The recent pandemic has disrupted the world as we know it. One year in, as people struggle to adapt to lockdown measures, social distancing and all the restrictions that come with those measures, it’s inevitable that consumers are experiencing drastic lifestyle changes, particularly as they spend more time at home.

The MENA region in particular – long obsessed with couture – appears to be making a major shift toward leisurewear. Also known as casual wear, activewear or loungewear, these types of clothes offer comfort at its best, essentially trading in suits for sweatpants.

This shift in demand encouraged local and regional brands to adapt their collections to focus on leisurewear. Most interestingly, the increased interest in leisurewear paved the way for newer brands and emerging designers hoping to fill this novel gap in the market. As a result of COVID-19, clothes that were once predominantly created for Millennials and Generations Zs have now become pleasing to all.

We’ve gone ahead and curated a list of some of the region’s most popular leisurewear brands. From sustainable hoodies to modest sweat sets, here are some brands you should consider the next time you restock on your joggers.

The Giving Movement

The Giving Movement is a Dubai-based label that is “passionate about the planet” and describes itself as ethically sourced and proudly sustainable. The label was conceptualized and launched during the first 24/7 lockdown in April 2020, when brand founder Dominic Nowell-Barnes noticed a shift in consumer demand toward casual wear. Locally produced in the UAE, The Giving Movement’s clothes are crafted entirely from two sustainable materials: recycled nylon made from plastic water bottles and biodegradable bamboo pulp. The Giving Movement considers its designs a mix of active and loungewear, which it refers to as “athleisure.” The Giving Movement is also donating $4 from each sale to its partner charities. 

Claudette The Brand

For those seeking casual wear with a unique voice and strong personality, Claudette The Brand’s streetwear aesthetics promises just that. Founded by Kuwaiti-native Layan Al-Dabbous, Claudette The Brand carries motivational messages that tackle important social issues such as self-love and mental health awareness. Claudette The Brand’s clothing is unisex and oversized, with a pop of color and playful happy-go-lucky graphic doodles. The brand proves that you can find comfort without sacrificing style with its handcrafted hoodies, fun T-shirts and festive sweats.

Rush & Reez

Although Rush & Reez is a full-fledged modest fashion brand, it quickly gained popularity for its oversized hoodies and sweats, which it released during the pandemic. The Lebanese brand offers ethically made clothes produced locally in Lebanon, at a time when small businesses are facing difficulties due to the country’s economic collapse. The label was founded by sisters Riham and Rasha Hijazi, who are on a mission to empower women through designs that are “fashion forward without making any compromises.” With comfort at the helm of its brand, Rush & Reez also carries matching sets for children in an array of colors that have instantly become a favorite among influencers in the region.