As activewear becomes more common in the workplace, fiber-maker INVISTA has unveiled a showcase collection from emerging designers eager to explore the fashion potential of outdoor wear. Using the latest consumer insights, and with help from fashion tech startup Manufacture New York (MNY), INVISTA's showcase collection combines new designs with fabric and fiber innovations including T400® technology by LYCRA® brand and LYCRA® SPORT fiber.
In the last year, INVISTA has surveyed more than 1,000 consumers of active and outdoor apparel to understand their needs and desires. The research showed that both men and women would pay more for added benefits such as quick-drying capabilities. The study also concluded that lifestyle considerations – such as going from the gym to the workplace to the bar – were fueling these buying trends. More than 40 percent of men want better fit ("I like outdoor clothing that I can also easily wear around the city day-to-day without looking or feeling out of place," said a male consumer), while upwards of 70 percent of surveyed women wear their black workout leggings when hanging out.
"There's been a sizeable shift in corporate culture recently, with active and outdoor wear being embraced by busy millennial professionals," explained Heather Stefani, INVISTA's global segment director, active and outdoor. "We're excited to be in the thick of this changing mindset because companies are starting to understand the need for commuter wear and to accept it as part of the working lifestyle."
Stefani says that a real turning point has been the merging of technologies, such as INVISTA's T400® and COOLMAX® technologies. Conveniently, these fibers add just the right amount of stretch and freedom of movement needed for biking and hiking, providing a foundation for casual business wear.
To help bring this showcase collection to life, INVISTA worked with fashion tech startup MNY, which is dedicated to providing independent fashion designers with the resources and skills to streamline their process, from concept to customer. As an innovation hub, MNY is also helping to guide the design and production of the next generation of wearable technology.
MNY CEO Bob Bland says the resulting activewear collection is a true merging of fashion and function. "We're very excited to partner with INVISTA because we see this as a real opportunity to innovate," she notes. "The challenge for our designers was to incorporate INVISTA's breakthrough fabrics and fibers into designs that could live just as comfortably in an outdoor setting as a conference room."
Said Stefani, "Essentially, we're pairing cutting-edge designers with cutting-edge fabrics. And since the workplace is changing, with commuter wear assuming a more prominent position in the workplace, we have a chance to help shape the future of athleisure."