The luxe fitness fashion brand that doesn’t make basic black leggings

For fashion brand Vie Active, it's all about chic prints, performance fabrics we'd never think up, and a super-cool Bondi Beach approach to fitness.
Merino wool tank and black leopard leggings (Photo: Vie Active)

“I knew that there had to be something other than Lycra,” says Noa Ries, describing the day she found herself (yet again) wearing her sticky activewear at 4:00 in the afternoon “and feeling completely daggy.” Translation: totally uncool and unfashionable.

The Brazilian Butterfly collection (Photo: Vie Active)

But it was this very day, and its not-very-glam feeling, that gave Ries, an online advertising maven and a fitness trainer, her “Aha moment” for creating Vie Active, the high-end fitness fashion brand she launched in Bondi Beach, a hot bed of healthy living in Sydney, in 2012.

Now the Australian fitness fashion entrepreneur and her husband and business partner, Bryan (a serious competitive skiier and corporate tech whiz) are focusing on the company’s U.S. presence and a retail site. And they can’t wait to dress more women who are hungry for chic-and-active pieces around the globe.

A finesse with fabric

Vie Active marches to the beat of its own fashion drum, going without the best-selling staple of every single fitness fashion brand—the solid black legging.

Instead, the brand focuses on heart-rate-elevating prints—such as Snow Leopard and Brazilian Butterfly to the new Lava—that stand out on the fitness scene and in the studio.

But it’s Vie’s fabrics that are sheer brilliance, such as Merino wool tanks that “don’t react to sweat, feel light, never stink, and keep you warm in cooler climates and cool in a clammy environment,” Ries explains. They also don’t itch, I noticed.

Snow Leopard prints, in a breathable F3 compression fabric that even keeps you cool in summer. (Photo: Vie Active)

Compression pieces are the focus of the rest of the collection, and they’re made with Vie’s own F3 Supplex, “a superior nylon and Lycra spandex,” she explains.

It’s used in Vie’s signature pieces, like the easy-on, easy-off front-zip Lori sports bras, and extremely soft tights and crops that wick like a dream and hold you in without being boa-constrictor-like.

The collection, which ranges from $85 for tanks and sports bras to $130 for leggings and $215 for jackets, feels curated and purposeful, like a French woman’s closet (by way of the Flatiron District).

The smoking hot Lava print. (Photo: Vie Active)

Getting dressed for work(outs)

“I missed the experience of getting dressed up to go to work, which I kind of relished when I was working in advertising,” she confesses. “I realized there had to be a way I could live and workout with intensity and yet still look and feel fashionable and chic all day long.” Ries didn’t want to have to choose—and she thinks that’s a fashion philosophy resonating with women globally.

Black Leopard Lori sports bra and Tanya dance shorts (Photo: Vie Active)

The philosophy she’s referring to “is less about ‘here’s the latest tights and jacket,’” she says. “It’s more about, ‘here’s the latest green smoothie, here are the benefits of a barre workout, here’s five exercises to do while you’re traveling’.”

For the Rieses, the clothes are a way to convey the Bondi Beach lifestyle and its healthy, holistic kind of living “with the latest trends and inspirations in wellness, with a very Australian perspective,” she says.

“People think it’s strange to work out in wool,” she acknowledges, but it’s addicting. Especially for women who have busy life and don’t have time for five outfit changes,” Ries says. (Photo: Vie Active Maya Scoop Tank in Merino)

And they’ll be sharing more of that inspiration as they try the beach at Santa Monica on for size, as Noa and Bryan relocate their family and business to Los Angeles later this year. “There’s an unbelievable energy and passion for fitness in the States,” she notes.

Vie Active’s Noa Ries created the clothes she wanted to work out in—and she puts them through their paces with high intensity interval training, running (either on the sand at Bondi Beach or with one of my daughters in the pram) and during barre workouts. (Photo: Vie Active)

“Global sales for the sports fitness and clothing industry are projected to reach $180 billion value by 2018. The U.S. is obviously a huge market and so the opportunity is really rather significant. We’re definitely going to seize the opportunity and be part of this fitness moment.” —Melisse Gelula

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