Sweat it! The activewear brands worth working out in
Live The Process, lululemon x Roksanda and Nagnata are bringing a ready-to-wear sensibility to essential workout wear
It-workouts come and go – from strength classes inspired by animal motions to aerial fitness schools – but stylish, technical performance and activewear should stand the test of time. Whether you’re flying high on a trapeze or hopping in the form of a frog, we present three brands bringing a ready-to-wear sensibility to sportswear, perfect for bagging your personal best.
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 A/W 2019, 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!’
lululemon x Roksanda
For S/S 2020, Roksanda Ilinčić imbued her idiosyncractic colour-blocked eveningwear with an easy daytime elegance, pairing flowing gowns with sherbert yellow parkas and crushed metal yarn taffeta skirts with sweatshirts. Now the London-based designer has moved one step further into feel good, performance enhancing pieces with her collaboration with Canadian athletic label lululemon.
‘Now more than ever, women are focused on pushing boundaries. They’re looking for product that enhances the balance of style and function,’ Ilinčić says of the 16-piece collection, which features sleeping bag coats, bell sleeve jackets, leggings and quilted gym bags in mauve, tangerine and turquoise, topped off with intrepid hiking ropes. ‘They’re [women] looking for product that enhances the balance of style and function. lululemon’s codes mean each product has a strong sense of function—ultimately the wellbeing of the wearer.’
lululemon has collaborated with a host of fitness companies including SoulCycle and Barry’s Bootcamp, but this marks the label’s first luxury partnership. ‘We’re innovating in touch, temperature and movement through our proprietary technical fabrics, features including reflective details and packability,’ says Audrey Reilly, SVP, women’s design at lululemon. ‘Roksanda has a magical hand with colour and innately understands shape and volume. We were intrigued with the idea of understanding how to marry her brand codes with lululemon’s functionality.’
‘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.’ §