Explore these Singapore brands that are taking the athleisure trend to new heights

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.

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1. Butter

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.

2. Kydra

In 2017, Singaporeans Jimmy Poh and Dingyao Wong, who were then studying in the UK, discovered a gap in the athleisure market for men.

“We felt that our gym attire did very little to complement our lifestyles on the go. Gyms were already transitioning to key cards instead of providing keys for gym lockers, and widescreen phones were replacing mini iPods we used to carry around,” the 29-year-old Poh shares.

This realisation resulted in homegrown athleisure brand Kydra.“Men’s activewear styles were not keeping up with these tech changes. For example, we had workout shorts with pockets that were way too shallow or openings that were too tiny.” This inspired the duo to launch their first product, the 2-in-1 Flex Shorts, created as part of a university project that was marketed and funded via US crowdfunding website Indiegogo. The rest, as they say, is history.

While the brand is predominantly online, it also holds physical pop-ups to understand its customers’ wants and needs, in terms of functionality and style. Kydra’s products are built with elements to flatter the Asian physique, for instance, 7/8 length leggings, and feature cool Kyro and supportive Kora fabrics suited for Singapore’s tropical climate. The brand marks its fifth anniversary next year and has witnessed increases in sales revenue with each new collection.“As athletes, we’ve always loved sports and wanted to inspire like-minded Singaporeans to explore the healthy and active lifestyle that we enjoy so much,” Poh says. Kydra also launched a new women’s collection in October 2021 and aims to expand further into other parts of Southeast Asia soon.

Read more: 9 Workout Essentials You Must Have In Your Gym Bag

3. GlowCo

When founder Nawal Alhaddad spotted a niche in the market for Muslim women who couldn’t find sports-appropriate dry-fit clothing, she decided to launch a modest activewear line GlowCo in 2018. Three years later, and the company has grown to include a catalogue of products from multiple brands that typically target this category of women.

Blending modesty and functionality, consumers can look forward to shopping for sports hijabs, as well as sports tops, swimwear and bottoms that make them feel secure while not exposing too much.

Quality is key in GlowCo’s exclusive projects too. Tops typically sport a mesh-tech fabric that ensures maximum breathability to keep the body cool, and which covers the arms. Similar to its sports hijabs—which are breathable, stretch-friendly and quick-drying—these tops ensure that modest women feel their best to maximise their workouts. The brand’s newly launched leggings with a back-zip pocket made of a material that’s highly elastic and equipped with moisture-wicking technology.

4. YeoMama Batik

Batik and activewear might seem like odd bedfellows, but YeoMama Batik proves that they make for a stylish match. The local brand is best known for its modern batik wear, using unique and authentic handmade materials sourced from Indonesia. The label joined the athleisure trend in 2019, with a series of colourful, digitally printed sportswear featuring its signature batik motifs.

“As someone who works out a lot, I thought I should [create] a batik activewear line so I can be on brand all the time,” Desleen Yeo, founder of YeoMama Batik, shares. “We released the first activewear collection in 2019 but it wasn’t a good time as we were swamped with YeoMama Batik [orders] and didn’t have the capacity to market the activewear line properly. We relaunched during the Circuit Breaker period last year and the response has been great.”

In October, YeoMama Batik released a pink batik activewear collection, launched in collaboration with the Breast Cancer Foundation.


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