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Balletcore, tennis aesthetic, football mania: it’s no secret that sports have long influenced the world of fashion. But right now? It’s a winning formula. Tora North explores why.

Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of luxury fashion houses create fashionable activewear and sneakers, bridging the gap between fashion and function. Some have taken it a step further, experimenting with creating their own sports equipment, like Miu Miu, which launched branded yoga mats, blocks and boxing gloves. Or Saint Laurent’s exclusive Rive Droite workout ball. The examples are endless, and, thanks to our unquenchable thirst, there’s only going to be more to come.

It’s clear that there’s a huge market for sportswear-inspired fashion, and over the past few months, we’ve been seeing it both on the runway and all over our social feeds.

As TikTok’s continued to grow, we’ve seen more and more fashion trends spill from the platform into the real world. Last year, Miu Miu acted as the catalyst for “Ballet-core,” bringing back dainty ballet flats, frilly socks and legwarmers. And the trend – amplified by creators globally - is huge – #balletcore has over 267.8 million views, and #balletflats nearly 60 million. Among those adopting the trend? Bella Hadid, Vogue’s Julia Hobbs and WhoWhatWear’s Lauren Eggersten.

Another big trend that saw huge growth on TikTok recently was “horse girl fashion,” an aesthetic directly inspired by – you guessed it – equestrians. It was finally time for horse girls to be considered cool. Case in point: Kendall Jenner riding out in the snow in Aspen over the holidays. Bringing a big designer bag to the stables is also a bonus, and even if you’ve never ridden a horse, you can still follow your equestrian dreams.

It's a path designers have long trodden. Ralph Lauren’s logo is a polo player. Gucci? The horsebit has become a central – and brand defining – part of their designs, from bags to loafers to boots. More recently, fresh brands like Sporty & Rich have taken cues from the equestrian world to fuel their designs with the ‘Equestrian Club’ collection launching last year, and Casablanca’s SS23 show took on a rodeo vibe, real life horses included.

Horses and ballet flats aside, we’ve also seen a big focus on winter sports – especially amongst the key luxury players. Think Prada snowboards, Fendi ski suits, Moncler jackets, and Gucci and Bottega Veneta ski goggles. Looking chic on the slopes suddenly became a lot more expensive. The moodboard is Kim Kardashian in full hot-pink Prada Linea Rossa, basically.

But what is the most fashionable sport? In 2021, Lyst unsurprisingly crowned tennis the winner - and it’s stuck.

Eternally chic, especially with tournaments like Wimbledon where players are required to dress in head-to-toe white, tennis style has translated seamlessly from the court to the street.

Brands like adidas have launched tennis-inspired capsules ft. sporty skirts and tops that work just as well for hitting some balls as they do for a cute night out. On TikTok, the “tennis aesthetic” has been closely linked with the rise of the “old money aesthetic” (yes, on TikTok everything has to be grouped into some kind of aesthetic, it seems) and most often features crisp, white trainers, an oversized sweatshirt, and a tennis skirt from a sportswear giant.

We’ve yet to see the sweatbands leave the court, but at this point, it wouldn’t be surprising if the next microtrend to pop up involves some kind of wrist band or headband. Miu Miu and Gucci have already thrown their offerings into the ring.

Of course, one can’t talk about tennis without mentioning the GOAT, Serena Williams.

Williams has consistently been serving looks on the court since her early days, which has landed her a handful of collaborations, and cemented her as the most stylish player of all time (at least in our books). From dresses and catsuits, to colourful braids, Williams is a pioneer of style and truly changed the way we view tennis clothing – on and off the court.

Last year, Casablanca launched its “Tennis Club” collection ft. retro-inspired pieces, including sporty caps and graphic tees, and the influence has seeped into its SS23 collection. Additionally, the label debuted its Atlantis sneaker, which is best worn with a pair of chunky tube socks, tennis-style. All that’s missing is a chic racquet bag, and you’re good to go.

Football is another sport that continues to be referenced in fashion, both through sporty jerseys as well as supporter scarves with brand logos. Most recently Palace x Gucci released three sporty tops, now reselling at a solid £1,300 GBP each and Dolce & Gabbana have football-inspired merch hitting their SS23 collection. TikTok is also doing a great job making vintage football shirts a thing, styling them in unexpected ways, for every day.

Whether you’re actually playing sports or not isn’t a question anymore. And as we’re gearing up for a whole new year of fashion, we’re guaranteed to see even more references on the runway and in future collections. We’ve already seen ballet, horse riding and tennis front-and-centre, so what’s next?

Golf, climbing and running are definitely sports in need of an injection of fashion, and considering their popularity, we’re guaranteed to see plenty of luxury giants expand into more activewear, or take inspiration from the sports, at the least.

Another sport with plenty of potential is volleyball. The long-sleeved shirts paired with the tight booty shorts is a combination that the fashion world has yet to discover, but when they do, it will be the famous Miu Miu skirt all over again.

As we enter 2023, it’s clear that the crossover between sports and fashion isn’t going away any time soon, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Mixing and matching ballet flats with oversized football shirts is without a doubt in for 2023, especially considering we just came out of a World Cup tournament, and we’ve got the Women’s World Cup coming up this summer.

There are endless opportunities, and we can’t wait to see how everything evolves. Until then, play ball.




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