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An article in The Times last summer talked about the ‘yuccies’, young urban creative, the post-millennial group and their predicted growing influence particularly in the worlds of food, fitness and fashion. There is increasing cross-fertilisation between these three businesses, already apparent in the world of fashion.

According to Nike CEO Mark Parker “leggings are the new denim”… his views are borne out by market research group NPD who reported that jeans sales dropped by 8% last year, while sales of athleisure rose by 17%. Athleisure, where fashion meets fitness/functionality, is predicted to be the fastest growing fashion sector in the next five years.

No wonder the collaborations are coming thick and fast; Top Shop and Beyoncé, Nike and Sacai, Rihanna and Puma, and Adidas and Kanye West, Mary Katrantzou and Stella McCartney’s permanent line for them. Alexander Wang is a key athleisure influencer, promoting the idea of gym wear as life wear. Tellingly, sales of yoga apparel in the US were up 45% in 2013, while actual participation in yoga only rose by 4.5% according to SportsOneSource, indicating that many of those buying into this look are not going anywhere near a yoga studio, they just want to look cool. Just have a look at the school run mum’s wardrobe as testimony to this fast growing trend.

High street giants Tesco, Gap and H&M are expanding their leisure ranges, whilst at the top end of the market Net a Sporter is creating a launch pad for luxe brands. Ted Baker’s ‘Raising the Handlebars’ collection is responding to a need for clothing that can be worn not only cycling to and from meetings, but road to office wear. Callens, a recent launch is going more for luxury leisure wear targeted at life outside the gym. A new urban uniform that can be worn from office, to gym, to going out.

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Eric Wilson, fashion news editor of InStyle, says that ‘Athleisure represents a permanent sea change in fashion. People are embracing healthier lifestyles, whilst demanding more functionality from their wardrobes. Especially for anyone trying to work fitness into an overtaxed schedule’.

This demand for convenience, efficiency and speed has driven the growth of specialty fitness studios. Our client Pure Ride, a spin studio, launched last week in Moorgate to take account of this demand for something that truly works and shows results. A niche, edited, focused concept ensures maximum return for time and money, but also fulfills a vital social need, emotionally engaging and the motivational benefits of bonding with like minded people in your fitness tribe. A branded range of Pure Ride gym wear also launched to tap into this fashion trend, and give members the chance to reinforce their belonging to the spin culture on Instagram feeds across London. 

We have designed Bhuti, a new “eco wellbeing escape” set to open in Richmond, London, at the beginning of February 2016. Bhuti is described as “a centre for wellbeing, providing a space for transformation as an antidote to the modern urban lifestyle". Created by Samantha Trinder, owner of the nearby boutique Bingham Hotel, the new venture takes account of the fact that wellness tourism is growing faster than the overall industry, leading to many hotel operators investing more in their fitness/wellbeing spaces.

Retail is battling for share of spend, not just against each other but against other sectors such as leisure and hospitality. Further fuelled by a culture of sharing online, people are comparing what they are experiencing rather than just what they are buying, which is why retailers are having to review how they can create spaces where people can ‘do’ as well as buy.

We are seeing many more space sharing collaborations, but even in retail only spaces those visual cues that are more reflective of environments where millennials socialise create greater engagement. This approach has, we are convinced, been responsible for the huge success of the brand concepts we launched for Springfield across Europe.

With an overwhelming interest in lifestyle and wellbeing, and an obsessive interest in food - 40% of millennials in the US spend 43% of their income on food, we are seeing a massive growth in casual dining to satisfy the hungry for new eating experiences. Our new food led concept for Costa Fresco is recognition by the brand of the importance of great tasting food alongside their iconic coffee retail offer. 

Food, fitness and fashion are growth areas in their own right, but what’s becoming clearer is that by combining them the potential is even greater and this is where retailers and brands can really capitalise.