NEW YORK — In an industry that thrives on people who are disciplined about exercise, activewear makers have decided it’s time to lighten up.

From featherweight, multifunctional products to ads free from chiseled physiques, companies such as Nike, Danskin and Salomon are focusing on a more relaxed image that appeals to a wider range of women. Well aware that substantial growth is not expected for the $16.2 billion women’s activewear business, big brands are trying to gain more market share with versatile pieces to be worn around town.

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