While the designer Charles Frederick Worth is credited with working with stretch fabric as early as the mid- to late 1800s, it was not until designers began to marry textile development and clothing performance that this specialized area of design exploded. In 1912 swimming became an Olympic discipline, and clothing that enhanced rather than restricted movement was required. Activewear began in earnest when the health-promoting aspects of sports generated the need for appropriate clothing, especially for women. Swimming and tennis were the first women's sports to be addressed, and pants were added as a sports undergarment. Coco Chanel was the couture pioneer of this category, with the creation of her leisure suit made from lightweight jersey. In 1927, designer Elsa Schiaparelli opened her first salon, Stupidir le Sport, and in 1931 designed a divided skirt for tennis player Lili de Alvarez that shocked the staid tennis crowd at Wimbledon. Claire McCardell (1940s) and Rudi Gernreich (1960s) linked true activewear to sportswear dressing. The DuPont Company worked with designer Giorgio Di Sant'Angelo from the 1960s to 1990s to develop stretch silk and Lycra-enhanced fabrications. In the 1970s, the fitness look was in and fashionistas began wearing activewear, even those who never planned to "break a sweat." In 1993, Ralph Lauren opened his Polo Sport boutique in New York City. Active sport companies were quick to see this market potential, and firms such as The North Face became household names. By 2000, high-performance textiles and designs made this the fastest growing market, especially with youth culture's interest in extreme sports such as BMX racing and skateboarding. Designers such as Donna Karan, Marc Jacobs, Prada, and Hermès became recognized names from sneakers to sweatshirts. The activewear clothing category now includes office attire, where performance, comfort, and flexibility are key elements.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • activewear — noun Date: 1978 sportswear …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • activewear — /ak tiv wair / n. sportswear (def. 1). Also, active wear. [ACTIVE + WEAR] * * * …   Universalium

  • activewear — noun casual clothing that is comfortable to wear when exercising or partaking in sport; sportswear …   Wiktionary

  • activewear — active·wear …   English syllables

  • activewear — ac′tive•wear or ac′tive wear n. cvb clo sportswear 1) • Etymology: 1980–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • activewear — /ˈæktɪvwɛə/ (say aktivwair) noun clothing suitable to be worn while playing sport, exercising, etc …   Australian English dictionary

  • activewear — noun attire worn for sport or for casual wear • Syn: ↑sportswear, ↑athletic wear • Hypernyms: ↑attire, ↑garb, ↑dress • Hyponyms: ↑gym suit, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Activewear designer —    A designer who specializes in designing clothes that relate to active sports such as aerobics, exercising, cycling, yoga, horseback riding, jogging, skateboarding, tennis, swimming, and surfing. Activewear designers might also specialize in… …   Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

  • Gildan Activewear — Inc. Rechtsform Aktiengesellschaft (Kanada) ISIN CA3759161035 Gründung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gildan Activewear — Infobox Company name = Gildan Activewear Inc. type = Public genre = foundation = founder = location city = Montreal, Quebec location country = Canada location = locations = area served = key people = Glenn J. Chamandy industry = Textile Apparel… …   Wikipedia

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