Are We Generation Tracksuit?

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In times like these, when the Juicy Couture tracksuit makes its way into museums, the word athleisure is listed in dictionaries and I am wearing glitter sneakers to the coolest disco in town, I am wondering: will we be later known as the tracksuit-generation?

For sure, they have not left track and field just now. Back in the 70s, the hip-hop group Run-D.M.C. were the first to connect Hip-Hop and sneaker culture and made tracksuits and Adidas superstars wearable in public. In the late 1990s, the tracksuit experienced a revival, because musicians like Jay-Z and Sporty Spice hardly wore anything but the said two-piece, which was followed by the invention of the aforementioned Juicy Couture piece.

Furthermore, we’ve all been wearing sneakers forever and who can honestly say for himself to have never worn a cap?

All this is nothing new but what’s actually a little worrying these days (and what I denied last week) is something else: for the first time, wearing sportswear in public is not a thing of the “people” anymore, but rather its opposite. In Chanel’s FW14 collection, we saw a tweed tracksuit, holographic trainers and many things more that obviously carried an athletic ethos. And Celine’s Phoebe Philo taught us to love chic sneakers, Birkenstocks, Adilettes and track pants. Chloe’s SS16 collection includes side-striped track trousers and a matching top whereas Gucci’s revolutionary Alessandro Michele impressed with a vivid, flower-embroidered outfit that looked like a tracksuit but had the elegance of a silk pajama. It doesn’t stop there, though. Earlier relatively unknown brands like Cottweiler and Caitlin Price have made their names partly because they offered the right thing (tracksuit-inspired) at the right time (now). Jenna Young from This Is The Uniform goes as far as to celebrate her working class roots and make them into something beautiful of high-end value. Sportswear has conquered the fashion world and I like it!

It’s funny though, how these days I consider it beautiful when I still remember how the prediction of functional textiles in the future high fashion world literally made me shiver 15 years ago. I mean, have you ever seen a sci-fi film in which the cast was not dressed in super functional, tight fitting out-of-space garments? Probably not.

Also, this made me realize something else: contrary to the widespread belief that since 2000, we’ve only been rolling up old eras, I think that fashion is actually on its way to strike a whole new path. In that sense: do we have to give in and realize that fashion is no longer dictated by a higher power but by the mass? Do lasting trends nowadays come from the “people”, are picked up by visionary designers and only then are realized by the fashion world?



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