Curious Trends

09/08/2012

Niche brands win: Sports inspired clothing and accessories

Sports inspired fashions have been given a bolster by the Olympics, but how do designers ensure that their collections will withstand the test of time? With major sportswear brands spending big money on ongoing product development, the sports clothing and accessories industry is constantly evolving, so new entrants to the market need to have a curiously unique selling point…


A collaboration between From Somewhere, the award winning sustainable fashion label and Speedo, the world’s leading swimwear brand, has lead to the ‘From Somewhere with Speedo’ collections, a series of creative art and design projects commissioned by Speedo. Garments are recycled from unsold stock, such as surplus pieces of the revolutionary Speedo LZR Racer suit and other obsolescent Speedo designs. The pieces combine fashionably eco-friendly style with a highly individual look that is very 'of the moment.'

In the rapidly changing sports shoe market, Czech shoe manufacturer Botas managed to survive thanks to orders from Puma. Later, when the German company moved production to Asia, Botas specialised in skates, ski boots and shoes for skydiving. The Botas name retained especially high brand awareness in Czechoslovakia, with the design ranking among the Top 100 icons of Czech creativity, along with Cubist chairs.

The revival of this1970s cult sports trainer brand is a lesson in strongly individual branding. A famous and formerly popular product was successfully remodelled to appeal to young people, whilst maintaining its nostalgia value with older purchasers: This was made possible when two students working on a school project approached the company, offering to rejuvenate its legendary trainers. Botas gave the young designers a free hand to change the shoes' appearance, packaging and sales methods. The designers created a stylish shoebox, added extra laces in alternate colours, cloth badges with the Botas logo and a poster depicting the whole collection. The shoes stand out as having totally individual styling, whilst retaining their functional style.

During the Olympics, prominent sports brands have used national flags to enhance the local appeal of their clothing and accessories. Rather than simply embellishing their designs with national flags, Flag Rags has gone one better and turned the whole garment into a flag (see above and above top).

California Christiana Republic’s jumpsuits mix sporty retro styling with a lifestyle ethos - based on the open society of Freetown Christiania (an artist enclave in Copenhagen) combined with laid-back Californian style.

Talin Designs’ WaterBottle is a uniquely designed jogging water bottle that doubles up as funky armwear. The bracelet comes in a range of fashionable colours and can hold up to 500 ml of water. .. Niche brands win some of the time - and sometimes it's a case of ‘suck it and see.’


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