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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“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).[22] 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.[4] 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.[2] These clothes were also designed to have a long, stylish and undated life, rather than to only be fashionable for one season.[4] 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.[41] 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.[41] Most early 21st century sportswear design follows in the footsteps of these designers.[2] Other notable sportswear designers of the late 20th century include Norma Kamali, whose 1980s fashionable garments made from sweatshirt fabric were highly influential;[4][22] 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.[2]
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“Outdoor Voices shorts are just the right length—gotta love split shorts to show off those running legs—and have all the pockets you ever need when you're out on a run. I can hold my MetroCard, cash, keys and gels without the shorts falling down. The brief liner is also super comfortable even when things get sweaty. The Merino Longsleeve T-Shirt is great for those colder mornings and later nights to keep you warm, but it’s also still breathable and wicks away moisture.”
In the 21st century, Italian fashion remains a leading source for sportswear design outside the United States. Narciso Rodriguez, who is known for streamlined and pared down clothing, launched in Milan in 1997, but moved to New York in 2001.[2] Miuccia Prada revived the fortunes of her family company Prada with her top-quality sportswear designs in the 1990s, and continues designing for the firm.[47]

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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.”
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