Athleisure is literally everywhere. You didn’t think the African continent would be left behind on this trend, did you? It’s not often that fashion throws out the ‘beauty is pain’ slogan and makes comfort trendy. Looking and feeling good is ultimate fashion freedom and we’re looking at the African brands that have already tapped into this market. According to research by Euromonitor, South Africa has seen a growth of 36% in Athleisure over the last five years. They estimate that the industry will make up 54% of the total sportswear category in 2021. Here are some proudly South African athleisure brands that stand out in this trend so far:
According to research by Euromonitor, South Africa has seen a growth of 36% in Athleisure over the last five years. They estimate that the industry will make up 54% of the total sportswear category in 2021.
Founded by two friends, Mari Rabi – a double Olympic South African Triathlete – and Annelize Kotze – a fashion designer, this brands wants women to feel beautiful as they train. Kotze is in charge of creating style for the dynamic woman while Rabi ensures its functional attributes are top notch. It’s this ‘strong is beautiful’ ethos that inspires their attention to detail, as well as, their incorporation of little surprises into their apparel. This could be a subtle rose-gold foil print, a hidden pocket or simple pretty stitching on the side. This brand doesn’t just empower the women who wear it, but the women who make it as well. Designed and manufactured locally, they even choose to work with local young entrepreneurs such as graphic designers, stylists and photographers. Whether it’s their nautical swimzie, zepants hot pants or their Grecian jumpsuit made from micro active fabric, you can transition through your day effortlessly and live up to their motto, “do your thing, do it unapologetically and always, movepretty.”
Fashion designer, Anthea Rozen-Zindel started Boost Gymwear in 2003 to address the lack of functional and fashionable in South Africa’s fitness market. She has unbelievable understanding of the lingerie, stretch fabric, fitting and body wear market thanks to her previous roles as Lingerie designer for Woolworths (Marks & Spencer) South Africa, Buying Manager for Truworths Lingerie and Swimwear Groups and Export Director for Cape Underwear Manufacturers. Experience that probably influenced Boost to be a fitness apparel that can customize any colour and fit online order. Whether you need it lengthened or shortened, a specific colour or combination of colours, or a complete customized order to suit your proportions, it’s all possible for any of their designs available on their website.
Nicole Retief – a yoga teacher – and Chris Retief – a graphic designer and photographer, teamed up to run a digital garment printing company. Their USP is their choice to be eco-friendly, working with environmentally friendly ink and 100% locally-made cotton. Added bonus is their motivational and inspirational slogans, with a touch of humour, on all their apparel to keep the wearer going and striving for success.
This mother-daughter duo started the brand in 2015 for women who wanted to live, work and play in true style. They were inspired by a Pilates, yoga and barre class they attended whilst overseas, where they saw fitness apparel that strayed from the usual monochrome offering. Thus, this brand works with bright hues and playful prints, not to mention, charismatic photography that captures the freeing element of athleisure. If that doesn’t sell you, their prices that are motivational enough to get you up and doing something. In their own words, “We love being lady bosses and being able to empower women out there to feel confident and comfortable wearing colour while working out!”
This brand is all about Eco awareness. Two active women, Rochele le Roux and Leigh Sarembrock, approached athleisure with eco-awareness and the spirit of adventure. Wanting clothes that matched their lifestyles, the embarked on research to find breathable environmentally friendly fabrics. Their solution: PET (post-consumer recycled plastic bottles) woven with spandex to create the ultimate yoga pants. The result is a soft fabric that is breathable and wicks moisture effectively for quick drying effects. Their tanks and pants are exclusively designed with 50% UV protection, which ensures the vibrant designs and colours will not fade or run. They even have yoga pants that are suitable for salt-water adventures, as well as yoga. Purchasing any of the ‘I AM WATER’ leggings sees 10% of the proceeds going towards the ‘I AM WATER’ Ocean Conservation. In addition, they pledge one tree for every three ‘Jungle Fever’ leggings sold.
We’re sold on the name but for detail purposes, this whimsical approach to fashion and working out is by two Durban friends, Chuzzy and Daisy. While they import the high-end Poly Spandex, they sew, cut and print everything else in Durban, South Africa. The pride themselves in their OCD nature when it comes to overseeing pattern making and execution, to ensure no baggy ankles or saggy bottoms will make it onto their online platform. Their pieces are limited edition, so if you fall in love with a piece, swoop it up immediately. Apart from their happy-go-lucky nature, they carry sizes up to plus size, so everyone’s welcome.
Traditionally, he isn’t an athleisure designer. But for the Lexus South African Menswear Week AW17, Craig Jacobs put his tribal spin on athleisure staples. This includes slim-fit trousers and the bomber jacket. His line encouraged the fraternising of colour and print; rules be damned. Thankfully, the outcome was eye-catchingly good.
Sadly we didn’t stumble across many men’s athleisure from the country. And we know that there are many more women’s and children’s athleisure brands popping up each day. Know of one or five? Tag us on social media or share with us in the comment section below.