We caught up with Natalie Lane, founder of one of our favourite Australian Activewear labels, Pilot Athletic.
Who founded the label? Why?
Pilot Athletic was founded by myself in 2012. It was inspired by what I thought was a glaring hole in the market for athleisure aimed at woman that have a penchant for quality and are looking for pieces that can help them get through their day without significant wardrobe changes. I wanted to put together a collection that would appeal to woman who live a dynamic active lifestyle, but don’t want to necessarily look like they’re stuck in their gym pieces. The garments we make are sophisticated, luxurious and can be worn in a way that will take you through your busy day without compromising on style.
What is your brand story, what defines “Pilot”?
The name Pilot was inspired firstly by my love for aviation – I have been a keen aviator since the age of 16 (albeit that I haven’t taken to the sky in recent years). However, I wanted to create a brand that espoused the feeling that I received throughout my flight training – you know that ultimate sense of achievement you feel when you are pursuing something for yourself. I think the word pilot is innately about personal empowerment and that is what being part of the Pilot team means.
What inspires and fuels the creation of the label?
I am inspired by many things, the textures of fabric, the tangible luxury of beautiful trims and detailing. I am inspired to create fabulous garments that I know woman will love to wear and make them feel comfortable and confident. We are not fashion churners here. There is genuinely love and passion behind this label and I hope that care reflects in our ranges. I am personally driven to create this label into an entity that will create a life for my daughter and I that I can be truly proud of.
Where are you designed and manufactured?
We design locally and manufacture in China and Sri Lanka. I always harboured the desire to make an Australian-made label, but I was quickly disillusioned by the lack of manufacturing and local resources. It quickly became evident that a local based range was not possible (and this has nothing to do with prices, rather the lack of industry to achieve things). Having said that, I am currently investigating options that may allow us to make parts of our collection domestically.
Tell us about your fabrics – what would be best for super sweaty hot yoga?
I am a big fan of nylon versus polyester. We have a nylon/tactel range of compression that is super supportive and quick drying – and looks hot too!
Where is the label headed? What are you excited about in the future?
We are currently moving into our eighth season and I think we have a proven formula that has given me the confidence to start looking for volume opportunities. We are keen to align ourselves with a volume retailer both domestically as well as overseas. We are also keen to roll out our retail footprint domestically.
What makes Australia special?
Australian is a hub for many special brands and being a sporting country it makes sense that activewear and athleisure would figure in that. We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth and lead lifestyles that allow us to enjoy these beautiful things. Shop the Collection.