Documented By: Maggie Marilyn
No longer is athleisure the only way that sportiness finds its expression in fashion. On the Australian runways this season in Sydney, local designers made the case for an alternate angle to the sporty trend: one that veers away from stretchy spandex and that ubiquitous ‘exercise dress’ to something a little edgier.
Maggie Marilyn, the New Zealand based label which made its debut at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week this year was the first off the not-so-proverbial mark. Showing on Monday May 15th, the label, helmed by designer Maggie Hewitt, presented a collection of new pieces styled back with its longrunning signature staples. Among the newbies? A spray jacket with retro inflections in the form of red and blue stripes, worn open over a cricket sweater and a striped cotton shirt. Call it the Antipodean take on all-American prep. And styling them with pieces that have been a part of the Maggie Marilyn core collection for seasons? That’s how Hewitt’s sustainability-minded values come to the fore. “We’re not trying to tell our customer that they need to buy a whole new wardrobe every season, but rather it’s actually showing them on the runway how we style new pieces back with existing ones,” she told The Guardian.
Documented By: Alix Higgins
Alix Higgins, too, folded sporty style into his own aesthetic. In his show, titled ‘Delectable Earth Shudder’, he broke up his now instantly recognisable second skin tops and poetry-printed skirts with a series of tops made from upcycled polo shirts, worn backwards. Despite the move beyond his usual nylon fabrications, there was no denying Higgins’ distinct, digital-age vibe. To this core, he stayed true—but his sophomore collection continued his exploration into sustainable creation, from repurposing fabrics damaged by watermarks, to experimenting with waste reduction techniques in his manufacturing.
These local designers are part of a natural progression than began on international runways. Think of the waves made by the retro stylings of the Adidas x Gucci collection of early 2022, which blended sporty streetwear with high glamour, sending triple-stripe lined silk trousers and trefoil-emblazoned ivory gowns down the runway.
Documented By: Stella McCartney, Fall/Winter 2023-2024 Paris Fashion Week
More recently, Stella McCartney showed her latest Fall 2023 collection at France’s oldest riding school. Equestrianism has always fascinated fashion, but with a slew of shrunken waistcoats and rugby shirts, paired with old-world tailoring, McCartney brought the aesthetic galloping into the present.
It’s a style that has been making the rounds on the street style set, too. The retro spray jacket is a Hailey Bieber favourite—the model pulls off collegiate stylings without stuffiness, pairing hers as she often does with baggy denim and baby tank. Meanwhile, Kendall Jenner has taken inspiration from the sporting field—however, with its monochrome checks and yellow accents, her moto jacket skews more Fast and Furious than college basketball.
In Australia and beyond, it’s clear: a new sporty aesthetic is brewing. Varsity jackets and windbreakers, rendered through the eyes of designers like McCartney, Higgins and Hewitt? It’s enough to almost make you nostalgic for high school P.E. Almost.