It’s probably safe to say that after nearly a year of various stages of lockdown, endless Zoom meetings and barely leaving the house, athleisure is here to stay. Even once life resumes a more normal pace, clothing that blends comfort and style while seamlessly fitting in with the rest of your wardrobe isn’t likely to go out of style.
“Athleisure is here to stay because it’s a huge industry and it offers fashion and style no matter the occasion,” affirms Suzette Chambers, founder of Fast Life, one of several local athleisure brands to recently enter the space.
Alesha Rayoff-Pearce, who founded The Quarterly with friend Michelle Goldman shares Chambers’ sentiments. “Athleisure offers work life balance, plus improved productivity.”
Gone are the days of oversized sweatpants and ill-fitting leggings. Today’s offerings are made for more than lounging. Athleisure has become a helping hand to busy humans trying to balance Zoom school, grocery runs, actual work and who knows what else – something that Rayoff-Pearce and Goldman are very conscious of.
“Our vision is really to blur boundaries between functional activewear and street style,” Rayoff-Pearce says. “We imagine the elements of a full day and a full life and what you’ll need to wear to survive and thrive.”
Athleisure is also more likely to suit a wide range of body types, with the potential to offer both comfort and style, no matter size or shape – an important factor for Chambers. She was inspired to start Fast Life after having trouble finding leggings and tops that were comfortable and looked great at the same time.
“Fast Life is a unique brand because we offer comfort and style and take pride in showcasing all women no matter their shape or size,” she explains. In fact, she prefers to use customer photos to show that real women are wearing the brand and not Instagram models.
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With The Quarterly, Rayoff-Pearce says they also considered how to help women more efficiently get through the day. “Whether you’re squeezing in a workout before or after a school drop-off, or doing a yoga class at home and heading into the office, we curate looks to get you through it all.”
In terms of response, both Chambers and Rayoff-Pearce say that sales have been excellent.
“My clothing brand is doing exceptionally well. The reception has been better than expected and we can hardly keep the store stocked,” says Chambers. “Women supporting women is a real movement, not to mention being a Canadian brand makes customers feel better as they are supporting the local economy.”
Rayoff-Pearce adds, “Michelle and I are so thankful and grateful for all the support and love we’ve been shown. People have shown up for us and that’s a big part of our success. They’ve believe in what we are doing and helped lift us up.”