Blokecore, blokette, athleisure, is it all just repackaged sporty chic? And, where did it all begin?

The meeting of fashion and sports is nothing new. But with the rise of trends like ‘blokecore’, and its more feminine, frillier counterpart ‘blokette’ – it begs the question, how did we get here? Let’s define sporty chic (and all of its offshoots) as sportswear plucked from its original context, and re-contextualised in a ‘fashionable’ context. We could take the Gucci x Adidas collaboration as a stellar example. They’ve joined forces for a hot minute now, and when their pieces first debuted at Gucci’s FW22 show in Milan, people were shook. We’d never seen such a brazen attempt at fusing high fashion and sportswear, and the pieces became quickly coveted. That said, Gucci and Adidas weren’t the first to do it. Throughout fashion history, the two opposing worlds have often gone hand in hand – and we’re gonna highlight some fashion moments that map this journey out.

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Geoffrey Beene’s jersey dresses

Starting off in 1967, the first sporty chic moment we’re opting to highlight is the work of American designer Geoffrey Beene. Spurred on by the Pop Art movement, Beene appropriated the popular iconography of American football to dream up otherworldly, sequined, floor-length gowns. While sportswear had been slowly inching its way into everyday wear for consumers, fashion had never seen such an aesthetic confrontation between glamour and sports. These pieces contain multitudes – they’re a relaxed fit, and they carry through the colours of the Minnesota Vikings jersey, yet they’re the picture of opulence. Designer Tom Ford even went on to give a glistening reference to these pieces in his FW14 collection.

Bruce Lee’s trend-setting tracksuits

While brands had been crafting up matching jersey tracksuit sets since the 1960s, Bruce Lee’s appearance on the TV show Longstreet in 1971 made tracksuits crack the mainstream. The groundbreaking fit he donned was a fire-red tracksuit, complete with white detailing in the form of stripes. Look familiar? And while Bruce Lee often wore these kinds of tracksuits to carry out martial arts, fashion’s landscape was changed evermore. His yellow and black tracksuit from the 1978 film Game of Death is equally as iconic – going on to be referenced by Quentin Tarantino, and worn by Uma Thurman, in the cult classic Kill Bill.

Run-DMC x Adidas

Run-DMC and Adidas go way back. Since the group’s debut in 1981, they’ve always repped the sportswear brand. From the iconic Stan Smith sneakers, to the full two piece tracksuits, Run-DMC and Adidas went hand in hand. Hailing from New York, the epicentre of the zeitgeist, it didn’t take long for the group to prove their cultural prominence. In both the fashion and music spheres, people started to take notice. With tracks like the 1986 “My Adidas”, they were the pioneers of B-boy style, which we’d now call streetwear. Not to mention, they were OG mavericks of Hip Hop; the echoes of Run-DMC’s influence are still felt to this day.

Princess Diana’s off-duty looks

Lady Di will always be in our hearts, and her off-duty looks will forever be iconic. What’s so captivating about them is that they’re seemingly effortless, yet undeniably chic. It’s a foolproof combination – biker shorts, trainers, and an oversized hoodie; she ate it up every single time! She was ahead of the curve, as in recent years biker shorts have been the ‘it’ item donned by all of the streetwear baddies. Going on to be referenced by Hailey Bieber in a spitting-image photoshoot that took the internet by storm, there’s no doubt that Princess Diana was instrumental in pushing the athleisure game forward.

Golf Wang Soccer Capsule

Although we’ve touched on the ongoing Gucci x Adidas collaboration, they’re not the only ones dominating the sporty chic game. Hot off the heels of the World Cup, Tyler The Creator’s brand Golf Wang took sportswear to the next level. The football or ‘soccer’ jersey is the defining item of the ‘Blokecore’ trend – and Golf Wang unveiled their own version as part of their Soccer Capsule. Featuring jerseys with a twist, who better to model the collection than FC Barcelona’s heartthrob Hector Bellerín? This meeting of minds was an impressive move, and it had hypebeasts and football fans cheering for the same team.

To conclude…

This round-up barely scratches the surface of sport’s influence on fashion, and vice versa. Although sporty chic has taken on many forms throughout the years, it’s hard to pinpoint just one influence. To tell the truth, there are countless ways that sportiness and chicness meet in the middle – and we’d be silly to try and contain it in just one article. That said, we hope this article gave a little bit of insight into what precedes the sporty chic we see today.


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