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SS23: Activewear

Working out is all about bringing joy and about improving our health. Both of those elements are crucial for consumers moving towards SS23. For activewear, broadening the boundaries of identity, sizing and gender is a key factor when it comes to the current liberation of constraints and the simultaneous empowerment of individuals. With this renewed appreciation of the body, the category that is build on form-fitting, unrestrictive and comfortable products experiences a strong boost with growth potentials. While the body is moving into the center, the way that we approach our health is becoming more mindful. We begin to slow down and consider growth at a natural pace rather than quick fixes, in unison with nature and ourselves. The sustainable focus is manifested within innovative and recycled materials that improve our impact on nature.

A hybrid category: Athluxe

As the lines between performance and RTW are blurring, the activewear category smartens up to create a more premium look. New products are suitable far beyond the gym. Such hybrid qualities are intensified for SS23. Through soft tones and elevated fabrications a feeling of luxe is established, while bold prints and juicy colors can create an energetic look for daytimes. Leggings, bralettes and bodysuits are crucial trends from the last RTW shows and manifest this transition to more cross-category styles. Further, designers interest in bodycon silhouettes and high-performance jersey shows the increased turn towards active styles within daywear ranges. A current taste for retro leisure aesthetics similary embraces this intense fusion of preppy and sportswear to offer products that covert openly sporty styles into a fashion setting.

Brands to watch

Aesthetic Trends

Natural Safari

The growing consumer desire for real experiences and more time spent outdoors is triggering nature-bound safari themes across the activewear segment. The desire to explore our planet, from animals to botanics, combined with a more conscious and sustainability-focused consumer mindset, results in a well-balanced performance story. Based on a green color harmony and updated animal prints, the concepts allows consumers to assimilate to nature and transfer elements of its beauty onto their own body.

Y2K Essentials

The Y2K mania is maintaining its pulsating momentum for SS23. The millennial era itself was strongly influenced by activewear. Consequently, iconic styles of the period are returning: low rise sweatpants, velvet tracksuit combinations and sporty halter tops. The sassy look seems more important for daywear, than on the treadmill. Fashion-forward consumers are certainly looking for this iconic look within SS23 assortments.

Sensual Dominance

Driven by the trend for seductive nineties impulses across the RTW segment, activewear is adapting some of its elements for SS23. The aesthetic grounds on a novel sense of female empowerment that makes use of its captivating play with desires. As the past runways have shown an increased taste for dominatrix themes and the idea of sexiness and body-liberation are trending across social media platforms, the daring trend has begun to gain commercial potentials. Designers are now showing that sports are sexy too. With cut-outs, transparent mesh, dark and indulgent palettes and cut-lines that support the female silhouette, a more than powerful woman is showing up at the sports center. Bodysuits are staple, as well as cut-out sports bras and sctrappy details.

Collective Connection

Consumers are questioning their understanding of home and establish a more unified sense of belonging rather than connecting themselves to specific places. Their new concept of community grounds on a deeper understanding of nature. Consumers have understood that we need to be protecting our environment to continue benefiting from its healing properties. This conscious design aesthetic is reflected in sedimental inspirations for prints and colors, soft handles and garments that are adaptable for activities like yoga that improve not only our physical and mental health, but our connection to each other and the planet.

Romantic Dreamer

SS23 is driven by a sense for femininity. Women are celebrating themselves and the things that embody their female qualities. Consequently, romanticism is experiencing an upheaval. Soft and nuanced designs are adding a naive sense of romance to the activewear category and support its hybrid position between RTW and performance. Volant details, ditsy floral designs and pastel palettes are essential for the dreamy look.

Metaverse Racer

Much of the unleashed sense of creativity for the upcoming SS23 season takes the new possibilities of the metaverse into account. The virtual concept encourages the use of collaborations that are now offered by the digital landscape. Virtual sports, connected garments and smart textiles are all part of this stream of future innovation. In terms of design, otherworldly shine and color blocking trims let us escape into new spheres. Panelled elements are crucial for a racy and futuristic look, while buckles and drawstrings enhance the active feel.

Retro Leisure

The retro leisure look is in high demand. The idea of perfectly-cut golf court grass and clean-white tennis skirts is adding a sense of preppiness and touch of upper-class to the activewear category. With polo-collars, contrasting stripes and sleek knife-pleats, the elegant sportswear look is reminiscent of resort sports and country clubs. Consumers are strongly attached to this style, as interests in upper class TV series are rising.

Psychedelic Fun

The concept for mood-altering psychedelia takes over from RTW and provides a sense-inducing and unapologetic approach to design. With vibrant colors and materials, a refreshing and punchy frame is generated. Color and pattern clashes intensify this feeling even more. Kinetic designs and evocative color-choices lift the mood and help to create an energetic tone for the next work-out.

Body Liberation

The female body is currently explored through a new lens. More and more uniqueness is valued and individuality of body shapes is appreciated. The new approach to skin and shape is met with second-skin dressing in its most inclusive form, based on a nude palette. Creative knits that follow the form are fused with layering and cut-outs to accentuate specific parts of the female body. For fashionable consumers, creative cut-outs are a must, while soft and commercial ways might include subtle references to underwear and soft form-following rib knits.


The Bodysuit

Credits: @twenty, @p.e.nation, @shopweworewhat, @aloyoga, Fendi x Skims

The Bralette Set

Credits: @loveshackfancy, @aloyoga, @lurvactive, @shopweworewhat, @stonefoxactive

The Sporty Corset

Credits: @bysamiiryan, Dion Lee, NBxStaud, @ernestleroy, @joahbrown

The Laced-Up Waist

Credits: @fpmovement, @beachriot, @p.e.nation, @yearofours, @joahbrown


Credits: @aloyoga, @mandalayogawear, @portdebras, @contrologyactive, Free People Movement

The Cut-Out Sportsbra

Credits: @forloveandlemons, @enavatactive, @theiconicsport, @enavatactive, @reformation

The V-Cut Legging

Credits: @stonefoxactive, @yearofours, @weworewhatshop, @theiconicsport, @yearofours

The Perforated Leggings

Credits: @fpmovement, @fpmovement, @lurvactive, Zara, Wolford

The Soft Sweater

Credits: @monrow, @the.upside, @torysport, @stonefoxactive, @toliyoga

The Extra Light Windbreaker

Credits: @stellamccartney, Prada, Paul Smith, @fpmovement, Isabel Marant

Beyond-the-gym attire

As seen above, there are some leading aesthetic trends shaping the activewear environment at the moment. From smart retro leisure and futuristic designs to more dreamy romance or psychedelic looks, the activewear segment is getting a RTW makeover. The body focus also integrates some lingerie elements into the sportswear segment. With barrettes, bustiers, bodies and nude or mesh designs, the celebration of female bodies is captured in activewear as well. Nature and the outdoors are still relevant design influences for the category as well and display in safari-themed and calm earthy designs.

For must-haves, a focus is put on more creative detailing for SS23. From lacing, perforation and gathers on leggings and tops, to v-shaped waistbands and cut-out sportsbras, active products are taken to the next level now. While these pieces feel more dressy than before, they maintain their liberate ease. Windbreakers and sweaters feel lighter than ever and capture the overall lightness of the season. Lifted from restraints and pressures  SS23 will be manifesting a liberated feel across all categories and as performance clothes are aimed at boosting our vitality and well-being they seamlessly add products to ease-up consumer’s daily lives.

Make sure to check the Trendfeed for all the Information on RTW Trends, which are going to be useful to further inspire the more fashion-driven activewear styles of SS23.

22 November 2021