Fashion in the Martial Arts?

Posted by: John W. Zimmer
Under: martial arts
23 Aug 2009


Karate is becoming more main-streamed and ever more accepted into venues it has never ventured before. Perhaps this is due to the generation of martial arts schools we have taken our children to in the last few decades?


I was looking for a hook for karate with models and noticed (by accident) some karate demos during a fashion show! Well you might be thinking – John there has been karate demos forever at all kinds of events! Yes that is true but in this case the models were integrated into the fashion show!


In this post I will bring some snippets of martial arts in the fashion industry and try to evaluate the direction of martial arts fashions in the years to come. Watch this first video all the way through if you can because it is sprinkled with demonstrations.



The first time I saw this I was thinking that martial arts has come a long way! When I was a kid it is debatable if it was ok to kick a guy in a fight or was that fighting like girls. Now karate have become accepted as a fighting art (like boxing and wrestling) but has even been showcased at a fashion show.

There are martial arts in commercials since the 60’s, one that comes to mind is the Hi Karate spots for the aftershave. Why I think I remember getting some as a kid but it did not work. :)


A more recent commercial I have been seeing on the web is this spot for a German auto dealer. I remember seeing this for the first time and thinking this model actually knew her stuff!

What is fashion in the martial arts? Well one thing I’ve noticed in the last decade are the Tap Out t-shirts everywhere. MMA has helped put martial arts into the main stream with this expression. Almost every young male is aware and most are fans. The cool thing about marketing the expression “tap out” is it differentiated itself from martial arts of my day.

I believe this to have been an excellent stratagy as MMA fashion has really grabbed market share. Here is a look at the MMA fashion show for UFC 100.

I don’t know about you but I would be fine with denim and T’s becoming the new business casual! After watching this video I was surprised to learn just how many fashion designers were into MMA styles.

Where is martial arts fashion going from here? My guess is as fashion always moves – we may see a retro look coming soon. Maybe gi bottoms with snazzy new T’s coming in our future? The reason I think this is, the fashion industry really missed karate in its hey day. I remember Century Martial Arts sold some fashion gi bottoms in denim but it did not ever main stream as I recall. If for some reason I actually call this fashion – I’m quitting my blogs and I’m going to make some real money!

I hope you have liked this glimpse into martial arts fashions.

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