Sweat it! The activewear brands worth working out in
Activewear brands for feeling and looking good in, whether you’re perfecting your posture or beating your personal best
Amp up your activewear now.
Reformation has long flexed its eco-aware credentials, and now the Los Angeles-based brand has bought even more sustainable stretch to its designs. This week sees tha launch of Reformation’s first activewear collection, which features bodysuits, bralettes, leggings and biker shorts. These pieces are crafted with EcoMove and EcoStretch, two fabrics suitable for high energy and low impact workouts, that use Repreve, a fiber formed from 100% recycled plastic bottles. Repreve fabrics are also 100% traceable through every part of their supply chain, from raw material to finished goods. What’s more, producing the fabric uses 45% less energy, 20% less water, and 30% less GHG Emissions than virgin polyester, a common material used in activewear. Now when you next work out, you’ll feel even more uplifted.
Scandinavian simplicity and American energy define LA-based label Anine Bing - two tenets which its founder has incorporated into the label’s first activewear collection. The offering of sporty separates includes logo emblazoned sweats and moisture wicking sports bras and leggings which are designed to be styled with off-duty wardrobe staples, including shirting and blazers. An additional essential for your overhauled active wear? Bing also offers a stainless steel thermal bottle with copper vacuum insulation, for instant hydration with a side of chic.
It’s fitting that the work of British print designer Ed Curtis has been picked up by a fitness brand; after all, he works in a physical and active way. ‘My work is process-based and manual, created without any technology involved,’ he explains. Curtis’ hands-on approach has most recently been applied to a line of active wear by Lululemon: sweat-wicking high rise leggings, sports bras, running shorts and accessories, including a printed towel, scrunchie and reversible bucket hat, feature his energetic graphics. Curtis custom developed a print that gave the appearance of speed by applying paint to paper with rapidity, resulting in a motion-blurred kaleidoscope of blue, pink and yellow. Dynamic black and grey zigzags, plus cerise and black marbling also feature. Catch them if you can.
If anything’s going get us moving and grooving in January, it’s London-based accessories and swimwear label Prism’s Prism² collection. The brand’s offering of seamless separates are multifunctional, and can be worn to work out, swim or simply lounge around. Chlorine-and-heat-resistant, quick-dry, stretchy and supportive, the 3D-knitted pieces – which originally launched last year – are now available in a range of new tones, including olive, dusty pink and slate grey, and include crop tops, leggings, racer back vests and spaghetti strap one-pieces. Going for your morning stroll or settling down to stretch has never looked (or felt) so good.
Daria Stankiewicz, founder of Venice-based swimwear label Lido - looks to a range of artists for inspiration, from Ellsworth Kelly to Donald Judd. For the brand’s debut activewear collection, Stankiewicz looked to the hues present in the work of Franz Erhard Walther. ‘Most of my research into colour comes from contemporary art,’ she explains. The collection features long sleeve tops, leggings and sports bras in burnt orange, pops of turquoise and petrol blue. ‘After being limited to my apartment I felt the urge to move,’ Stankiewicz says of the inspiration behind the line. ‘Aside from running, which wasn’t always possible this year, I have learned to love exercising through online videos.’ For the designer, function is key, and Lido’s leggings feature pockets for keys and coins. ‘I always stop at a café to have a coffee and respond to emails before I run!’ she says. When pressed about a stylish sporting icon, she muses, ‘Does Princess Diana count?’
The London-based brand’s serving of ‘soft sport apparel’, is suited to a range of activity from yoga to barre, running to reformer pilates. For A/W 2020, Vaara founder Tatiana Korsakova has also proposed a range of warming active wear essentials for keeping you cosy when exercising outside or snuggling into post digital studio workout on the sofa. We’re warming towards the brand’s scarf ponchos, rib knit sweaters and waist cinching bodysuits, imagined in timeless tones like black, maroon and navy.
In today’s uncertain era, self-care has never been more important, and we’re focused on taking time to relax the both the mind and body. Lucky for us, when we next practice our flow, we’ll be feeling stress free in Arket’s newest yoga collection, an offering of bodysuits, rib knit bralettes and body suits with smooth seamless constructions. Whether you’re working out at home or heading back to a studio, you’ll be the envy of other class attendees or those on a live workout call.
When Kenzo Takada arrived in Paris from Japan in a whirlwind of easy cottons, kimono shapes and colourful shawls in 1964, he ushered in a stiff upper lip-subverting aesthetic that encouraged easy movement. Now, Felipe Oliveira Baptista - who took the creative helm of the house last summer, has celebrated that sensibility, with the launch of Kenzo Sport - an energetic men’s and women’s collection of active wear, that includes puffer jackets and windbreakers, t-shirts and crop tops. The styles feature graphic emblems, technical details and colour-blocked flourishes, guaranteed to ensure you stand out when breaking a socially distanced sweat.
Full Court Sport
Today, former world number 1 Kim Clijsters returns to the US Open. The Belgian star – who announced her second professional retirement in 2012 – will be making a style grand slam, sporting custom tennis gear designed by Full Court, the black and woman-owned sports label founded by Marguerite Wade in 2014. ‘I’m a longtime fan and I’ve always loved Kim’s quiet intensity. I recognise a similar determination in myself when I launched Full Court Sport. I’m both excited and inspired by Kim’s comeback, especially her choice to return to pro tennis, once again, as a champion and a mother. Full Court Sport is honoured to be along for this ride with Kim,’ says the label’s founder of the winning collaboration. Should you also feel enticed to reach for your racket, we recommended gearing up in the brand’s sports bras and tennis skirts in dusty rose tones and dresses and sweatshirts in eye-catching teal. If your hand eye coordination is lacking, at least you’ll be scoring points when it comes to style.
There’s a sensuality behind the Paris-based label’s active wear designs, unsurprising when you learn its roots lie in a corset maison which, instead of constraining women, encouraged streamlined and easy movement. Leoty’s S/S 2020 offering boasts a host of alluring designs, from plunging swimsuits to corset-inspired bodysuits, throw-on tank tops to cycling shorts in magenta, cerise and taupe. Leoty’s collections are produced in European factories which are leaders in sportswear, using eco-aware practises and fabrics.
A new 15 piece capsule collections marks COS’ first move into activewear, and it’s scoring high energy style points. Not only are the pieces - which range from colour blocked leggings to cagoules, sweaters to cycle shorts - available in an array of delectable shades like frosted pink and petrol, its fabrications are also sustainably sourced. Fit them into your self-care routine now, whether you favour a spot of relaxing yin yoga or an energetic HIT class from you living room.
Live The Process
In 2010, fashion PR Robyn Berkley took a year out from the mania of Manhattan, swapping its bustling streets for the beaches of Bali, where she trained as a yoga practitioner. There, inspired by her training as a dancer and gymnast, and her fascination with performance wear which was technical, but also bridged the gap between gym gear and a wardrobe staple, Berkley conceived the activewear label Live The Process. ‘There was nothing celebrating elegance and femininity,’ Berkley says of the aesthetic of the brand, co-founded with Jared Vere. Its first off-duty ballet dancer-inspired collection featured bodysuits and high-waisted leggings, in breathable, moisture-wicking, durable and body moulding fabrics that took two years to develop. Every piece is made in America.
For bold balletic style, think knitted crop tops, cut-out leotards and skinny flared trousers, layered with balletic ribbed cardigans and A-line skirts in retro, colour-blocked hues of claret, cream and tan. ‘We focused on the concept of radiant gems,’ Berkley explains of the tones. ‘Ruby is symbolic of nobility and divine creativity…Tigers Eye, our accent colour, increases vitality’. Machine washable knitwear provides exercisers with post-workout warmers and high performing seamless styles are 3D printed. ‘It was nine years ago when I closed my eyes during meditation in Bali wondering what to do next,’ Berkley enthuses. ‘And here we are today!’
‘My moodboard is an ongoing myriad of vintage fabric swatches and wool knit swimsuits from the 1920s through to the 60s like Rudi Gernreich pieces, mixed in with 90s fashion campaigns from Jil Sander and Alaïa to Sports Illustrated covers,’ says Laura-May Gibbs, co-founder of Australian activewear label Nagnata. For its Movemenet 004 collection, this means retro cropped sweaters, cycle shorts and spaghetti strap dresses in knitted checks, textural plaids and houndstooth jacquards in tropic green, neon pink and high alert red.
Gibbs and her sister Laura launched their sustainability-focused knitwear-focused label in 2017. Its core seamless collection is constructed from a super fine wool and Tencel blend, using Australian Merino – a natural, biodegradable and renewable fiber. ‘People don’t necessarily associate merino wool with sports but if you use the yarn in the right way it is incredible,’ Gibbs explains. The brand also adopt a zero-yarn waste approach, where pieces are constructed to shape using a flat-bed knitted technique, which eliminates excess fabric wastage.
‘It’s important to keep synthetics away from your skin, especially in your yoga or sports practice when your pores are wide open,’ Gibbs says. For autumn Nagnata have developed an elastic and soft knit construction of superfine Merino Wool wrapped around a high-stretch filament yarn, where only natural fibres touch the skin. ‘Our brand concept is based around studio-to-street style,’ she adds of the label’s new sensual dress shape. ‘Growing up I would go from yoga in the morning to work, then the beach for a swim after work and out for dinner, all without going home to dress.’