Fashion: the final frontier.
In the 1920s, it was flapper girls. Then flared trousers in the '70s. Every single era has left its mark on the clothes we wear.
Even our vision of the future is already somewhat decided. Don’t we all picture ourselves flying around in spandex-clad jumpsuits as we go about our day?
The rise of athleisure wear in recent years is causing a cultural shift toward casual dressing. Gym-to-street clothes are the newest thing, and the fashion of the future that we pictured so long ago, looks like it’s just beyond the horizon.
Activewear sales increased by 16 percent in 2015, compared to a 2 percent year-over-year rise in total apparel sales, according to research firm NPD Group.
Morgan Stanley analyst, Jay Sole, says some key players in the athletic-wear industry are "lacking the fashion component today's consumer is demanding".
Enter designer Steve Van Buren. His mission: to provide casual everyday apparel for fashion-conscious buyers as they explore this strange, new athleisure-wear world.
With that in mind, Steve creates 90 percent of the art used in the designs with a digital drawing tablet. He tells me his mom always said he was a natural at drawing. It’s something that’s always come easily to him.
Steve studied advertising in college and picked up graphic design not long after. He’s spent a majority of his career as an art director at Firespring.
“I most admire brands who are great marketers of their product,” he tells me. “If you design a cool piece and you don’t have that marketing element, no one is going to know about it.”
Looking towards the future, Steve says he would like Mae & Pearl product more inclusive sizing and fit.
“They make everything for the six-foot-tall guy,” he says. “I want to design casual wear for the everyday American.”
His mission for fashion-forward athleisure wear also aligns with Steve’s personal style, which he says makes a huge difference on how fulfilled you are.
“I’m so excited to get up and start working,” he says. “Work feels like fun. Every day doors are opening for me. People are feeling my passion. I would rather do this than anything else.”
One of Steve’s favorite athleisure brands is Kit and Ace.
He tells me the “future of fashion is performance clothing that looks good”. “It’s functional, easy-to-wear items that you feel like you can do any movement in and you won’t be constricted.”
Stated on their website, Prosperity Panties says the intention of inspirational messages on the front of the panty leads to an action. 10 percent of sales go to the charity connected to each panty.
If history is any indicator, fashion will continue as a final frontier indefinitely. It’s always evolving, expanding and gravitating towards what’s next. To survive in this an ever-changing landscape, designers must boldly go where no one has gone before.