The Prism Squared
When London-based creative director Anna Laub started Prism more than a decade ago, the brand only product was sleek, modern eyeglasses. Since then, the brands has expanded to include resort and swimwear, as well as activewear, under the Prism Squared line. After a lot of research, she came up with her own signature knit, which she now uses in all of her designs. It’s used in everything from sports bras with ribbed cups to leotards with sleeves that go all the way to the hem. The fabric is made from a blend of strong and elastic fibers. It is quick-drying and chlorine-resistant, making it very useful. Laub says that “everything can be used for swimming, sports, underwear, or shapewear.” Because of the fabric, powerful fits can be made without the need for traditional underwiring. Sustainability is also important to her. Each collection is made in Italy with 3-D knitting techniques that result in less waste. Laub says that clothes that can be used for more than one thing encourage people to “buy better and buy less.”
When the designer Kerhao Yin became the creative director of Vaara in 2020, he wanted to make clothes that could be used for many different things but also look “more elegant than technical,” he says. It was started in 2015 by Tatiana Korsakova, an entrepreneur who made color-blocked leggings. The line now focuses on the people who wear brand, not the logos and flashy athletic motifs that many other brands use. A woman can go from home to work, then the gym, then a nite out. Yin said this. It’s important that all of our pieces look good together at all of these events. It’s for this reason that he and Korsakova focus on performance fabrics like jerseys and knits that can move and adapt well in a wide range of places. And now, the brand has full collections that include fashion-forward pieces like oversized wool anoraks, nylon bubble skirts, and gathered cotton dresses. These pieces work well with the brands’ workout clothes, like rib-knit tanks and scoop-neck bodysuits made from recycled yarn. “We don’t make things just for the sake of making them.”
Full Court Game
Marguerite Wade, a creative director and avid tennis player, was disappointed by the lack of women’s tennis clothes that were both functional and fun. She decided to start her own company, Full Court Sport, in 2014. Perforated stretch-knit dresses with neon trim, jersey sports bras with crossover straps, and jersey shorts and leggings in shades of cornflower blue and dusty pink are just some of the pieces in the line, which is made in Portland, Ore. A lot of people are interested in tennis now, but it wasn’t always this way. “It’s funny to think that when I started the line, it was thought of as a very specific area that needed a lot of explanation.” If you live in 2020, the brand made clothes for tennis player Kim Clijsters when she played in the US Open. It started working with Net-a-Porter last year, and in the spring it will work with Nordstrom to make clothes for more people. When it comes to the company, Wade says, “it’s a project that never stops.”
Over the last two years, Gauge81, a brand based in Amsterdam, has become a popular source for minimal ’90s-themed evening wear brands. Now, the company’s founder, Monika Silva, has added more services to meet the needs of her customers during the day. In November, she released her first line of activewear, which includes body-hugging bodysuits with cross-backs, supportive high-waisted leggings, and cropped hooded sweatshirts in black, white, and cerulean. They’re all made for different types of exercise. It can be used for any high-performance sport, as well as more studio-based activities like yoga and Pilates. Silva, who has worked in knitwear for more than a decade, made sure that each piece was both breathable and moisture-wicking. “The pieces are knit together rather than cut and sewn together, which is more common,” she says. This allows them to be very compressive and move freely. Clothing feels like a second skin.
When Patrick and Bryan Toh, who live in Manila and have backgrounds in architecture and finance, first talked about making a line of technical clothing, they looked to Filipino culture for ideas. Using ideas of tranquility and spirituality as well as the bustling energy of their home city, they started Future Relics in 2019. They wanted to make workout clothes that were easy to use and adaptable, but also new and interesting. Patrick: “We make and choose fabrics that will work well for high-intensity activities.” Beside, we also want the clothes to be easy to wear brands when you’re relaxing. Open-back sports bras, racer-back crop tops, and perfectly cut leggings are some of the best-selling items. They come in soft, earthy colors like slate gray and burnt sienna, which are a break from the bright colors and patterns that are often used by athleisure lines. If we want to be environmentally friendly, we look for recycled materials, work with vendors who have sustainability built into their supply chains, or reuse old fabrics.