While fashion retail has been woefully impacted by the pandemic, there has been one silver lining: the rise and rise of athleisure. It’s a segment that has proven to be pandemic-proof, thriving in a landscape where we are moving towards a hybrid work-from-home culture. According to a study by US-based market research database Million Insights Inc, the global athleisure market was valued at US$300 billion in 2018, and is projected to grow to US$517.5 billion by 2025.
The fastest-growing market has been earmarked as Asia Pacific, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 per cent forecast from 2019 to 2025, mostly attributed to rising demand from emerging markets such as India and China. Singapore forms a large part of the trend, too. Interestingly, there’s a brewing athleisure scene here, with a number of homegrown brands getting in on the action. They’re built not just with aesthetics in mind (a very important consideration, of course), but are also focused on using new materials that ensure comfort, convenience and functionality, and are built for the Asian customer.
Here, we highlight Singapore athleisure brands that bring out the best in design and form.
Homegrown athleisure brand Butter may have been launched only in October 2020 but it is quickly gaining a stream of fans who appreciate its signature chic, pastel-hued matching sets. In fact, these buttery-soft sets are tailored for an Asian fit and are comfortable enough (as its name suggests) to be worn for various activities—from intense workouts to basic aerobic exercises.
The brand’s co-founders Tiffany Chng and Olivia Yiong, both 27, created the label during the initial Covid-19 outbreak last year as they wanted to offer affordable activewear options catered to urbanites. The brand’s focus on quality can be seen through the fabrics it uses; they don’t go out of shape even after repeated wear. Since the brand’s launch, it has released four collections and hit six figures in revenue earlier this year.
Chng says, “One of the most memorable feedback [we received] was from an instructor who bought only from a certain well-known Canadian brand, and didn’t like biker shorts in general. She said our biker shorts were the best she’d ever tried and didn’t ride up even after doing two classes. For us, being able to convert a fan who was loyal to only one brand was a personal milestone.”Butter, which is only available online, will be launching its new Foundations collection in classic colours, and two new products, before the end of 2021.