ATLANTA — Sales in the sports industry grew 2.9 percent to $68.4 billion in wholesale sales in 2007, and would have been stronger had not the weakening economy caused sales to taper off during the last six months of the year, said Tom Cove, president of the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), during the association’s Team Sports Show last week.
Cove said in his state of the industry address at the show, which was held at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas last week, that SGMA expects the industry to grow by 2 percent in 2008 to about $69.6 billion at wholesale. The sports apparel part of the industry expanded by 2.4 percent to $29.5 billion at wholesale. This is a considerable slowdown. Since 2000, sports apparel sales have grown by 35.3 percent. Sales in 2006 increased 8 percent, and rose 11 percent in 2005.
Sports apparel has been driven by performance fabrics that provide compression, moisture management and temperature control, according to the report. Eco-friendly fabrics that incorporate natural materials, including bamboo and coconut shells, are popular, too; and stylish designs have made sport apparel fashionable for everyday wear, according to the SGMA industry report. The report also noted that many of these products are at the high end of the price spectrum, and some consumers in 2007 moved to lower-priced goods. Research by the NPD Group found that consumers paid less for each unit of sportswear in 2007 than in 2005 and 2006.
“A big factor which is affecting levels of sports participation is the ongoing attraction of electronic options, which are sedentary in nature, such as laptop computers, iPods, Internet chatrooms, hand-held games, computer games and cell phone,” Cove said. “While these items are dynamic innovations, they do consume large amounts of our life and, as a result, cut into the time that could have been set aside for recreational or athletic pursuits.”
A major trend in the industry is that most consumers purchase sports apparel and athletic footwear to look the part of an athlete. SGMA said only one-third of all sports apparel and athletic footwear is bought with the intent to be used in an active sport.
The SGMA report said the industry believes it will be affected by the weak economy and low consumer confidence this year. In a survey among vendors in the sporting goods industry about their concerns for 2008, slower consumer spending topped the list. Last year, it was gaining market share, a perennial concern, the report noted.
“It’s a good thing that the Olympic Games are being held this year,” Cove said. “Not only will the Games highlight the glory of sports and inspire millions of people to get involved, but they will provide a wonderful showcase for the technological achievements of the sporting goods industry.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast