Entrepreneurs Find A Niche In The Growing “Athleisure” Apparel Space

By Lorraine Mirabella
The Baltimore Sun

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Entrepreneur Devon Mish tapped into an emerging trend four years ago when she set out to fill a void for “preppy chic activewear,” launching clothing line Devon Maryn.

The Baltimore Sun

After giving birth to her third child, Devon Mish wanted to shed some extra pounds. She relished the chance to replace some of her old workout clothes, dating to her college days.

“I went out ready to spend and just did not find anything I liked,” Mish said. “Everything was plain black or solid colors — not my style. I like prints. I like bright colors. I wanted fun, energetic clothing to get me excited to get up in the morning and go to the gym.”

The Odenton resident tapped into an emerging trend four years ago when she set out to fill a void for “preppy chic activewear,” launching clothing line Devon Maryn. Plenty of others, she found, wanted activewear that doubled as fashion and were embracing “athleisure” style as well.

Mish’s business joined a cottage industry that has cropped up in the Baltimore area in the shadow of much bigger global competitor Under Armour. They’re hoping to meet growing demand for apparel designed to be worn while exercising — or not.

Athleisure, a category put on the map by yoga pants maker Lululemon, is on the rise at a time when more casual dress codes, greater health awareness and fabric innovations have made it more acceptable and popular to wear athletic wear outside the gym or off the field. The term moved into the mainstream this year with it’s own dictionary definition.

“This is one of those trends that’s driven by lifestyle, as opposed to fashion dictating how people should dress and live,” said Zoey Washington-Sheff, senior style editor for Brit + Co. “The way people live is changing the fashion offerings. That’s how you know something is going to be around quite a long time. The reality is the athletic market is big business, and fashion is doing its best to figure out how to stay relevant.”

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