Fashion Focus: The history and influence of sports in the fashion world

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The history and influence of sports in the fashion world

If you are keen on chic clothing and know something of sporting activities, you will not be surprised to learn just how much influence sports and sports attire have had on the world of mainstream fashion – both designer labels and off the rack gear. Often, a specific style will have its origins in the world of sport, but then you will find it at your local department store or see it worn by a model in a fashion magazine. Look carefully at some of the styles you see around you and you will soon realize that the shoes and clothing styles that were designed to be of functional use for sports activities have been turned into fashionable staples for everyone.

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Popular influences

Originally designed for players who used the basketball or tennis court, for running or other athletic purposes, sneakers are now a part of everyone’s normal shoe collection, particularly those who favor urban street style. Basketball jerseys are another example. First worn by players, then by fans, both basketball jersey styles and the most popular colors and numbers have since been adopted by fashionconscious consumers. T-shirts and skirts developed to meet the needs of women tennis players, by keeping them cool and offering them freedom of movement, have also inspired mainstream fashion designs.

Baseball caps trend

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History suggests that the Brooklyn Excelsiors wore the first rounded-top baseball caps in 1860, which then became known as the Brooklynstyle cap. In common with most sports-influenced design ideas, specific features were intended to improve athletic performance or provide better protection. In the case of the baseball cap, the peak was intended to protect players’ eyes. Baseball caps, like sneakers, remain a popular fashion item for young people.

Karlie Kloss is a High Energy Enigma in the Vogue Paris March 2012

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The same trends apply to winter sports activities – brands that were introduced for snowboarders and skiing enthusiasts were quickly taken up by celebrities and thus became a high-impact influence. With the increasing popularity of sports clothing and footwear, many sponsors of sport saw an opportunity to broaden their reach, and today many items carry a firm logo or brand colors, including jerseys, shoes, T-shirts and baseball caps.

The Edita Vilkeviciute Vogue Paris Editorial is Genuinely Sporty

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New trends

Today’s sportswear is highly sophisticated and designed to enhance athletic performance. It is interesting to note that sponsorship has also moved on. For example, it is not unusual to find that a designer brand that sponsors female athletes is interested in producing garments such as a women’s elbow sleeve, knee sleeve or compression band, which are not always seen by consumers. Perhaps the philosophy is that if the item of clothing is both comfortable and practicable, and valued initially by athletes, then it will move into mainstream consciousness given time.
Alla Kostromichova Stars in Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam July 2014 Editorial

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Next time you are at a sporting event, take a look around at what the audience is wearing – as well as the players. They may just hold the key to upcoming fashion trends, and if you pay attention you could be lucky enough to get ahead of the game!

Flare ‘Most Valuable Players’ Stars a Blue-Haired Bekah Jenkins

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