Style

Three Former Sephora Execs Launch Luxe Activewear Brand //OUT

tFS: Activewear has exploded in the last few years — what are you doing to make your designs stand out?

OI: Being so entrenched in the corporate world, we were conscious of the constant wardrobe changes we made every day. We wanted to design garments which could literally take you from a day at the office to a flight to Bangkok to a walk on the treadmill…we care about our fitness and have always had a penchant for fashion and beauty given our backgrounds, however, the garb currently available on the market certainly wasn’t able to deliver what we were looking for. We also wanted to hit the gym in items sans the motivational motif and lime green detail. We wanted to stand out and show women it is OK to be sexy.

tFS: Many people are still wary of spending a lot of money on workout clothes, so how do you justify the price?

OI: California has a certain laid-back cool, which we just fell in love with. The lifestyle is perfect for our aesthetic as women want to have clothing which looks fashion-forward, however, is resilient enough to withstand the knocks, spills and wear associated with everyday life as well as working out. For a long time, women have become accustomed to wearing activewear outside the gym. You just have to look inside any cafe, in the malls on the weekend or at school drop-off to notice that women have fallen in love with the flexibility of activewear. What we wanted to stop, however, was the apologies. Many times we have heard women confess, “So sorry about the gym attire…” It inspired us to create a line which has a directional edge and forces the question, “What is fashion versus fitness?”

tFS: How do you balance design and function when coming up with new designs?

OI: Our process is one of collaboration. The three of us design together in order to make sure we are considerate of various aesthetics and body shapes. We also do a great deal of research into fabric technology. All of our garments are performance grade; they’re breathable, wick away moisture, are antimicrobial and most importantly, all are machine washable. No dry cleaning required here! 

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tFS: You just launched for Fall 2014 and the clothes have already been spotted on celebrities — how did those opportunities come about and did you notice a correlation with sales?

OI: We have been very fortunate to have garnered a good following for our little brand. We love working with anyone who is willing to make a statement when it comes to their activewear. One of our most important collaborations and partnerships, however, has been with our trainers. We have had some fabulous and fashionable fitness trainers, including Katherine Greiner and Lisa Pruett, wear our garments. This is important to us as a fashion label whose heart really does lie in the gym.

tFS: What are the most important things to consider when shopping for activewear?

OI: You really do get what you pay for when it comes to activewear. It’s pretty easy to head to the high street and grab a pair of cotton tights, but whether you will feel comfortable working out in them is another matter. Having different fitness interests means we have had to use a couple of different fabrics to make sure we can all get active in style. There are a couple of core performance fabric benefits, however, which remain consistent throughout our entire line. Our tights all have four-way stretch for compression and ease of movement, they are antimicrobial and breathable. In addition, all of our fabrics have excellent moisture management properties allowing them to wick moisture away from the body. Very importantly for California is that all of our garments are chlorine-safe and quick-drying, which means you can even swim in them.