Modern sports garments are designed to enhance athletic performance and to provide protection from physical injury. They are also expected to complement their functionality with elements of fashion in other words, to look good. Conversely, fashionable attire often draws inspiration from specialized sports clothing. "The fact that casual everyday clothing is called sportswear in the apparel industry is a testament to how comprehensively the development of specialist sports clothing has shaped our ideas about clothing," observes fashion writer Jennifer Craik. Today, the give-and-take between sporting attire and fashion is greater than ever.
Sporting Life, on view May 25 - November 5, 2011, examines the history of sports clothing from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The exhibition is divided into sections devoted to particular sports, such as bicycling and swimming. It uses clothing from the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT to highlight changes, over time, in silhouette and construction, as well as to discuss technological advancements that have improved the function of athletic garments. Active sportswear garments are juxtaposed with the fashionable ready-to-wear styles they have inspired.