Fitness is the new fashion

There's no trend hotter or accessory more covetable than a perfectly sculpted physique. In short: health has officially gone haute.

Once upon a time, the fashion industry ran on coffee, cigarettes and champagne, an unholy trinity of vices designed to keep you buzzed-up and rake thin – if anything but healthy. But as trends in health and wellness become ever more aspirational, that late night fashion girl moment has passed, ushering in a whole new healthy mood in the industry.

Take flamboyant Japanese Vogue editor Anna Dello Russo (a favorite with the fashion bloggers), who begins her day at 6am with yoga or swimming and a traditional Japanese breakfast of salmon, miso soup, tofu and rice. “Beauty is all about the inside now,” she says. “I eat really healthy, no alcohol, no smokes, and sleep eight hours every night.”

Marc Jacobs describes his daily two-hour workout as “like therapy – mental and physical,” and while he still loves his Diet Coke, “as a rule I eat very healthy. All sorts of fresh juices, supplements like Acai, and lots of green leafy vegetables.” Meanwhile, Rick Owens says he only wears clothes that can take him straight from the studio to the gym (admittedly with a mink coat thrown on top), and describes the “extreme sensation” of working out as “a great combo of discipline, joyous release, meditation and vanity.”

There’s no doubt that looking good is at the root of fashion’s new love affair with fitness. Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana, a favorite with all the high fashion houses as well as one of the longest serving Victoria's Secret Angels, has also said, “I feel unhappy if I only live this workaholic party life.” Hence the organic food diet, yoga, paddle boarding and jogs on the beach she favors while jetting between New York and Florianopolis in Brazil.

Fashion publicist Robyn Berkley, who took a sabbatical from the industry two years ago to study for her yoga teacher training, also believes that fitness as a whole now operates much like the fashion world: “Fashion has always been about the latest ‘must-have’, and you can apply that to fitness now too, with brands like Equinox and SoulCycle. It’s that obsessive mentality about being in the know, or being the first to discover the hot new thing.” She points to the “juice craze” as a prime example – “the $10 green juice has become a new status symbol.” As Equinox’s Director of Public Relations Rebecca Goodman, who used to work in fashion herself as head of PR at Diesel, puts it: “Equinox is so attractive to the fashion set because we aren't just a gym, we are a luxury lifestyle brand.”

Chiyoko Osborne, who left a career in marketing at Calvin Klein and Alexander Wang to become a certified nutritionist, has also witnessed the fitness-as-must-have phenomenon. “At Alexander Wang, I saw a trending interest among employees in being healthy, not just thin. It was never about a crash diet, but being super smart and savvy about what you put in your body and how you worked out.”

She also tells about the Chloe employee who texted her a photo of the Organic Avenue juices that had been ordered for somebody’s birthday in the office “instead of the old standard box of cupcakes,” she laughs. “And when you see cases of BluePrint Cleanse mini juice bottles backstage at fashion shows, you know nutrition is becoming cool.” Even better; “everybody loves having them there too. On these most stressful days, it really helps to know you’re at least treating your body well.”

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