Sport everywhere, and from every angle? Absolutely, and even the highest. As evidenced by the “fashion week” of autumn these days, from Milan to Paris. The creators are no longer content to make athletes climb their podiums to parade. They offer real “sportswear” collections, like Hugo Boss collaborating with the American brand Russell Athletic, to whom we owe the invention of the sweatshirt in the 1930s, or Louis Vuitton and its partnership since 2020. with the NBA, the American basketball championship.
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Even the tracksuit, considered old-fashioned until the 1990s, has made a place for itself in the sun of trends. As a result, in a depressed textile market, sportswear appears to be in great shape. “A dynamism that we have been measuring for ten years, with a 26% increase in turnover over the decade, says Hélène Janicaud, fashion specialist at the research and consulting firm Kantar. On the whole of the French distribution, the market reached 4.5 billion euros in 2019. It necessarily weakened with the pandemic, but it suffers significantly less than the rest of the sector. “ These figures relate to all textiles,from hoodie to cap, except shoes.
More jogging than jeans
In recent months, the market has even started up with great enthusiasm. “Over the first eight months of this year, we are on a rebound of 17% compared to 2020, and 6% compared to 2019, yet a record year”, applauds Virgile Caillet, the general delegate of Union Sport & Cycle, which brings together 1,400 companies in the sports sector. The reasons for the success? The continual increase in practitioners automatically leads to an increase in sales. “The confinements have also accentuated the phenomenon, as evidenced by the triumph of maintenance sports, yoga, fitness, running”, resumes Virgile Caillet.
Beyond that, it is obviously the clothing aspect for everyday life, the “lifestyle” side as the specialists joke, which is really driving growth. “Today, more jogging clothes are sold than jeans or any other pants on the men’s market”, assures Hélène Janicaud. In the latest Union Sport & Cycle survey on the subject at the end of 2018, 54% of French people said they wear sportswear on a daily basis.
And the wave can only swell if we are to believe Patrick Daniels, recent creator of the Aerth brand, spent during his career by the brands Reebok, Levis, Esprit and Aigle: “The development of teleworking, at the same time as a quest for well-being linked to the refocusing on oneself observed during the pandemic, goes in the direction of a search for comfortable and cozy clothes. Not to mention the influence of urban cultures, more and more evident. “
Vigilant clientele on environmental issues
Undoubtedly, the young generation carries the sector. Maxime Marchal, co-founder in 2015 of the Coureur du dimanche brand, observes this in the requests of his customers: “Of course, sportswear for practice remains essential, but customers are increasingly praising the lifestyle side. It is our generation, between 25 and 35 years old, that has been swimming in it since childhood and pushing in this direction. We are certainly asked to use the tricolor and the striped sweater, but also to dare more original, more unstructured and urban patterns. “
As a result, many new companies are pointing their noses at a sector still largely dominated by the distribution giants (Intersport, Decathlon, Sport 2000) and the flagship brands (Nike, Adidas, Puma). With the ambition to shake up the eternal flashy models, or those too strictly marked by the culture of the street. “We are trying to reach a sporty esthete, who is looking for more chic and refined sportswear”, positions itself for example Patrick Daniels. Which also notes the new concerns of a vigilant clientele on issues of social and environmental responsibility.
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A motivation behind the Sunday Runner, which “Wanted something other than clothes from the other side of the world”, emphasizes Maxime Marchal. Everything is suddenly made in the Lyon region, with more and more organic products. “The Covid has accelerated awareness to consume it locally and responsibly. We have tripled our sales during the period ”, supports the young entrepreneur. Beautiful fixed then. And Virgile Caillet to add more in the future in pink: “If the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024 allow the country to take a step forward by finally becoming a sporting nation, then the prospects are bright. “
The increasingly trendy football jersey
Lionel Messi’s number 30 at PSG? Club executives are banking on more than one million jersey sales this season worldwide. Football jerseys which, more and more, do not put on only to show their support in the stands. “We buy them and we also put them in everyday life, notes Virgile Caillet, general manager of Union sport & cycle. 14% of French people wear them. So of course, it’s mostly young boys under 25. But equipment manufacturers are making more and more efforts to appeal to a wider audience. “ This is evidenced by the diversification attempted with the so-called “prematch” jerseys worn by players in training. More creative than traditional swimsuits, with more daring prints, they have met with real success.