Many of the first sportswear designers were women, including McCardell, Potter, Elizabeth Hawes, Emily Wilkens, Tina Leser, and Vera Maxwell. A common argument was that female designers projected their personal values into this new style.[10] One of the few male designers at this time was Tom Brigance, who by the late 1930s was regularly ranked alongside Potter as a leading name in mid-range priced sportswear.[20] Like Potter, Brigance understood how to design smart and fashionable clothing for mass-production, which made his clothes attractive to manufacturers as well as to customers.[20] Two other notable male designers of sportswear at this time were Sydney Wragge and John Weitz.[21]
You might be more familiar with No Bull’s pricey lifting shoes, but did you know they make apparel, too? The brand identifies its target consumer as one who trains hard and doesn't have time for excuses, insisting that its gear will show up if you do, but it can’t show up for you. The clothes are everything you need to workout, and nothing you don’t.
Alongside Dorothy Shaver, Eleanor Lambert was an important promoter of the American Look and sportswear. As founder of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and creator of New York Fashion Week, Lambert is considered the first fashion publicist.[28][29] In the summer of 1940, Lambert was hired by the Dress Institute to promote American fashion, leading to newspaper and magazine articles about how New York was replacing Paris as a global fashion leader.[29] In 1940, both Harper's Bazaar and Vogue published issues devoted to American fashion.[24][30]
In the 1950s and 1960s, designers continued to develop the theme of affordable, practical and innovative sportswear, producing clothing that focused on wearability rather than fashion fads, including Anne Fogarty's coat-and-dress sets and dresses made with removable waistcoats to alter their look.[34][35][36] The film costume designer Bonnie Cashin, who started producing ready-to-wear clothing in 1949, is considered one of the most influential American sportswear designers.[22] She was known for her extremely practical layered ensembles inspired by ethnographic garments and textiles such as the Japanese kimono and happi, ikats, and the South American poncho.[22][37][38] Her designs incorporated leather bindings, pockets with purse clasps, hooded jersey dresses and tops, and industrial zippers and fastenings.[22][38] She put a brass clip resembling those used on dog leashes, on a long formal skirt so that it could be securely hitched up to enable the wearer to run up and down stairs,[38] and her ponchoes and hoods (which could be rolled down to form elegant cowl-collars) were originally designed for driving on cool mornings.[22] Cashin became one of the first American designers to have an international reputation.[22] Alongside Cashin, Rudi Gernreich emerged in the 1950s as a key name in sportswear design, first becoming known for his swimsuits, but then expanding into geometrically cut, graphic clothes and knitwear that Kirkland described as the epitome of the "new California."[22]
Many of the first sportswear designers were women, including McCardell, Potter, Elizabeth Hawes, Emily Wilkens, Tina Leser, and Vera Maxwell. A common argument was that female designers projected their personal values into this new style.[10] One of the few male designers at this time was Tom Brigance, who by the late 1930s was regularly ranked alongside Potter as a leading name in mid-range priced sportswear.[20] Like Potter, Brigance understood how to design smart and fashionable clothing for mass-production, which made his clothes attractive to manufacturers as well as to customers.[20] Two other notable male designers of sportswear at this time were Sydney Wragge and John Weitz.[21]
The curator Richard Martin put on an exhibition on sportswear in 1985 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in which he described sportswear as "an American invention, an American industry, and an American expression of style."[4] For Martin, American sportswear was an expression of various predominantly middle-class aspects of American culture, including health ideals, the concept of democracy, ideas of comfort and function, and innovative design which might refer to historical concepts or leisure attributes.[4] The establishment of a five-day working week and an eight-hour working day in America in the mid-20th century led to the need for clothing which enabled the fullest possible enjoyment of such increased leisure time, and was designed accordingly.[4] A subsequent exhibition of 1930s-70s sportswear, also curated by Martin, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1998, was introduced by Philippe de Montebello as showing pioneering garments, whose modesty, comparative simplicity, and wearability treated fashion as a "pragmatic art."[5] de Montebello carefully explained how significant American designers such as Norman Norell, Pauline Trigère, Charles James and Mainbocher, were not considered sportswear designers, as they were not dedicated to the design principles of versatility, accessibility and affordability in the way that Claire McCardell or Emily Wilkens were.[5]

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