European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal EFHA World

Activewear at Modemuseum Hasselt

European fashionfashion exhibitionSportswear

A “dazzling race” at the intersection between sport and fashion

Former olympic athletes Elodie Ouédraogo and Olivia Borlée are the guest curators of Activewear, the exhibition on show at Modemuseum Hasselt. Working in the interaction between functional clothing and fashion, the exhibition is a travel – mostly around Europe – that starts from the 1850 and arrives to the present day, looking at the influences of street style and sportswear on fashion.

Indeed, the exhibition shows that activewear is not a new phenomenon, and that its earliest traces date back to classical antiquity. Examples from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century on show demonstrate how even then the focus was on a healthy and sporty lifestyle: women became more active, and this inevitably affected their attires.

The structure of the exhibition is thematic, and one of the main themes is freedom of movement and exercise. Textiles have a big role in this, above all because of their adaptability to different fields, which allowed the development of new shapes and volumes for movement-friendly casual wear.

Mixing icons of the past as Coco Chanel and Jean Patou with the experimentations of the likes of Virgil Abloh, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Bikkembergs, Craig Green and Simone Rocha, Activewear shows how designers reinforced the dialogue between fashion and sport, constructing an ideal wardrobe that suits the body and its changing movements.