It's been years, maybe a decade even, since the idea of a jean that can double as athleticwear began to surface. The two categories have somewhat parallel roots. Jeans started as workwear and over the years have become a comfort staple that can be dressed up or down to fit any occasion. Athleticwear, specifically yoga pants, started as sportswear and over the years has also come to be a comfort staple that is often worn outside of it's original purpose. Logic dictates that these two very different, but lateral moving categories should meet. Logic also dictates that because they cater to a similar market and their purposes often overlap (how often have you had to choose between your jeans or yoga pants just to run a quick errand) that combining the two should be rather simple.
Unfortunately, it hasn't been. For most people the thought of wearing denim as a swimsuit or a sweatpant is intriguing, but a bit bizarre. Adding to our skepticism is the fact that most attempts to combine the two have been more of a novelty than an actual real attempt to create a new category. That's excluding the very real efforts of a few intrepid brands like Diesel and Guess. Behind those efforts are denim mill ISKO who's technology has enabled these brands to create denim that can compete in the rapidly growing athleisure category. The success of Diesel's Jogg Jean is a direct result of ISKO technology and many brands have now followed suit with their own versions creating a whole new category of jean called joggers. It only seems fitting now that the company behind the tech should expand their efforts. And they have in the biggest way possible.
This week ISKO launched their new ISKO ARQUAS collection described as "high-performance denim sports apparel for activewear". The collection was fittingly launched at Technogym in Soho and was really quite a sight. As I approached Technogym, on the display in the store window was a model dressed in skinny jeans and a hoodie working out on an elliptical. This may sound dramatic, but in that moment I knew, really knew, the world of fitness apparel was about to change.
Throughout the showroom models worked out on gym equipment dressed in denim shorts, jackets and jeans. Streetwear! Apparel that would earn dirty looks or at least a side-eye at any New York Sports Club looked relatively normal and downright…well…right. I'm not a gym rat, but I workout quite a bit and there are times where I wish I could just run to the gym for a quick 20 minute run on the treadmill or do some circuits on the machine weights, but am put off by having to change clothes or carry a gym bag. Let's be honest, even if you workout regularly like I do, if you're not addicted to working out, which most of us aren't, any little thing can give you an excuse to skip the gym, even changing clothes. So when Kutay Saritosun, Senior Marketing Director at ISKO mentioned in his speech that the idea behind the collection was to be able to go from work to the gym, I heard almost nothing else. He had me at hello!
Of course I tuned back in because that's my job and learned that the collection caters to five active areas -Dance/Yoga/Fitness, Urban Tech, Commuter Biking, Outdoor and Weekend- with each area focused on specific functional properties with breathability, antibacterial, thermoregularity and odor resistance to name a few.
I don't know about you, but I am so ready for this.