One caught up with the force behind Sydney based activewear label Running Bare, Yolanda Powell.
Who founded the label and why?
My parents started this business in 1983. My father (Brian) was/is a fabric expert and had been selling fabric to all the big fashion houses in Australia at the time. My mother (Corin), well . . .my mother is my mother. When you see her you understand it. She’s a fashionista from way back who has always had an amazing body and a keen fashion sense.
Mum had just had my sister and was getting her “body back” by doing dance/jazzercise classes at the time and didn’t think there was any fashionable activewear around, so seeing the hole in the market place they decided to give it a go.
Brian could sell ice to eskimo’s and Corin would look glamorous in a potato sack so Running Bare was born and now . . . 33 years later, here we are.
Running Bare is made by women, for women.
This means that our primary focus is to constantly push the boundaries by creating fierce fitness fashion that embraces superior performance, quality and design.
At RB HQ we always pride ourselves on the fact that you can always expect the unexpected.
I am very proud of the fact that Running Bare never looks like anyone else and that we have our own signature handwriting that is distinctly RB. Our collection is sexy but functional and always fiercely feminine. I like to work on the belief that if it’s a little bit crazy and ALOT fabulous, then we know we have a winner.
What inspires and fuels the creation of the label?
When we started in the 80’s and it was all about leg warmers and leotards so things were very different. Active wear has now moved beyond “Olivia Newton John & Lets Get Physical”. Women are wearing it day in and day out, almost like their own athleisure uniform. So we design our RB collection’s with the fitness-focused, fashion conscious female in mind. The woman that wears Running Bare ENJOYS fashion. For her fashion is fun and is not just limited to the outfit she is going to wear on a Saturday night but rather our RB woman wants her active wear to be an extension of who she is and what she stands for.
Ultimately what’s important for us is that we design for ALL women not a type of woman, so whoever you are, whatever size you are we make sure you are fiercely fashionable, feminine and above all, functional. And for us that works.
Tell us about your fabrics – which would be best for super sweaty hot yoga?
Our Running Bare fabrics always focus on the performance element while still ensuring they feel luxurious. Because of this necessity we often develop our own exclusive fabrications with our fabric mills. They range from fabrics with moisture management technology as well as a variety of performance finishes.
We utilise finishes that have an anti-microbial treatment; to fabrics that are highly breathable, quick drying, that have optimum fabric memory for stretch and recovery; incredible colour hold; and high elastane content for muscle compression. I think a lot of people don’t realise what a time consuming and long process developing performance fabrics takes.
You have to source; develop; sample; test; test and re-test to ensure that the fabrication is up to our RB standard for performance fabrics. Once we have the fabric right then we make sure we pair the correct fabrications with the best suited silhouettes to ensure the most flattering fit on the body.
We recently developed a new luxurious fabric with one of our fabric mills that we have coined RB VIXEN. It has 28% elastane in it so its incredibly flattering and feels amazing on the body. Almost like you are wearing nothing, which is ideal for sweaty yoga sessions. We feel VIXEN encompasses the athleisure look beautifully so as a result this is one of my new favourite fabrics to work with.
Our seamless silhouettes would also work well for your hot box, super sweaty yoga. Our seamless pieces are made form a lightweight fabrication from a yarn that comes from Israel and then we treat our seamless fabric with a moisture wicking finish, which will be everyone’s favourite feature after your super sweaty yoga sessions. Our seamless silhouettes are also nice and fitted so they dont fall down when you are trying to get into an extreme yoga position. An added benefit for the wearer, so you dont have to worry aobut flashing your fellow yogi. And because these pieces are seamless there is no issue with chafing in sensitive areas when you sweat, which makes this every yogi’s perfect companion.
Where is the label headed, what are you excited about in the near future and longer term?
We always have a 1000 balls in the air. We have just broke ground this week, on what will be our 12th Running Bare store. Located in Doncaster, VIC, due to open at end June. The 13th and 14th RB stores should be complete (fingers crossed) by the end of the year.
My gorgeous sales team, just came back from showcasing at shows in the US and had massive success in landing a number of significant accounts and growing our US portfolio, so that’s exciting. We are in the middle of peak production for our Summer 2016 collections and we just shot our new Spring Summer 16 campaign last week with a host of hotties, including the gorgeous Megan Irwin, while she was here for Fashion Week. Currently I am working on Winter 2017 that is due to be released end July/early August. So its full steam ahead, as always. As they say: You stop. You die. Plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.
What makes Australia special?
For us quality is key. The integrity of our product is what has provided our brand with its 33 years of success. We design for the Australian marketplace, with the Australian women in mind. Our loyal RB females expect nothing but superior performance, quality and design from our brand, so above all else, this is what we strive to provide and why we continue to make Running Bare right here at home in Sydney, Australia.