Web Japan > Trends in Japan > Fashion > Sportswear Is a Fashion Winner

Sportswear Is a Fashion Winner

Functional, Stylish Sports Clothing Gains Fans


Stylish, colorful golf attire. (C)VIVA HEART/GRIP INTERNATIONAL Co., Ltd.

Enlarge photo

Sportswear that is both functional and fashionable is the latest beneficiary of the long-running health boom and the increase in the number of Japanese people participating in sports. New designs and colors abound, and the range of uses for this apparel is growing. Recent offerings are tailored to the preferences of people who put a premium not just on playing well but looking good, too.

Fashionable on the GreenIn a bid to stay fit and healthy, a growing number of people have taken up yoga, golf, running, mountaineering, and other sports, and this growth is changing the contours of the world of sportswear. Golf apparel, which has long been dominated by basic designs and colors, is a prime example. The emergence of such talented young Japanese professional golfers as Ishikawa Ryo and Ueda Momoko has drawn attention not only to the players themselves but also to what they wear. And this in turn has spurred the creation of golf clothing and accessories with more fashionable designs. Items in a range of colors and designs have been marketed, and outfits that would have previously not qualified as golf wear, such as cute yet functional knitted dresses and tiered skirts with frills, are now available.


An outfit featuring a running skirt. (C)ASICS Corp.

Enlarge photo

Running is another sport on the rise. The Tokyo Marathon, an annual event first run in 2007, ignited interest in running and paved the way for special features on running wear by fashion magazines. The growing number of models and other celebrities who run to stay in shape has further powered the trend. Today, jogging routes around the Imperial Palace and public parks in Tokyo are dotted with runners during lunchtimes and evenings.

Running skirts, in particular, are a hot item. The skirts are commonly worn over ankle-length tights and other leggings and are ideal for women who think that tights are too revealing or want look slimmer.

Even rugged outdoor sports like mountain climbing have gained new enthusiasts. Once popular mainly among men, climbing is now catching on among young women; and cute hiking apparel is selling well as a result. Colorful items, such as blousons, trekking skirts, and leggings, as well as functional and fashionable outfits are finding a new place in the sport.

In a similar vein, the range of designer-quality yoga and cycling wear available is also growing.


Mountain climbing in a cute skirt. (C)Yuri Yosumi/"Respect Nature"

Enlarge photo

Double-Duty ClothingThe trend for combining the sporty and the chic started in around 2000, when designer Mihara Yasuhiro began collaborating with Puma to create sportswear and shoes. Most recently, in September 2009, fashion designer Takizawa Naoki launched a brand of sportswear dubbed “naoki.”

The sporty look is expected to remain popular. Young men and women are increasingly incorporating sporty elements in their outfits, such as vividly colored parkas and sneakers, boxy trekking shoes, and backpacks. At the same time, a growing number of people are using sportswear as everyday clothing. Golf wear that can also be worn around town, yoga apparel that can be worn around the house, and other double-duty items are increasingly common. And given their practicality, they are likely to become a fixture of many people's wardrobes. (December 2009)

Page Top

Related Articles