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The Future of Sportswear

The rise in fitness, wellness and changing lifestyles have fueled a rapid growth of the sportswear market globally. According to Business Data Platform Statista, the sports and outdoor segment has created a revenue of 84,105 million USD in 2019 with a projected global market volume of US$207,354m by 2024.

With a growing focus on well-being and sports apparel making its way into daily wear, companies, designers, and consumers are considering the impact that activewear has on the environment and the lifecycle of their products. In matters of sportswear, the widely used synthetic fabrics are generally energy-intensive and non-biodegradable materials. This type of materials has dynamic properties being such as lightweight, stretchy, or moisture-absorptive, but due to the use of petrochemicals and chemical dyes in the production, the environmental cost is vast – carbon footprint, pollutions and use of landfill.

As we face urgent environmental and social challenges caused by climate change, the requirement on sportswear has shifted beyond meeting level of performance, functionality, and style. In recent years, new technologies and initiatives have been taken to enforce sustainability through supply chains, from fabric sourcing, manufacturing process, to logistic distribution. Meanwhile, there is also increased awareness and shifting consumer demands towards eco-friendly and sustainable sportswear, especially amongst the millennial society, which propel the sustainable revolution of the market.

As the country generating the most revenue in the sports apparel and footwear segment, China has a key position in shaping the sustainable trend in the global fashion market. In line with the UN’s sustainable development objectives, the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Organising Committee released the sustainability plan reflecting the mission of being “green, inclusive, open and clean”. In the lead-up to this global sport event, it is crucial to convene leaders from the field of fashion and sport to discuss the significance of sustainable sportswear in making a positive environmental difference.