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How Alo became the yoga world’s most photographed fashion brand


Alo Yoga
Photos: Alo

What do all Instagram yogis have in common (aside from a fondness for forearm stands)?

More often than not, it seems, their wardrobes consist largely of pieces from Alo—you know, the yoga clothing brand known for its see-them-everywhere leggings (namely, the legwarmer-style Goddess and quilted Moto), strappy-backed bras and tanks, and outerwear with a Helmut Lang edge.

There’s never been a shortage of places to score a piece of Alo—it’s basically available everywhere, from online, to department stores and boutique fitness studios—but on April 20, the brand finally got a brick-and-mortar home base to call its own when it unveiled its first flagship store in Beverly Hills.

The brand that build online buzz by seeding leggings to yogis debuts its first flagship store in Beverly Hills for IRL shopping and rooftop classes.

The massive 8,000-square-foot space isn’t just remarkable for its size (although, with a footprint that spans nearly half the length of a city block at the corner of Canon Drive and Brighton Way, it’s pretty impressive). It’s also the first time that fans will get a full picture of what the brand’s all about—a story that has always been somewhat of a mystery, despite the fact that its apparel is so ubiquitous.

Alo Beverly Hills

Yoga clothes named for air, land, and ocean

Alo made its debut in 2008 at the hands of high-school buddies Danny Harris and Marco DeGeorge, who have run a t-shirt production company together since the early ’90s.

“Marco and I are two garmentos that were saying to ourselves, we’re making this clothing but it’s not really representing who we are,” Harris tells me. “Both of us practice yoga, both of us eat organic and live this alternative lifestyle. How can we have a brand that really speaks to us?”

And with that, Alo was born as a women’s yoga apparel line. With a name that reflects the elements of air, land, and ocean (get it?), “the concept was really about protecting and respecting those elements,” says Harris. “Because in order to have a clean practice and a clean mind, you have to have a clean environment.”

That green ethos starts with the brand’s Downtown LA HQ, which is decked out with energy-efficient lighting and windows, electric car charging stations in the parking lot, and an ultra-comprehensive recycling program that encompasses everything from fabric scraps and yarns to plastics and cardboards. (“We essentially have zero landfill [waste],” says Harris).

In the beginning, the clothes themselves were made from organic cottons and bamboos, but the brand eventually decided to take a more performance-driven route—just in time for the social media revolution.

Alo Spring 2016

An Insta-star is born

Team Alo works closely with pro yogis to develop its fits and fabrications, and what they increasingly started to demand were technical, compression fabrics that stay put, remain opaque, and hold everything in during complex yoga transitions—something that’s obviously become more important in the social media age, wherein perfectly styled, acrobatic poses are a quick route to success.

Alo’s clearly delivered on that desire. Today, the #aloyoga Instagram hashtag is a veritable who’s who of yogis with 5- and 6-figure follower counts, all pictured performing advanced asanas in the brand’s sometimes gifted gear. (Celebs like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are into Alo, too).

“The performance attributes of the product and the attention we give to fit and function are really like no other,” says Harris when asked why yogis are so enamored with Alo. “The lifestyle that they live, we also live. Alo doesn’t stand for everything—we’re not doing rock climbing or biking. We’re the yoga brand that will take you from studio to street.”

Caitlin Turner, a yogi who’s best known for her Gypset Goddess blog and Instagram account (with nearly 300,000 followers) concurs. “I love Alo because I can always count on their clothing to feel as amazing as it looks when I’m wearing it,” says Turner, who also models for the brand’s catalogs and designed a capsule collection with them for spring 2016. “I appreciate their mission to respect our planet while also making awesome yoga clothing.”

Alo Beverly Hills

The next chapter

All of that influencer cred has clearly paid off, since 2016 is shaping up to be Alo’s biggest year yet—the new destination store is kicking off a wave of retail expansion that’s set to encompass 19 more US locations over the next five years.

The inaugural space (which is partially solar-powered) will be home to Alo’s entire women’s and men’s collections, plus some pieces that will be exclusive to the flagship. Shoppers will also be privy to books, APL shoes, Caeden headphones, Jiva Apoha oils, and organic eats—food by Café Gratitude, juices by The Raw Juicery, and a coffee bar powered by Stumptown. There’s also a rooftop deck with an alfresco lounge area and a yoga studio, where you can attend classes, demos, and events held in collaboration with likeminded brands (the schedule is still TBC).

“The Beverly Hills store is a sanctuary where people can feel and see what we’re all about,” says Harris. “We’re all familiar with Alo from seeing it on the yoga instructor in the class, but to actually have a tangible place to walk inside and experience it is pretty unique.” As for the opportunity to test out your new Goddess leggings in standing split, without anyone giving you side-eye? Priceless.

 Alo, 370 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills, CA, 323-727-2005, aloyoga.com

Are you inspired to perfect your backbend yet? Break in your new Alo outfit with this heart-opening yoga sequence by Colleen Saidman Yee or  this four-step training plan by Shauna Harrison.