Krista Corrigan

November 24, 2020

Cult activewear brands deconstructed

We identify which brands in the activewear market have developed a cult following, what trends they're pushing and how they communicate to their followers.

Home fitness remains a strong segment for retailers to pay attention to as demand for workout clothing continues to skyrocket, contributing to the ever-growing activewear market.

We identify activewear brands that have developed a cult following with their customer base, what trends they’re pushing and how they communicate to their loyal followers.

Reach out for a demo today to learn more about the activewear market and how retail data can help.

Successful product trends


A twist on the classic loungewear staple, sleeveless hoodies have performed well at the likes of Gymshark. Graphics and slogans feature well here. These can also be reworked into layering stories by pairing a casual lightweight jacket over the top.

Shorts are getting shorter. From TikTok features to celebrity backing, fitness style has had a considerable influence in showing off legs. Look to push tie-dye, sporty stripes and relaxed fits moving into Spring 2021.

Grey lounge sets have been trending across arrivals in recent weeks and are a top color for sweats. Looking at products arriving from September 1st that also had a first majority sell out, grey was the second most popular choice behind black at 13% of products.

With the rise in popularity of these labels comes the desire to show it off. Noted at Gymshark and Alo Yoga, oversized logos and branding are an easy way to establish brand recognition.


There are several ways to incorporate feminine details into activewear, from crop tops with a knot at the front or back to ballet-inspired ties on leggings. In the name of bringing sexy back, consider elevating simple silhouettes with these simple additions.

Co-ord sets have been on trend for a while in womenswear, so thinking outside the box for ways to update this is crucial. Alo Yoga had success with a puff-sleeved hoodie and biker shorts set. Reboot the velour tracksuit for another matching alternative.

Activewear is one category where color, whether all over or sporadic pops, is embraced. Positive pinks have trickled into womenswear sell outs, particularly bolder shades, and should be incorporated for SS21.

Boxy fits and cropped lengths have been moving well across tops thanks to the rise of boyfriend dressing. With more genderless collections and unisex products gaining traction, this trend is sure to continue into next year.

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Up & coming brands

Year of Ours

This female-owned and operated brand out of LA is making big waves in the activewear industry. Inspired by American sportswear, aesthetics favor sporty 90s influences and retro nods. The brand also recently launched its Home Collection, a range of cozy loungewear.

Ernest Leoty

Minimalist in design, this Parisian activewear label produces its products in Europe and prioritizes clean lines, corset silhouettes and feminine details. The hero product for the brand is its Ilona bodysuit priced at £165. Meanwhile, leggings range from £55 – £130.

Ten Thousand

Simplicity is in the brand’s DNA. Its total offering includes seven tops and four bottoms, alongside baselayer and accessories. They also have a “Build Your Kit” option. Created for the dedicated workout enthusiast, products are tested by a team of 200 athletes.

Western Rise

With hiking on the up and up, this menswear label caters to the adventurer and sells everything from performance to everyday wear. Versatility is infused into each piece and designed for maximum efficiency. Best-selling items from the brand include a cotton tee, stretch pant and merino wool pullover.

Girlfriend Collective

This brand was created on the grounds of sustainability and transparency, and creating a sense of community among its consumers is a priority. The label is also size-inclusive, stocking sizes XXS – 6XL, and features women of all shapes and sizes on its Instagram page.


The Australian label focuses on fashionable sportswear with premium quality and elevated price points – it is also sold in Europe and the US. Offering an array of colorful prints and playful designs, this brand puts living a happy and healthy lifestyle at the fore of its communications.

How are cult brands winning on social?

Live reviews by actual wearers

Available in sizes 0-20, Lululemon employed its own customers to give honest reviews on six popular styles, with live try-ons and videos. This is a great way for the consumer to digest feedback and see how it looks on.

Virtual workouts

While this may be nothing new since the start of quarantine, offering your customer easy ways to switch up workouts is a quick way to build your fan base. Lululemon even created a virtual half marathon for its followers.

Community engagement

Carbon38 asked its audience for their favorite quick workout. Questions like this create a safe haven for those looking to share and receive ideas. Consider concepts like a book club for additional ways to engage.

Alo Moves

The yoga brand created its very own at-home workout subscription, with thousands of classes available for a cool $20/month. Filters allow the user to customize the difficulty level and intensity of the video.

Relatable celebrity partnerships

Including comedian Kevin Hart (Fabletics), NBA players (Lululemon) and Katie Couric (Athleta), these brands are looking to people in the public eye outside of traditional models to wear and promote their clothing.


The wellness consumer cares about the environment and ethical practices. If this initiative is in your values, be sure to communicate and be transparent with steps your brand is taking to bring this to the fore.

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Fall’s favorite colors

Fabrics in focus

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