Spring has finally arrived, and everything is blooming and growing and glowing! It’s the time most of us are also working for our summer glow up; warm weather is motivating us to be our best selves! While working on that booty, let’s also help Mama Nature with her spring cleanse, shall we? How so? It’s easy! Start shopping with ethical activewear brands.
As young people today, we are more “woke” than ever, and it’s our responsibility to change the world for the better. Especially as brown girls, we need to keep in mind that the sweatshops that produce some of the more mainstream activewear happen to be in our home countries, as industries tend to take advantage of the “third worlds.” Admittedly, most of our bank accounts don’t leave much room for $120 leggings on the daily, so go ahead and cop that $4 workout tank — more power to you.
[Read Related: Sukoon Activewear Founder Arshiya Kherani Reflects on Her Hijab-Inclusive Fashion Line]
But if you’re looking for brand new, durable, sustainable, AND ethical activewear, I’ve comprised a list of brands that care more about the environment and their employees rather than chasing that coin.
Here are 10 of my favorite brands that your girl has researched to help stay stylish in the gym while bettering the world and doing our part to help others!
1. Nün Bangkok
Straight from Thailand, I am so in love with this brand! They don’t use a factory, but rather have a small team of seamstresses to ensure fair and humane treatment! This brand gained huge momentum as so many influencers have backed these chic and clean designs, perfect for the gym or even the Athleisure movement. Nün Bangkok has stressed on keeping their four seamstresses ethically employed and is quickly outshining fast fashion machines (Forever 21 allegedly ripped off a few of their designs). Here are some of my favorite pieces for a clean, modern, and original look:
Hailing from Australia, SOLSOYA uses locally made fabrics and promote a slow, ethical, and colorful trend in active fashion! Not just that, but their single pieces and rash guards are made from a “recycled” fabric of regenerated fibers coming from clothes, carpets, and fishing line. Land or sea, if you like funky and colorful patterns made from durable fabrics that benefit the environment, definitely check out SOLSOYA.
A brand very blunt about their social impact, Patagonia is one you’ve probably seen before! Patagonia talks much about their Fair Trade Certified program, something we all need to get behind! So not only do they do ethical trading, on certain products of theirs, they pay a premium that puts the extra money back into the hands of the workers and their communities. This initiative helps them create free child-care centers, buy food, hygienic products, and support health programs! Here are some of my favorite products for all your outdoor adventures that are Fair Trade Certified. You can check out their full collection, here.
Hailing from California, this brand is super transparent with their process. All labor done in the U.S.A, they’re sure to fairly treat their employees and provide jobs for people within our country. Not just that, being made in the U.S. makes for a smaller carbon footprint, plus the fact that all their polyester is made from recycled bottles, and they use only organic cotton with eco-friendly dyes! Definitely, a brand staying conscientious of our planet, and honestly, this brand’s bell bottom pants are 100% my aesthetic, so you can bet I’m gonna grab one! A fun brand that fully appreciates the Earth and everything it has to offer, check out one of my favorite picks, here!
Built on love for yoga, they promote health and wellbeing, hosting complimentary yoga classes in their stores every week. Lululemon has posted their ethical and fair trading practices on their website, letting you read everything in clarity! They pay unannounced (as well as announced) visits to their facilities to make sure everything is in check for legal, humane, and ethical standards of production! Here is one of my favorite trendy items from Lululemon:
One of the hidden treasures I found! Handmade in Guatemala, I immediately fell in love with their intricate embroidery and detailed authentic Mayan textiles! Each product is hands down a work of art! For all our yoga addicts that want something eye-catching and unique, as well as top quality, environmentally conscious, and humane, check out their yoga bags and straps!
Or have you ever been on vacation or a cruise and attended a fitness class abroad? These bags are great for quick trips to the gym while keeping that colorful fun vibe! Who am I kidding, even as a normal bag! Repurposing discarded textiles (saving the environment) while providing a dignified job to indigenous artisans to raise them out of poverty (fair wages), AND gorgeous, unique pieces? Did I mention that in addition to leather items, they’ve included vegan options for us? Excuse me, but Michael Kors who??? No shade, but keep these in mind when gift giving! Here is pick for you:
7. Threads 4 Thought
These guys are all about sustainability and keep their social responsibility in check! They’ve got a full line of activewear from bras, to leggings, to tops, although sadly no loose pants for my Muslimahs. Chic and sporty, their active line is like that of what you may see in the Forever 21 active section, except responsibly made! Their materials are all made from organic or recycled material, contributing to minimizing waste and pollution and keeping things WRAP and Fair Trade certified. Check out these trendy pieces:
8. Elle Evans
Another brand based in Australia, Elle Evans comes exclusively from a team of two! Fabrics made from recycled plastics, reducing waste and handmade by a single seamstress, they’ve got my green light. To make them even better, they are a brand that focuses on swimwear, and as a byproduct, all of their activewear are dually functional and can be worn in the water as well! As a Muslimah, this is so important to me.
I’ll never forget when I was younger and going to the lake with my friends. I wouldn’t wear swim bottoms, and I for sure didn’t want to wear those long loose basketball shorts my dad got me that made me look boyish (in my opinion), so I opted for yoga pants. BAD DECISION. As they got wet, they weighed me down, and I often found myself pulling them back up and stretching them — it ruined the experience for me completely. To my parents’ dismay, I always declined when they wanted the family to go to a waterpark. I wish I had found these leggings earlier! Check out some of my favorites, here.
9. Synergy Organic Clothing
Another brand that uses organic cotton, they are all around conscientious, keeping it fair trade and using GOTS certified methods of cotton production, and making sure all their seamstresses are paid a living wage in safe working conditions. They also use recycled polyester, keeping them environmentally conscious! I am so glad this brand is around because they’ve also got a full line, and actually a pretty large variety of everything to choose from! If I could describe this brand in a word, it would be “staple;” they don’t have just active wear, but also dresses and other fashion items to keep your wardrobe ethical and classy all around. Synergy Organic Clothing has plenty of simple patterns, lots of solid colors, and a couple of graphics, so you can concentrate more on cut and style (and I found some loose pants for anyone it concerns!)! Shop their collection, here!
10. Satva Sustainable Activewear
A brand that prides themselves over their sustainability, Satva uses organic cotton and recycled polyester, our favorite! Not just that, but they also work to promote and sponsor education for young girls in villages where their cotton is cultivated (through Kerala and Gujarat). Knowing how important livestock is for the people living in these areas, they also help to sponsor immunization and medical assistance across 20 villages in India, hoping to make a lasting impact on these farming communities.
One more big plus? They’ve got more than five styles of loose pants for you loves to choose from, along with their collection of cute leggings! That’s something you don’t see much of!
Environmentally friendly and for a great cause, check out my Satva pick, here!
I hope this list helps anyone looking to make a difference in the world, even with the little things like where you buy your sports bras. Remember, every dollar you spend counts as a vote on how you prefer to have your clothes made.
Alavia Khawaja studied Art & Design and Psychology at the University of Texas at Dallas with a passion for makeup and fitness. Being Pakistani and Filipino, she’s had the pleasure of immersing herself in a multitude of different cultures, leaving her strongly opinionated when it comes to racial and cultural issues but always interested to learn more. A self-proclaimed chai-addict, you can catch her loitering around Dallas in athleisure despite her beat face.
The results are in — the Pantone Color for 2023 is here — and it looks like Viva Magenta will be ruling runways, the streets, and (even) your wardrobes.
Viva Magenta is a deep shade of red, and Pantone describes it:
Brave and fearless.
It’s meant to be celebratory, and joyous, and encourage experimentation. If you were thinking of toning it down a notch with your wardrobe in 2023, it’s time to think again. It can really be your time to shine in something bright and colorful!
Aprajit Toor, Arpita Mehta, and Rahul Khanna break it down for you — what to wear, how to pair, and everything in between. Their takes on the Pantone Color for 2023 are simple but they’ll help you make a bold statement anywhere you go!
Take a look at what they have to say.
Rahul Khanna of Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna:
Viva Magenta is a color that suits all skin tones. It’s a color for all occasions; women and men can both wear this color with [the] right styling. Cocktail saris, jumpsuits, and reception gowns are some great options for women whereas, for men, the color has started picking up a lot lately. Men have started experimenting with their looks and we as designers have more options for men as well. Recently, we made a custom-made silk velvet fit for Ranveer Singh in the same color. Apart from your everyday clothing, Viva Magenta is also going to be the ruling shade for the upcoming wedding season.
The best way to do Viva Magenta in your everyday wardrobe is to go top to bottom in [it]. Be it in co-ord sets or a kaftan or any comfortable outfit. It’s such a bold & beautiful color that it looks the best when it’s self on self rather than teaming it up or breaking it with another color.
Viva Magenta is a very powerful and empowering color that descends from the red family. It is an animated red that encourages experimentation and self-expression without restraint; an electrifying shade [that] challenges boundaries. One can easily incorporate this color by picking a statement footwear, bag, or jewelry in Viva Magenta which can be paired with neutral or monotone colored outfits.
And there you have it — three ways you can easily take a vibrant hue and turn it into something you can wear every day. Take cues from these top designers on how to wear the Pantone Color of the year and get started! We’d love to see how you style Viva Magenta!
When she was young, Preeti Gore, the founder of the clothing brand Tilted Lotus, always looked up to her dad’s “natural sketching” talent. His motivation led her to explore her creative side, whether it was experimenting with art or taking up sitar lessons. Regardless of that fact, she pursued a career in science and became a Physical therapist, following her gut instinct.
Stepping into the world of fashion, alongside being a PT, Gore talks to Brown Girl Magazine about her brand Tilted Lotus in depth.
Why “Tilted Lotus?” What is the significance of the name?
‘Lotus’ symbolizes the national flower of India, my birthplace and the land that has shaped me into the person I am today. It represents the roots from which I originate. On the other hand, ‘Tilted’ signifies the distinctive identity I developed while living in Western countries. With my experiences spanning four different nations — India, the UK, Canada, and the US — I’ve had the privilege of embracing the unique qualities of each culture. This odyssey has enriched my life tremendously, and Tilted Lotus is how I offer this special part of me to a diverse American market.
How did the transition to the world of textiles and design occur?
Despite never being pressured by my parents, I convinced myself that pursuing a career in science was the ‘right’ path, and thus became a physical therapist. My first job in the US was at Houston Methodist Hospital, located in the prestigious Texas Medical Center. Driven by my passion to help others, I am dedicated to this profession and have no intention of quitting. Relocating to the UK, and Canada, and eventually settling in the US presented numerous challenges, and every time I felt shattered, defeated, or alone, I somehow found the strength to push forward. My parents, despite limited resources, supported my dreams wholeheartedly, encouraging independence and the pursuit of my passions. My husband — who I affectionately call my “Sheldon” (a nod to The Big Bang Theory) — played a pivotal role in persuading me to embrace my creative instincts. I am grateful to have him as both a strong supporter and a staunch feminist.
Two years ago, I took the first step toward launching Tilted Lotus. I enrolled in the entrepreneurship program at The Wharton School and pursued a course on starting a fashion line. I was focused on finding the right supply chain and developing a solid business strategy, but the real test came when I had to work tirelessly in the ICU during the COVID wave, back-to-back nights and days, all at the same time. Through ups and downs, failures, and victories, I finally launched Tilted Lotus in December 2022.
India to the UK…then now to the US! Did the need to stay rooted in your culture strengthen? If so, how did that help you envision Tilted Lotus?
From my childhood days, I’ve held onto my personal values like a compass guiding my way. During my experiences living in different countries, I noticed [I was] slowly losing myself, losing what truly makes me, me. But my love for my culture grew stronger, and I found ways to preserve it. As I wore clothing that reflected my identity and initiated conversations about culture and heritage, I discovered that these markers not only distinguish us but also bring us closer together. People are often eager to learn and experience different cultures, which inspired me to create Tilted Lotus, offering a glimpse of me to others.
How do you aim to combine South Asian elements with contemporary designs?
The design process for creating an outfit involves a multitude of elements. Our primary objective is to take a traditional Indian art form, put a Tilted Lotus twist on it, and incorporate it into contemporary, everyday silhouettes that are both adaptable and effortless to wear. Our latest collection, Jungle Glam, embodies this unique concept flawlessly.
Who is your target audience? And, how do your pieces help express themselves?
We cater to a diverse and inclusive audience, embracing individuals of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities. While our current selection includes unisex options, our plans involve expanding more into the realm of unisex clothing. Our aim is for our garments to transcend traditional gender norms, welcoming everyone into our fashion community, regardless of their background.
Our target demographic consists of individuals who revel in dressing eclectically, and fearlessly expressing their unique selves. Our garments become a canvas for personal stories, silently representing who they are. They complement individual styles and can be effortlessly combined with other pieces, adding a touch of boldness and confidence.
One adjective to describe your clothing line:
How do you want people to feel when wearing your clothes?
Our ultimate goal is for them to exude confidence, radiate happiness, and proudly embrace their true selves when they don our clothing. We want them to feel empowered, ready to conquer the world, and unapologetically display their unique style and individuality.
You mention one of your brand values is compassion. Can you tell us a little about your vision to help your non-profit partner: Three Little Pitties Rescue?
We take great pride in being a strong corporate sponsor for the Three Little Pitties Rescue, an extraordinary non-profit 501c3 organization that goes above and beyond to rescue dogs and cats in dire situations, primarily in the Houston, Texas area. Their unwavering dedication has resulted in the rescue and salvation of over 11,000 animals in recent years, and we are honored to contribute to their cause.
As avid animal lovers, our affiliation with Three Little Pitties Rescue began long before the inception of Tilted Lotus. We have closely collaborated with them, witnessing firsthand their remarkable achievements and tremendous growth over the past few years. Their progress has been fuelled by sheer honesty, selflessness, and unrelenting hard work.
One thing that sets Three Little Pitties Rescue apart is their absolute commitment to ensuring that every donation they receive is put to its intended purpose. They maintain the highest standards of transparency and accountability, ensuring that funds are used solely for the betterment of the rescued animals. There is no room for misuse or misappropriation.
Through our partnership with Three Little Pitties Rescue, we have witnessed the profound impact they have on the lives of animals in need. We are privileged to be part of their journey and contribute to their noble mission. Together, we strive to make a lasting difference and create a better world for our furry friends.
We are set to rock the Runway show at New York Fashion Week this fall with Runway 7 productions at Sony Hall, New York. We will be unveiling an all new collection.
Stylish, sustainable silhouettes with love. Tilted Lotus is synonymous with wearing your culture with pride. With prints that bring you back to traditional Indian art, the collections have pieces that you can wear to your next big event or even pair with your everyday jeans and a tee.
And, after an incredible showcase at Austin Fashion Week, the Slow Fashion Festival, and two successful pop-up events at Renegade Craft and Austin Fashion Week, the team is thrilled about what lies ahead this year! Their calendars are full, and they couldn’t be more grateful to everyone that showered them with love and welcomed them with open arms.
Here are some exciting upcoming events Titled Lotus has planned, and they’d be delighted to have you join them in person!
New York Fashion Week: Runway 7, Sony Hall, September 9, New York
In Todo Pop-up Shop: November 4-5, Los Angeles, California
You can continue to be part of their journey by following them on their official Instagram account, here.
Indiaspopup.com — USA’s premier online destination for luxury Indian designer clothing and accessories — is a global platform for South Asian fashion. It curates inclusive, embracive, and conscious trends and styles from the heart of India to its global shoppers. Founded by Archana Yenna, the company honored South Asian women from various walks of life who are leading the path for future generations. The luxury retailer hosted a ‘Power Table’ dinner at Armani/Ristorante in New York City with South Asian women leading the change in fashion, entrepreneurship, media, entertainment, and journalism.
At Indiaspopup.com, we empower and celebrate women through authentic South Asian fashion and community contributions. As we celebrate Women’s Day, we remain committed to sharing inspiring stories of South Asian women achievers and changemakers. Our recent ‘Power Table’ dinner in New York City celebrated remarkable women — trailblazers of South Asian heritage, inspiring the next generation of female leaders to dream big and chase their aspirations.
Yenna honored these women for breaking stereotypes and spreading positivity on body sizes, health, confidence, and skin tone. Through her work with Indiaspopup.com, Yenna hopes to help women feel beautiful, confident, and feminine, and make progress toward positive change. In a series of photos shot in New York City’s Baccarat Hotel, dedicated to the quintessence of luxury and excellence, Indiaspopup.com produced a high tea-themed photoshoot to celebrate its honorees. The women wore avant-garde clothing donning some of India’s most prominent designers while sipping tea, dining on canapés, and enjoying one another’s company. Exemplifying Indian royalty, the women championed one another and the power of sisterhood, and shared what womanhood meant to each one of them.
During the two-day festivities, Indiaspopup.com announced their partnership with Sakhi for South Asian Women, an NGO that represents the South Asian diaspora in a survivor-centered movement for gender justice. Sakhi applies a trauma-informed, culturally responsive lens with a long-term commitment to mobilizing a future free from violence. Yenna pledged to donate a portion of sales from the month of March to the organization.
Sakhi for South Asian Women is grateful to Indiaspopup.com for uplifting and investing in our work with survivors of gender-based violence. Nationally, 48% of South Asian Americans experience gender based violence throughout their lifetime, and at Sakhi, we have seen a 65% increase in cases over one year. This support will help us address the overwhelming need in our community and continue our commitment toward a future of healing and justice.
— Kavita Mehra, Executive Director at Sakhi for South Asian Women
To learn more about Indiaspoup.com visit their website.