Just a few years ago, it was avant-garde to show up to your spin class in a pair of bright blue capris. But nowadays you can wear anything from python-printed leggings to Ryan Gosling emblazoned spandex and people will barely do a double take.
And Los Angeles has emerged as a hotbed for those fashion-forward fitness prints, with brands going for style, function, and whimsy (think unicorns, clouds, and watermelons). Kimberly Swarth, founder of the LA-based Onzie, says it has to do with the lifestyle. “Los Angeles is not only a fashion hub,” she explains. “It is truly an epicenter of active living.” Call it fitness fashion kismet.
Here, in no particular order, are five of the hottest LA brands leading the prints parade. (Good news: They all have national and international shipping.) —Molly Gallagher
Monet’s left the Metropolitan Museum…and ended up on your yoga mat? “Rather than having a painting in the confines of your home, why not wear it out?” enthuses Cher Park, the designer behind the bold art-and-pop-culture inspired brand.
Prints include everything from Van Gogh’s Roses to Monet’s Lilies—as well as less highbrow offerings, like watermelon, kittens, or even kale. Plus, everything’s made, designed, and manufactured in a 4,000 square-foot loft in downtown LA.
For more information, visit www.poprageous.com
Teeki’s got a chic hippie thing going on that’s made it an Instagram (and instructor) fave. Its founder, Lindsay Hemric, got started six years ago by making costumes for Burning Man—and all of her brand’s pants are made entirely from recycled water bottles (about 25 bottles go into each pair). “It’s always been a priority for me to ensure the highest environmental standard for anything I produce,” explains the green-minded designer. “Since I play in the woods and sea, it would be hypocritical and downright backwards to contribute any more to the hugely polluting fashion industry.”
For more information, visit www.teeki.com
Kiran Jade, founder of Wolven Threads—which launched earlier this year—makes organic cotton crop tops, sports bras, and harem pants in Indian-inspired prints that are perfect for a morning of yoga then post-class brunch.
“[People] are looking for clothes they’d want to wear in public, too,” Jade says. “I wanted to create clothes that are something you can wear to yoga, or in a more casual setting.” But while her dual-purpose styles have a decidedly exotic vibe, they’re all designed—and made—in LA.
For more information, visit www.wolventhreads.com
Onzie got its start with one-pieces—inspired by founder Kimberly Swarth’s Bikram-yoga-loving mom. But now the Venice-based brand also makes leggings, sports bras, tops, and sweatshirts (and still churns out some pretty cool leotards). The prints run the gamut, from a floral-and-geometric prism pattern to palm-tree-and-marble designs—because the brand’s all about honoring individuality.
“Our community of fans embodies a certain spirit—whether they’re mystical, conservative, earthy, spiritual, or just straight up kick-ass,” Swarth says. “We try to create prints that will speak to them.”
For more information, visit www.onzie.com
Suwon Weaver, one of Hard Tail’s designers, thinks the patterned trend exploded because women were just totally fed up with basic black. But Hard Tail’s actually been making printed leggings for more than 20 years, giving the brand a lot of time to perfect the ombré tie-dye look (and it’s looking really good right now).
“Printed leggings are a way to be more expressive and show a bit more style,” Weaver says. Keep calm and tie-dye on?
For more information, visit www.hardtailforever.com