One of the nation’s largest footwear/apparel fashion trade shows, Magic Vegas, takes place this week (Tuesday-Thursday, February 16-18), and thanks to the athleisure trend, there is plenty of active lifestyle product on display.
By David Clucas and Jahla Seppanen
Familiar industry brands such as Timberland, Fjallraven, Woolrich, Skechers, Merrell and Keen will show up at this year’s Magic, in a nod to the fusion of style in outdoor. Even hook & bullet brand Realtree is an exhibitor as it expands its more trendy lifestyle offerings.
But at Magic, our tribe is undoubtably outnumbered by sport- and outdoor-inspired fashion and boutique brands, like Nux, Splits59, Alo Yoga, Koral Activewear, TrinaTurk, Vimmia and Strut-This. Although these brands may not ring any bells to outdoorists, they should be recognized. More and more, style brands are unlocking the active lifestyle market, crowding the space and upping the competition for consumer eyes and dollars.
But let’s look on the bright side. Within these style first, athletic second brands lies some great inspiration of design and materials that flows back-and-forth between active lifestyle performance pieces and urban-inspired looks. They say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and at Magic, it’s a two-way street between the industries.
Beyond the product, there’s a full event-and-seminar schedule, including SportOneSource Business Development and Market Insights VP Neil Schwartz taking part in Wednesday morning’s (8:30-9:30 a.m. – February 17) lead seminar “What’s a Normal Fall? Planning for Fall 2016.”
If you can’t make the show, here’s a wrap-up of which trends caught fire for the coming 2016-17 seasons.
Active Lifestyle Trends
Show organizers at Magic identified a number of leading trends for next season and we noted that sports-inspired looks stood out as one of the most dominant fads across all categories and genders:
Sports Luxe was named a top women’s contemporary apparel theme. Magic officials said, “Utility and function turn modern and minimalist through the use of pure, soft and padded fabrics. As well as offering a comfortable yet protective framework, tailoring and sportswear are also fused together for a soft, cozy approach to athleisure style.” Within this category, naturalistic colors like Midnight Blue, Winter Wine, Salmon Pink and Herb Green, were identified as Fall 16/17 staples.
Men’s fall accessories saw the reoccurrence of Street Sport, where “functional meets the fantastical,” in an all-over look that highlights sports utility via materials. Organizers noted, “Performance materials are brought to the street as the lines between leisure and activewear become blurred.”
The puffy jacket remains a signature tip of the hat to the outdoors world it took a podium place in men’s contemporary apparel as one of the season’s leading style stories – Street Sharp. “Suits are worn with stand-out quilted puffer jackets, and sports stripes adorn tracksuits, shirts, and sweats,” said the show’s trend experts. Another jacket-inspired theme led the men’s transitional trends with the demand for outerwear that is both functional and rugged in nature. Enter the Utility Coat, also referenced as the Explorer Coat. “Thick, cozy shearling linings and trim are key, as are multiple utility pockets, coated winter cottons, quilted surfaces, and industrial details that make a statement.”
Gym-fueled apparel catches attention as Gym Sophisticate is listed as one of four spring/summer trends in menswear. “In the seasons ahead, activewear becomes more intuitive to our daily lifestyles, transitioning to a seamless essential that pushes him forward to being a better man, both inside and out. He personifies the modern mentality of health.” A key piece exemplifying the Gym Sophisticate trend is the Performance Suit… and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a tailored suit inspired by a track suit (or maybe the other way around). “Techno materials like nylon and neoprene lead the way, and quirky details like baseball jacket construction for the sleeves, cuffs and waist look young and classy at once. Elastic waists for the pants, zippered sports cuffs on the jacket, and a techno overlay with lustrous performance fabrics placed on top of cool cotton poplin or tropical wool.
Apparel aside, athletic inspiration was just as prominent in Magic’s footwear projections, with Retro Athletic, Future Sport, and Element Protection all throwing back to the sports and outdoor industries.
Retro Athletic resurrects the classic Nike sneaker, adding luxury suede and color pops to a retro silhouette.
Future Sport also plays on the sneaker silhouette but leans toward the future instead of the past. “Sport silhouettes get futuristic in stripped-down silhouettes and neutral tones. Soft padding and protective nano-coatings offer protection and luxurious functionality.”
And much like the Utility Coat theme in men’s apparel, utility takes a fashionable step, directing the trend in men’s footwear (although we see it in women’s as well). Organizers said, “Elemental Protection combines function and form through a deft combination of protective materials, simple styling, and a rugged palette inspired by the outdoors. Footwear balances premium weatherproofed protection with sleek and simple designs.”
Active Lifestyle Looks
Like any trade show, a visual intake of new product speak miles to its trends and provide inspiration for future designs. Here’s how the fashion folks are tackling our industry:
Photos courtesy Magic and Brands