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Affordable and stylish, these home-grown fitness clothes can be worn to the gym or out and about
By Samantha Francis
If you exercise regularly or you’re a fitness junkie, chances are, you’ve probably spent more on your workout apparel than you’d like to admit.
Instead of going for the bigger and possibly exorbitant international brands, why not look closer to home for something suitable yet fashionable?
An increasing number of home-grown active-wear la-bels have popped up in recent years, each one with a distinct style. Whether you’re a yogi, a marathon runner or simply love to exercise and look good while doing it, you’ll be able to find something local that’s functional, affordable and trendy.
Ohsosom — Vibrant Hand-drawn Prints
Tunku Khalsom’s love affair with yoga and fitness led her to start a label that is uniquely Asian, in a market saturated with fitness apparel from the US and Australia. Inspired by art, each piece of apparel is hand-drawn by Tunku, who was previously an interior designer.
The tops feature tongue-in-cheek phrases referring to various yoga asanas (postures) whereas the leggings come in a variety of vibrant designs ranging from rainbow stripes, pineapple prints, to even floral patterns inspired by Peranakan heritage. Ohsosom’s leggings are priced from $92 to $98, while tops cost about $40 each.
Ohsosom’s apparel is moisture-wicking and features flat-lock seams, making the clothes suitable for a wide range of activities such as running, cross-fit, stand-up paddling, spinning or even a night out with friends.
K.Blu — Luxury Swimwear to Active Gear
K.Blu stands out for its high-quality fabrics, intricate prints as well as cuts that are suitable for the petite Asian frame.
Originally a luxury swimwear company started by owner and designer Lyn Rosmarin, the label has since expanded to include fitness wear. According to Lyn, a lot of her customers advocate healthy living and have requested for the label’s prints to be on yoga pants.
Currently, the K.Blu Swim collection can be worn for swimming, yoga and lounging by the pool whereas the K.Blu Active range can be worn for running, yoga, Pilates and leisure.
The Active range has been created with the help of yoga instructors, based on trial feedback on what works best for them. Colourful filigree designs and ethnic prints feature heavily on the apparel, which are printed on two-way stretch material for a streamlined silhouette.
Designs with solid colours start from $60 and long pants with prints start from $170.
Om Republic — A Touch of Oriental Chic
If you’re a fan of workout gear with clean lines and simple designs, Om Republic will suit your style. Started in 2009 by avid yoga-practitioner Min Sim, Om Republic is inspired by her experiences from both yoga and Chinese classical dance.
Min noticed that the vast majority of fitness apparel in the market is made with synthetic fabric, with a hard-edged aesthetic that didn’t seem to complement yoga, Pilates or dance. Her desire for workout clothes that embrace a softer look to mirror the calming effects of such activities led her to start her own label.
The label’s designs showcase what she calls “Modern Oriental Chic” — featuring trims and intricate frog buttons that are reminiscent of the cheongsam, as well as silhouettes that are modelled after South Asian tunics. Prices start from $49 for tops and $63 for leggings.
Eat Play Gear — Transit From Workout to Play
Started by a team of certified Pilates instructors and trained fashion designers, Eat Play Gear (EPG) was conceived with the mission to connect with people on their fitness journeys. Being fitness enthusiasts themselves, the designers pay close attention to the support and comfort of their apparel through quality workmanship.
EPG’s apparel ranges from multi-coloured printed tops to sleek basics, and is suitable for both low-intensity activities like yoga and Pilates to high-intensity workouts such as kick boxing. The clothes are affordably priced, from $39.90 to $59.90.
If you like meeting friends after a gym session, you’d be happy to know that EPG gear is stylish enough for a seamless transition from workout to hang out.
Naked Wear — Designs Inspired by Customers
Strength and beauty are the words that come to mind when you see Naked Wear’s designs, modelled on the e-retailer site by fit and confident ladies. Started by Jaemi Leong, the label aims to be an affordable and well-designed op-tion for Asian women.
The designs have been vigorously tested under intense exercise conditions and are suitable for cardio-related sports such as running, high-intensity workouts like cross-fit, aerial sports such as pole dancing and acro-yoga, and even water sports like windsurfing and snorkelling.
Customer feedback is imperative for Naked Wear, whose designs are inspired by conversations with customers on what they like as well as the latest trends. Priced from $39.90 to $52 for sports bras and $60 to $70 for a pair of leggings, the designs are not only stylish — think mesh details and panelled back — but also quality-driven with moisture-wicking and anti-bacterial properties.