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Yoga Goes From Spiritual Quest to Clothing Trend

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over the last few years, yoga pants have made their way from the ashram to the forefront of everyday fashion and everyday life. For investors, it's a tough call on whether or not the style is just a trend or something greater and investible. Wall Street has fallen victim to such trends in the past, and the strength of the concept is debatable. Based on online search indications, I predict strong sales and demand for yoga clothing companies this holiday season.

Lululemon Athletica (LULU) was among the first on the scene for both investors and consumers. The company leads the yoga apparel market. A number of competitors, including Nike  (NKE), Under Armour (UA) and Gap's (GPS)Athleta, have moved in to compete for market share. The Street has debated the severity of this competition for years; it seems that at this point, every brand is winning.

I'm always looking for unique and underused tools to determine company and brand strength. Over the last couple of months I've started using Google (GOOG) Search Interest as a barometer for brand strength, and have found some success personally. The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time.

Below let us take a look at the relative search interest on Google for the keywords "yoga pants" over time.

The above chart was created using the Google Trends tool. Since 2011, the relative search interest for yoga pants skyrocketed. Since then, interest for the product continued on a steady path upward. A score of 100 represents the highest recorded level of interest for the keywords. Since pulling back earlier this year, interest for yoga pants surged again to highs. In November, a score of 85 was registered. Google expects a reading of 90 in December.

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