Dubai’s Fashion Evolution: Athleisure Takes Center Stage

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Athleisure clothing has taken the spotlight among Dubai residents, with a surge of local retailers meeting the demand for this versatile and comfortable style.

The athletic leisurewear market in the UAE has witnessed remarkable growth, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which amplified the focus on health and well-being. Statista projects that revenue in the sports and outdoor market segment will reach $258.10 million by 2023, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.36 percent through 2027.

Swaleh Balala, founder of the athleisure sportswear brand Somebody, asserts that athleisure wear has swiftly become a fashion norm and highlights Dubai’s prominence in this market. The city’s promotion of a healthy lifestyle through initiatives like Dubai 30×30 and Gov-Games has contributed to this trend.

Global athleisure wear market value has surged from $60 billion in 2019 to an impressive $300 billion this year. This growth has led to the emergence of startups catering to gym-goers, influencers, and even multinational brands entering the athleisure arena.

UAE-based retail conglomerate GMG, for example, partnered with global sportswear retailer JD Sports to introduce the brand to the Middle East market, with plans to open around 50 stores across the region under the JD franchise by 2028. This signals a growing demand for sportswear as consumers increasingly embrace a health-conscious lifestyle.

Karima Karmouzi, founder of athleisure brand IKASU, emphasizes that the athleisure trend is here to stay, especially after the pandemic, as more people prioritize health and wellness, alongside the desire for comfortable yet fashionable athleisure wear.

Since 2020, several athleisure brands have made their debut in the UAE, offering individuals the confidence to sport athleisure attire not only during physical activities but also in daily errands and casual social gatherings. This trend has also extended to men’s wear, reflecting the perfect blend of comfort and style that characterizes athleisure attire.

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