Recycled Material For Athleisure: Clothing Industry Riding The Wave Of Sustainability

Sustainable Athleisure: It’s no secret that Fast Fashion is the biggest curse on the environment. The endless greed of consumers to get along with the latest fashion trend and get rid of clothes regardless of their condition has been tormenting our green little planet. What’s more, it is damaging the mental health of the population, especially teenagers. And if there is any solution, it lies with sustainable athleisure and minimalistic way while shopping.


Written by Swati Tamhankar, from Allied Analytics

According to surveys, more than 1 million tons of clothes are discarded per year and a large cluck of it is buried in landfills or burnt. The fashion industry is not one of the major reasons for increasing carbon dioxide in the environment and eventually global warming. Thus, adopting eco-friendly ways to manufacturing clothes has become a necessity for athleisure brands to gain customer’s attention.

How is it affecting the athleisure market?

The global industry of the athleisure industry is worth $257.1 billion, growing at a CAGR of 6.7% from 2019 to 2026, as per the report by Allied Market Research. The latest trend of health & wellness and sustainable clothing are the prime drivers of the growth.

Major market players riding the wave of sustainable athleisure to gain the attention of mindful shoppers and launching a new line of clothing that is eco-friendlier and more ethical. It is observed that Gen Z and Millennials are more attracted to the sustainable value of a brand and thus, major fashion brands are setting themselves apart by launching sustainable athleisure. For instance, Jilla Active recently launched activewear from sustainable material including bamboo.

Done with Orange; Green is the new black

While many companies aim at pursuing one of these three approaches: eco-friendliness, profit, and social impact. More and more companies now work with only those vendors that provide organic cotton, no-toxic chemicals, and recycled polyester while keeping the labor standards fair. Athleisure companies are now focused to offer long-lasting, durable clothes, which may seem counterintuitive for their business. However, it increases consumer base after marketing the new lining of products under the tag of “eco-friendly clothes”.

Footwear industry running toward sustainability

Companies such as Nike, Adidas, and Columbia have launched products to promote sustainability, which encouraged smaller companies and even startups. Moreover, Nike aims to use the opportunity of the upcoming Olympics to gain attention through sustainable innovations. For instance, Nike’s recent innovative footwear is constructed by using scrap metal from factory floors. The company wants to showcase how athleisure companies can figure out ways to make most of the material with less energy and carbon, setting a benchmark for others.

Similarly, Vivobarefoot recently announced a new line of shoes that are constructed from 17 recycled water bottles. In addition, not only Timberland but Adidas also followed the same trend to use plastic waste to launch new athleisure.

Allbird recently introduced a new concept “Tree collection” that includes material that uses merely 5% of water and one-third of the land space compared to manufacturing requirements of traditional footwear. The company claimed to use the most sustainable forestry standard and aims to protect wildlife and tress while offering the utmost comfort that customers demand.

Launch of activewear using recycled materials

The current trend is recycling and reducing pollution in every way from design to production. For instance, COS, a London-based company has recently announced to launch its first activewear collection constructed from recycled material. While focusing on comfort and everyday performance, the company has embraced a new approach to use recycled polyester.

Asahi Kasei Advance Corporation (AKA) recently unveiled its innovation, a novel sustainable fabric for sportswear and athleisure. As a part of AKA’s new goal toward a greener and transparent future, the collection is said to be 100% traceable from yarn to dyeing. DuPont has also recently launched a sustainable fabric collection to go toe-to-toe with well-known clothing brands. Eastman, a leading specialty material company collaborated with DuPont to launch more sustainable, bio-based fabrics that offer comfort.

A change in demand and willingness of major corporations toward developing eco-friendly products is driving the athleisure industry toward a greener, sustainable future. The cost of sustainable products and unawareness of customers toward such novel products are still the major obstacles. However, the increase in marketing of a new line of clothing under the name of sustainability has forced even the major fashion brands to rethink and get onboard with using eco-friendlier fabric and recycled materials. If this trend continues, perhaps the fashion industry has some hope to reinvent itself and think beyond some pretty clothes.

Youths wearing sustainable athleisure