Quo vadis:

Overdose! –
How much function does sports apparel need?

Presentation at Performance Days Show
Munich/Germany, November 21, 2013

Sports apparel has deeply changed within the last two decades. The image of sports today is stamped by challenging the limits and producing lots of adrenaline and thrill.

No wonder that sports apparel and accessories resemble an armor – the sports apparel industry concentrates on offering ever more protective and functional garments. The innovation of these garments derives mainly from material innovation and new technologies in manufacturing

But what about the design and the look? Pragmatic and functional with clean lines.
The optimization of fabrics and manufacturing seems to have created a new norm for sports clothing which follows rather the idea of designing by numbers than designing according to people´s needs and wishes. Emotion is out, numbers are in.

Of course there are the high-performers who are in search of the ultimate thrill and extreme experiences even at the risk of their own lives – but their number remains small. About 40% to 50% of the people in most of the classic industrialized countries perform sports regularly. A closer look to statistics shows that running, gymnastics, swimming and cycling are the preferred sports.

Therefore it is high time for the sports apparel industry to re-think the further development of sports clothing. At the core the development of sports garments has to consider functional, aesthetic & socio-cultural dimensions. Marketing, technology and design have to join forces to come up with contemporary and diverse clothing for societies which split up in more and more different tribes and communities.

A lot of consumers in the classic industrialized countries feel neglected by the sports apparel industry: Women miss a more fashionable approach and a good fit. The elder generations

still keep waiting for nice garments with a good cut. Urban commuters are in search for functional fashion which can easily be adapted to the needs of their individual way of life.

All these groups expect appropriate function in functional clothing, but they want added value – an appealing and fashionable look, a good fit, nice colours … and … and …
Do they ask too much?

Consumer behaviour is changing faster than ever – what about changes in the
sports apparel industry? There is a profound expertise in this industry for functional clothing – why not use this advantage to develop fashionable function – the new sportswear of the 21st century?

Let´s challenge the current notions of functionality & sports!

You want to know to know more? Please don´t hesitate to contact me!
Get your individually shaped interpretation and consulting in the field of sports apparel.

Nora Kuehner
fashion   design   consulting