as a designer you have an obligation to consider what you are doing and why; ultimately, we want to make strong, sustainable choices that provide our customers with a completely unique and desirable product.” – Christopher Raeburn

Today’s sportswear has come a long way from the sweaty polyester tracksuits of the 1970’s, incorporating performance and sustainability along with current styling details designers can now present customers the whole package. Starting from the sourcing stage, more brands are looking for eco-friendly alternatives to put into their products. Botanic fibers – raw materials sourced from wood, have become particularly popular among sportswear and menswear brands.  

TENCEL™ Active cellulosic fibers, for example, can keep the body cool and dry, submicroscopic canals between the microscopic fibrils of cellulose fibers regulate the absorption and release of moisture, giving the wearer the freedom to move with confidence. Additionally when used in the right fabric design, botanic fibers can offer a quick drying effect through efficient moisture absorption, spreading, and buffering, resulting in enhanced breathability and thermal comfort.

TENCEL™ clothing

Derived from renewable wood sources using sustainable production processes, the TENCEL™ brand is a family of fibers well suited for sporting activities. In addition to high performance sportswear, the qualities of TENCEL™ branded Lyocell and Modal fibers make them suitable for the growing athleisure sector – designed for general wear and moderate exercise.

In 2019 fashion designer Christie Orlando collaborated with Lenzing to launch the TREE-CLIMATE collection for activewear, as a response to changing consumer demands on sustainability, functionality and aesthetics. The collection consists of design pieces ranging from sweaters and jerseys to jackets and undergarments.

Christie comments: “These consumers have very strong opinions about all aspects of their clothes from the way the fabric feels against their skin, to the minute details that enable the clothes to fit and move well, to the rich colours and thoughtful touches that make a garment visually appealing.”

TENCEL™ branded lyocell fibers are key to making the TREE-CLIMATE fabrics super soft, supple, skin-friendly, dyeable, and resilient. In addition, the botanic fibers bring naturally inherent performance benefits like moisture management and thermal regulation.

TENCEL™ activewear

Inspired by the designer collections: including big brand Prada and their recent announcement to meet key targets around the sustainability of their products and operations, to emerging talent Bethany Williams and her committed vision of a brand centred on eco-practices and supporting social enterprises, FashionCapital takes a look at the key menswear trends influenced by sports / activewear for 2020:

Conscious apparel in the sportswear sector (and the fashion industry as a whole) now plays a dominant role within today’s collections. A number of brands and designers are already answering the call for more conscious apparel, and this along with innovative high performance materials with low environmental impact, will no doubt ensure further growth within this evolving market.

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