For Folks Confused Between Leggings, Jeans & Yoga Pants

A 2018 editorial in the Economic Times reported that the Yoga Pants Industry across the globe had become serious, turning into a nearly $48 billion industry. This cultural phenomenon is still making people rethink their jeans choices and denim wear options. However, it seems that something important wasn’t highlighted – the fact that apparel choices across India are slowly getting smarter, attuned towards providing end users a barrier against everyday threats. We are talking about mosquito and insect bites that are responsible for landslide emergency room admissions every year and this is not just about the monsoon mosquito menace. Read ahead to understand how women’s bottom wear choices are becoming more sophisticated and how BugShield is filling a massive void…

CNBC reports the global athleisure market to reach nearly $350 Billion by 2020. The staggering numbers clearly underline one global fact – leggings, gym-wear and yoga-wear is quickly changing the game for outerwear. But, how is this important from the Indian perspective?

First, the Emerging Marketplace

This is not a western world trend! A recent editorial by Invest India highlighted how the Indian buying sentiment for traditional sportswear is changing. Fashion apparel is being increasingly fused with casual wear. India is sprinting towards the global ACTIVEWEAR phenomenon. Athleisure is outperforming many other apparel categories. The significant change is apparent online where motivated start-ups are fueling Athleisure across India. The biggest global brands like Adidas and Superdry are creating room for such apparels in their sportswear line-up. Closer home, Hrithik Roshan’s HRX line of fitness-wear is grabbing attention and similar apparels are being spotted in apparel brands endorsed by Shahid Kapoor [SKULT] and Viral Kohli [WROGN]. This marketplace has potential for sure but there is something more that few brands are addressing at the outset – blending a barrier of safety against insects and killer mosquitoes in their designer apparel. But why this emphasis on fusing protective-wear with athletic/active-wear?

Now, the Need for Protection in Outerwear Options

Right now, about half the world’s population (nearly 3.5 billion people) is threatened by dengue infection and unusual rainfall and heat wave patterns in India are increasing the mosquito breeding rate across the nation

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Insects hold the top spot in the list of problems that are omnipresent every time you step outdoors. Insects like ticks, flies, or mosquitos are often the transmitting medium for viral infections that are evolving and defeating contemporary clinical solutions. While there is always an elder at home advocating fully-covered clothing in the mosquito season, the fact remains that no season provides the assurance of insect-free environment. People are left wondering whether a cream or spray will really holds its own out there, in humid, hot, wet, and sweat conditions. You can be wearing full-length jeans, yoga pants or leggings but which option presents a sense of safety? Rather than asking the countless buzzing friends out there, we are going to dissect these options systematically, without the fluff & drama, to deliver clarity.

Leggings: Signifying Comfort over Style
victoria beckham designed seamless leggings that wont dlide down
Victoria Beckham Designed Seamless Leggings That Won’t Slide Down [Source: InStyle]

Leggings are the universal symbol of comfort. Today, they are emerging as the most practical yet stylish alternative to denimwear or casual trousers for women. To be more precise, leggings are presentable and a very wearable piece of bottomwear no matter what season it is. Some have graduated to workwear options too. Leggings are usually made of soft fabrics like wool, Lycra jersey or cotton-blends that ensure day-long wearability.

Mosquito Alert, Insect Repellent, Mosquito Repellent Clothing
Parineeti Chopra endorses a leading legging brand in India

Leggings are interpreted and assumed as being breathable – while this means a great choice for relaxing at home or going out there might a real opportunity for a plundering mosquito to manage a nutritional, mid-day blood meal. The breathable fabric can provide such opportunities. The small proboscis a mosquito uses to wiggle its spear through the fabric needs the most negligible amount of space to make contact with the skin. We dare say, no all leggings are foolproof to save you from an insect bite.

Yoga Pants: Creating Better Silhouettes
‘The Big Bang Theory’ fame Kaley Cuoco is one of the many stars who wear yoga pants with panache

Yoga pants are probably the most popular bottomwear nowadays, considering the amount of flexibility, comfort and style they provide. An ideal apparel for running and gymnastics, yoga pants also work wonders when planning an outdoor trip like camping, biking, hiking, or just living in a log cabin. While yoga pants are easily available in varying lengths, all of them might not be the best bet to stop disease-causing mosquitoes. Usually made of polyester and Lycra (and sometimes cotton) yoga pants can be worn real tight or lose. Either ways, they don’t put-up an effective barrier if you are outdoors, in an insect-prone area.

Jeans: The Denim Culture that can Never go away
A creation of Jacob Davis & Levi Strauss & Co. in 1871, ‘Blue Jeans’ Remain Iconic

Yes! Jeans – the life savior for fashion emergencies no matter what the event is. The fabric is thicker, so they are a tad less comfortable. But modern jeans are using softer options too. When it comes to protecting against bite-happy mosquitoes, they probably are the safest bet. The thicker and closely-knit fabric jeans leave lesser space for insects to pierce through the apparel. Some experts believe that since jeans are often worn tight, enveloped around the skin, they might help the insect to stab through the fabric. Essentially, even the best pair of jeans, blue or not, is not a promise of protection against attacking insects.

Is there a clear winner?

Not really since each of these clothing options are not designed with the intent of providing protection against insects. The design, choice of fabrics, the brand ambassadors, or the manufacturing practices cannot be blamed for this. Insect protection is seldom the goal when style, luxury and more choices are being chased for maximum marketplace engagement.

The Obvious Answer: Mosquito Repellents…but wait!

Dengue is endemic to nearly 100 countries in Africa, Americas, Mediterranean nations, South-East Asia, and Western Pacific. In December 2018, the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issued Level 2 alert for travelers to India, recommending enhanced precautions against Zika virus [Both Dengue and Zika are insect-transmitted diseases]

The mosquito menace has global relevance. Tropical nations in particular are highly susceptible to insect bite-related diseases. Obviously, the marketplace for insect-fighting products is huge. This is why insect repelling products are vanishing off the shelves across all types of retail channels. Yes, insect repellents don’t need an introduction – in fact, choosing one can be difficult considering the astronomical choices you have. Promising to deter mosquitoes and other insects, these repellents can be all natural, chemically formulated, made with essential oils, fragrant, cream-based, or packed as a rub-on. However, even today, there is no official research or a clearly established winner which clearly tells you about a repellent that protects around-the-clock, at all times, across all landscapes and weather conditions. There is a lot of noise about global benchmarks in this domain but the harsh reality is that many of the bestselling repellents are being retailed despite pending regulatory approvals or quality standardization.

Choose Wisely! DEET is one of the most widely used mosquito repellent ingredients but a safe proportion of DEET (50%) is good to keep mosquitoes away for just 4-5 hours & it can be harmful for children
Is there a better way?

Repellent treated clothing has emerged as the preferred choice, the more educated options if all types of mosquito repelling/killing technologies are compared. This is not just about Permethrin-treating clothing but the magic lies in the approach. When fashion wear has fabric fibers treated with safe mosquito-repelling compounds, it creates the perfect barrier. It does not matter any longer where you are headed – when the outerwear/apparel itself can fight-away raiding insects, the landscape really does not matter. One such technology has been developed by Insect Shield BugShield clothing uses it to create real clothes for men, women & kids that are very wearable and as fashionable as any other branded apparel. These insect-repelling clothes feel the same, look just like the latest in streetwear, leisurewear, workwear, or casual-wear and still, they protect you and your family against dangerous insect bites in a potent way without worrying about loss of efficacy due to washings or outdoor exposure. Another big benefit – these repellent-treated clothes don’t smell different!