Athleisure & Social Responsibility

Intentionally and unintentionally, I’ve been taking a closer look at athleisure wear for both women and men. Unique perspectives:

  • A designer that makes structural and fabric decisions to pajama sets/rompers for wearability outside of the home
  • Women choose to wear yoga pants for things other than yoga, including travel (flying, driving, walking, etc.)
  • Men’s trend of brand loyalty once they find a fit that functions for their needs
  • Yogi’s that focus on the intention to be kind to themselves and non-harming to others as a key yogic ethical discipline
  • Most uniquely, how fitted yoga pants restrict the flow of chakras (I’m new to this thought process so I’ll keep you posted as I learn more)


Lauren Engelke, a sustainable stylist, invited me to do an IG Live chat. We spent time reviewing harmful chemicals found in virgin petroleum-based synthetics and how recycled polyester may be a better option to reduce waste, although polyester on the body can still be harmful. From flowy pants to fitted, athleisure focuses on versatility and, by default, being flattering to the body. Sustainable athleisure also focuses on affordability, ethics, and being soft to the touch. Here are three athleisure companies working hard on sustainability:

  • prAna – Clothing for yoga, travel & adventures – Progress Not Perfection
  • PACT – Super Soft Apparel | Affordable Organic Clothing‎
  • Boody US Eco Wear | Soft Comfy Essentials for Layering, Lounging… / Boody™ Eco Clothing – Comfortable, Breathable, Super Soft

One additional tip to keep in mind: I personally love super soft Tencel® and Modal fabrics, which have been around for 20+ years. Wood-based fabrics, viscose, gets a lot of negative press, so it is important for designers to follow and transparently share a two-step sustainable sourcing guide:

  • Lenzing-certified eucalyptus/beech tree man-made cellulosic fiber

  • Ethically and environmentally certified fabric manufacturers

Reformation does this very well with their comfy denim:

“This is a super stretch denim that was sustainably made with 57% Organic Cotton, 37% TENCEL™ Modal, 4% EME and 2% EA.”

Speaking of press, food-waste fabrics have been trending in 2018/2019. If you are a designer (or consumer) that is making (or seeking) athleisure, basics, undergarments, yoga gear, or quite frankly any clothing that is worn directly against the skin, you may want to check out Agraloop and also look at hemp industry waste fabric options. The technology has been evolving and will continue to evolve. Just 5-10 years ago, hemp was course, and didn’t hold elasticity similar to traditional polyester yoga fabric. And yet here we are, making use of this versatile eco fabric today. Check out REI to see lots of colorful hemp, soft hemp, blended with Tencel® hemp fabric. The win is that hemp adds nutrients to the soil as it grows and gives back as well as keeps you the shopper, sourcer, buyer safe with less to no toxins.

Written by Taryn Hipwell


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