The very first thing I do in the morning is look out of the window wistfully to check the weather is suitable for my morning run...
That at least, is the belief I am trying to sell you.
I'd love to pretend that I'm not secretly praying for rain so that I can spend another 30 mins in bed... Despite my insistence that my morning routine is not complete without some form of physical activity. But you see -I've already been sold that idea myself, along with the belief that spending all day in my sweats is perfectly acceptable.
We should all embrace a lifestyle dedicated to health and fitness, they insist. Because reach back only 60 years ago or so and it didn't even really exist yet alone be deemed as acceptable. In fact sports for woman in general was not really an everyday thing until at least the 1970’s when Jane Fonda and the other leotard clad fitness gurus appeared. Oh we were so deprived back then...
Fast forward to modern day of course and we are greeted with a new wave of enthusiasm for the industry; the marketing campaigners hell bent on promoting exercise as the fashionable method of figure control and empowering women by encouraging us to aim for a fashionably slim but toned body, embracing what we already have and what we had in the 70's.
Luckily the fitness industry no longer has so much to do to coax us girlies off our little un-toned bottoms and into breaking a sweat because we are already there; making healthy lifestyle choices and waiting in our gym gear eagerly to attain our body bliss ideology.
But as we slip on our joggers, yoga top and fashionable trainers and bounce towards the door on our way to the office (that's right office, not gym) convinced that we haven't a clue what this new 'Athleisure' thang is all about, all the while bombarded with daily inspiration quotes like 'skinny is the new strong' and tag lines such as 'fit is the new beautiful'; we forget the subconscious impact this, marketing has had and not even realizing that sportswear has gradually crept into our everyday lives.
So far this whole 'Athleisure' trend doesn't seem to be a bad discovery and neither are the motivational quotes that boost it... It's just contagious.
All of a sudden it's completely normal to wear sportswear garments everywhere and phrases such as "après sport" or "gym-to-the-office" gradually earn their place along side 'Pret-a-Porter' and 'Avant-Garde'.
Ok so wearing yoga pants in the office? This I hadn't prepared myself for and I definitely didn't go out last Saturday night in my trainers (eep!) it's a good thing that the offerings are as feminine and elegant as the come because otherwise I don't know how we would quite get away with it!
But at least my initial fear of the shell suit returning has subsided and it is only my imagination that appears to be running wild, along with my legs.
The change is all down to the modern day attitude and the overwhelming focus on looking good in yourself everyday.
We start to realize it's not just a fashion trend but also the new way of life and that we cannot simply rely on style anymore. Because even when the garments aren't particularly functional they still prove popular. In many cases proving they are not technically 'sports' garments at all... they just have the outlook.
People only need to appear healthy; wearing their priorities along with their hearts on their sleeve. Screaming 'Hey look at me, I'm going to the gym, I care about my body' -whilst they twizzle around on the office chair.
And we surely have an exciting future ahead as previous years statistics show year on year growth as sportswear rockets!
Of course, the trade shows have prepared themselves accordingly; Moda Lingerie & Swimwear announces is dedication by launching a new trend area dedicated to ‘athleisure’ with a fantastic response from industry buyers who have reacted with enthusiasm; having dubbed the new launch as 'a reflection of the contemporary consumer demographic seeking apparel for active lifestyles and wellness'.
Many brands show record successes, pushing the industry forward and showing no signs of slowing down; Anita active being clear winners of the industry last year showing us that plus size in sportswear was certainly a gap in the market (aren't we all gutted we missed the boat on that one!). Sportswear is also newly becoming an interest to even small boutique owners that now seem to be expanding their offerings and taking the risk.
With all of this it seems that SS17 is the year to be investing in sports and I see the trends going in two main directions...
SEX APPEAL -combining both sports & lingerie via black leather effects, zips & chains for a bedroom look and fabrics with erotic intentions. Whilst lamination and hot fix are not as strong in development for other luxury items they are clear runners in sports.
NATURAL -soft yoga styles for comfortable everyday looks using ecologically sourced fabrics and bringing a casual ambience. Back to basics construction via a return to cut and sew methods and generally moving away from moulded cups and strong padding.
Whichever side of the coin, overall It has to be visually attractive as well as functional and it has to make a statement.
The statement that we care about our fitness levels and that we want to appear physical as well as just attractive.
But that's not only it... because now you cannot simply rely on style; It is in fact YOUR body that does the hard work... The garment is just the paint on the walls of the temple.
But no worries If you're not quite ready to get on the treadmill yet. Here's a little love from V.O.E attached -to help improve our physical attractiveness...
Your body is the temple so your clothing should just paint the walls. Yet let's not bypass all the fun! Experimental styles show there's more to sportswear than the expected, leaving the gym as it scores a place on our streets. Athletics is a lifestyle choice and becomes part of our whole life, even our leisure time; because image is as important as your wellbeing.
Inspiration A mix of sports and loungewear with added allure. Regardless of practicality and beyond aesthetics it aims to sell an overall message.
Colours Black on black forms gradients. Leatherette creates fluidity. Gold & Shimmer adds glamour; whilst skin tones brings us back to earth.
Fabrics Leather & Glisenette effects for a bedroom look combat suitable eco fabrics designed to be natural. Sheer mesh adhere's to both roles.
Brands Start ups get a kick start & promising future. Celebrity endorsed & designer labels expand ranges. Success rockets for existing key players.
“You're beautiful the way you are” -I hear these words as they pass straight from one ear and out of the other.
There's only so many times you can hear your own mother's attempts to raise your self esteem without responding with a more honest sigh of disbelief and consequently raising your eyebrows.
The majority of us have heard these words before and the majority of us choose to ignore them.
Because it's hard to see beauty in ourselves sometimes and in a world where 'skinny' is the ultimate basis for attractiveness it can be easier said than believed that there is genuine lust for anyone deemed as Large; making it an even more difficult pill to swallow for those girls that fit into this category.
I hate the word Large. In fact I hate the label Large in general. The word Large whether intentional or accidental has been cast in association with all things negative and it's something that we've seemingly allowed to happen over time. The definition suggests hefty, too much or over weight and when used in any context with relation to weight is often deemed as a defect or even a failure of womanhood... Like we just allowed ourselves to give in to food or woke up one day and decided we don't give a shit about our appearance any more... “oh, she's let herself go!” -They cackle. Large is unattractive? So being Large implies you clearly don't care about your appearance and therefore have no feelings... so it doesn't matter if we slate you, fatty! ...Oh but of course this is unless it's breasts we're talking about and then it's a whole different story. Because large breasts are the optimum of beauty and what we should all inspire to have (as long as they sit above a 20” waist of course.)
So in a world where the ever looming word 'fat' is ready and waiting to hurt and label us it's no surprise that our industry is ultimately affected by this. And now that my rant is over I can get back to applauding a recent shift Iv'e noticed in the industry.
There appears to be a new lease of life in the erotica section of lingerie; where considerations for all shapes and sizes are not only available but also popularized. We of course welcome it with open arms. Because there are some beautiful bodies out there... and guess what? Some of them are bigger than a size 6.
But It's more notable than a simple shift in mentality. Because It's definitely where the market is headed and we are witnessing a growth and room for expansion as the garments prove increasingly popular.
In fact there's an obvious calling for plus size in general which is seeping throughout intimates on a whole as brands showcase desirable ranges and proudly announce this refreshing new change via a strong message that Big is beautiful.
We see a plethora of start ups answering the call as well as some old time favorites carrying the torch.
Curvy couture, curve&co and Curvy Kate have all released some gorgeous collections that require special attention as well as others such as Scantilly, Simplybe and my own personal favorite Miss Mandalay.
And then we have the pioneers of plus size themselves! The stunning size 16 Ashley Graham whose legs and thighs... Well can I just say and I quote “she can wrap them around me anytime.” Tess Holiday, another stunner and a size 26 is launching her own new label after incredible success in her modeling career and Elly Mayday size 14 whom is not only bravely fighting her battle with cancer but also incredibly fighting for her place in the mags. Other mentionable's are of course Australian star Robyn Lawley size12, America’s Next Top Model winner Whitney Thompson size 16 (I almost feel guilty listing their size because it doesn't really matter) and even Zach Miko filling in for the boys.
Fabrics also catch up and adhere to the markets requests, by making promises of highly technical lightweight fabric more suitable for plus size.
Delicate laces become stronger and Intricate holes appear in EMB.
All strong enough to carry that bigger size.
More notably; The widths of these fabrics are increasing too, which although may be due to lace being targeted evermore so to the outerwear market but is a helping hand for those brands who usually struggle to find lace with widths large enough to develop big cup sizes.
Then there's the market in general and the overall new acceptance of the sex industry on a whole. I believe there was a book a few years ago that shot to success and made the whole BDM thing acceptable in everyday conversation. Fifty shades of something or other??
Coco De Mer have made a fortune from this new 'acceptance' and sex is all of a sudden everywhere...
I mean hey, even the queen is honoring Lovehoney.com with a top award for their businesses success.
My point, I guess is that It's refreshing to see the erotica section finally adhering to it's 'wider' audience (apologies -no pun intended) and I just hope this side of the audience continues to grow.
The future is bigger, brighter and bountiful.
And so as we continue to grow in size as a nation and the sex industry naturally grows alongside it, we should grow alongside it also and celebrate accordingly.
Celebrate the curvy girls who have the edge and promote the brands that kit them out.
Celebrate ourselves and our own bodies! -I'm sure our partners wouldn't mind #needisaymore.
All the time being selective and adhering to our natural bodies types -because Looking good in lingerie is a hard skill to master.
It's all about confidence and we mustn’t forget good taste (there is definitely a right and a wrong way to do this and you can easily overstep the line) at its core It's all about 'The art of seduction' and you can be sexy without revealing all.
Meanwhile I'm celebrating in my own way via research and development (snore) and by cataloguing my thoughts via the trend board attached.
As we continue to grow in size as a nation a call out for plus size in the sex industry naturally grows alongside it. Yet we mustn’t forget good taste in a new market desperate to be explored. See boundaries pushed immediately with full force via a simple cross over from sexy to sultry.
Inspiration Plus size models shout “it’s ‘OK’ to be a little bigger!” Demonstrating the art of seduction. Be confident in your skin and in bondage.
Colours A distinct story of black on black with added touches of earthy golds. Bright floral colours make a shocking appearance for attention.
Fabrics PVC in softer textures that dominate manmade synthetics. Natural fibers however are comfortably key. Oh and how can we deny lace?
Brands Offer designs in larger sizes appealing to a wider audience. Yes master offers a variety of tropical prints; a new direction for sexy attire.