Leggins and Activewear the New Luxury?

Feeding off the rise of workout gear that can be worn in or out of the gym, activewear labels have become status symbols, much like any other pricey designer clothes. Premium yoga pants, made popular amongst the masses by Lululemon, can run anywhere from $80 to $200. Yet there's little available for women searching the racks for even more expensive, higher-end performance wear. Quietly, a smattering of new true luxury activewear labels have appeared, each with the hope that affluent shoppers are willing to shell out $300, $400, or more on a pair of pliable pants. One of the most recent entrants is Callens, which designer Claire-Anne Stroll launched in September during fashion week in Milan. A pair of leggings from the Italian label costs nearly $500 — a price Stroll said her customers are willing to pay for fine craftsmanship, without much persuading. Luxury activewear labels once devoted to single sports are also recognizing the power of the overall fitness market. Monreal, a tennis brand, recently released stretch-jersey tennis track pants going for $340. They are a performance legging for "running, pilates, kickboxing, yoga and more," sold at upscale department store Saks Fifth Avenue. Designer Stefani Grosse says she see limitless opportunities to grow in the broader fitness world. "That's really the future, and it's a big market," she says.