“Lululemon gear is my favorite athleisure wear because, for starters, its as comfortable as can be. They are presentable and are fitted, so I can still look professional as a fitness professional. The 5 Year Basic Tee is one of my favorites because its super comfortable, but also a fitted t-shirt. It’s stretchy, so it hugs your body just right, and if it feels too tight, you can stretch it out a little before putting it on, and it will fit great.”
The precursors of true sportswear emerged in New York before the Second World War. Clare Potter and Claire McCardell were among the first American designers in the 1930s to gain name recognition through their innovative clothing designs, which Martin described as demonstrating "problem-solving ingenuity and realistic lifestyle applications". Garments were designed to be easy-to-wear and comfortable, using practical fabrics such as denim, cotton, and jersey. McCardell in particular has been described as America's greatest sportswear designer. Her simple, practical clothes suited the relaxed American dress code, neither formal nor informal, that became established during the 1930s and 1940s. McCardell once proclaimed: "I belong to a mass production country where any of us, all of us, deserve the right to good fashion." Martin credits the 1930s and 40s sportswear designers with freeing American fashion from the need to copy Paris couture. Where Paris fashion was traditionally imposed onto the customer regardless of her wishes, American sportswear was democratic, widely available, and encouraged self-expression. The early sportswear designers proved that the creation of original ready-to-wear fashion could be a legitimate design art which responded stylishly to utilitarian requirements.
“I’m extremely picky when it comes to performance gear. It all comes down to comfort for me. I prefer the tighter, slim fit, which is why I’m currently digging Outdoor Voice’s Sunday Shorts. They are the perfect length, extremely comfortable, and not ‘poofy’ on my legs, which is key for me—I have a tough time finding shorts that don’t flare out at the sides due to the pockets. I also love how versatile they are— I’ll wear them during a high intensity workout at my gym, but also while I’m waking my dog or going to the grocery store.
During the 1970s, Lauren, Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis became particularly known for their sportswear designs, made in all-natural fibres such as wool, combed cotton, and linen, which placed them at the top tier of American fashion design alongside the Anne Klein label (designed by Donna Karan and Louis Dell'Olio). Newsweek in 1975 described Calvin Klein as having styled his clean, casual separates with the authority of a couture designer, and by 1985, Martin described him as "one of the great American stylists" with a solid international reputation and worldwide influence entirely based on his skills as a sportswear designer. The industry empires of Lauren and Calvin Klein would be joined in the mid-1980s by Donna Karan's own-name label and Tommy Hilfiger, each of whom created distinctive wardrobes for the American woman based upon stylish but wearable, comfortable and interchangeable multi-purpose clothes that combined practicability with luxury. These clothes were also designed to have a long, stylish and undated life, rather than to only be fashionable for one season. In 1976, the designer Zoran brought out the first of a number of collections of extremely simple garments made of the finest quality fabrics; garments that barely changed over the years and which became cult objects to his wealthy clientele. In 1993, the fashion journalist Suzy Menkes declared Zoran's less-is-more sportswear prophetic of the early 1990s modernist trend, whilst Zoran stated that the work of Calvin Klein, Karan, and the Anne Klein label epitomised the "comfort, simplicity, and practicality" associated with sportswear. Most early 21st century sportswear design follows in the footsteps of these designers. Other notable sportswear designers of the late 20th century include Norma Kamali, whose 1980s fashionable garments made from sweatshirt fabric were highly influential; Marc Jacobs, whose eponymous label renowned for layered informality in both day and evening wear was founded in 1986, and Isaac Mizrahi, who presented his first collection in 1987.
As more generic, versatile sportswear became more prominent in the Paris collections, the press increasingly promoted the wearing of such garments in an everyday context. By the mid-1920s, American advertisers also began actively pushing the idea that sporty clothing was just as appropriate for regular daywear as it was for active pursuits, presenting it as the epitome of modernity and the American ideal. One advertisement put out by Abercrombie & Fitch in Vogue in 1929 suggested that while men might admire a girl in an glamorous evening gown, they would be less intimidated by her approachable, friendly appearance in good-quality sportswear. Sportswear was also presented as an accessible version of resort wear, a term for the luxurious travelling clothing and holiday wear worn by those who could afford a leisurely lifestyle with multiple vacations, such as cruises, yachting, and skiing. Affordable, well-designed all-American sportswear was presented as a way of enabling a less wealthy customer to feel part of that same lifestyle. However, at first, American apparel firms mostly copied French styles.
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“Having boxed my whole life and being involved in the culture, I love what roots of Fight is doing. While being comfortable and stylish, they pay tribute to the fighters who helped build the sport and paved the way for fighters like Floyd Mayweather and any up and coming fighters. My favorite is the Mike Tyson sweatshirt that says Brooklyn on it, because that’s where I’m from.”