Play Fair

Sportswear Brands That Are On The Move

By Natalie Drenth


Over the past five years the sportswear market has seen a surge in growth, with the U.S. sportswear market generating sales of about $108.14 billion in 2017. Sportswear’s winning performance is expected to continue and be boosted by strong demand from younger cohorts. The sector’s growth has arguably benefitted from trends like athleisure, wellness and a changing work culture where health and wellbeing is becoming a greater priority. These trends have encouraged consumers to make sportswear a staple part of their wardrobe, which according to Mintel, has prompted 69% of people to pay more for longer-lasting sportswear


Sustainable sportswear brands have the opportunity to capture consumer sentiment, and prove that buying sustainably will deliver a superior quality product over traditional sportswear brands. Plus, with an increasing trend for sportswear brands to apply cause marketing, sustainable brands can show consumers that a conscious purchase will provide them with the same feel-good reaction that larger brands aim to generate.

Sports bras like Pepper & Mayne’s Mélange tech-jersey sports bra are made with quick drying fabric and minimal seams making it a comfortable fit with real support, made from a fully traceable supply chain and has been designed to be super durable. Rêve en Vert, a.k.a the green Net-a-Porter, may not be a sportswear brand but they do have a host of items such as the Linda Tee, that are made from organic pima cotton sourced from Peru - super breathable and perfect for those sweaty workout sessions! The T-shirt also comes in white, black, lavender and camel so you can easily find a shade that compliments the rest of your workout wardrobe. 

Leggings are a key sportswear item and in the US imports of women’s elastic knit pants last year surpassed those of jeans for the first time ever. Traditionally leggings have been favoured by yogis but designs have become a lot more advanced since the late 90’s, when brands like Lululemon first emerged. One brand who is nailing the more eco-friendly legging is Yoga Democracy who make their designs from 95% recycled fibers. Manduka Leggings provides another option for leggings that seamlessly transition into daywear using recycled polyester, organic cotton and other plant based materials for their designs to create durable and ethically sourced products. 

When buying a top for sport it doesn’t always have to be a high performance design. In fact, it is arguably greener to wear something that you can wear casually too, like this Babe Universe Organic Tee, which uses GOTS certified organic cotton and water-based silk screening printing solutions. While T-shirts are not known for being the greenest product, these T-shirts are made in wind-powered factory in Northern India. In this region, monsoon season is the norm, which means the cotton used to make her T-shirts require very little extra water to be produced.

While finding a brand that is 100% sustainable is a still a challenge, there are brands working towards more ethical and greener supply chains so you can chill out, meditate and down-ward dog without worry.

Photography by Natalie Drenth