Not all activewear is created equal so make sure your fitness gear is on-trend this season with these top British labels
Whether you’re into yoga, HIIT or a gentle jog around the park, comfortable and high-performance activewear is a must. The British activewear scene has gone from strength to strength in the past 20 years, from trailblazers such as Sweaty Betty to modern newcomers blowing up Instagram feeds around the world. From bright patterns to subtle ensembles, these brands are a brilliant place to start if you want to look as good as you feel when working out.
Founded in London is 1998, Sweaty Betty is celebrating its 20th anniversary this season with a collection dedicated to all things British. The designs feature a heritage Union Jack from the brand’s archives and standout pieces include the new Power Leggings, created to make you look and feel great when you exercise. ‘For almost 20 years, we’ve been perfecting the fit and fabric of our leggings so that they make your bum look amazing,’ says Tamara Hill-Norton, founder and creative director. ‘We’ve sourced the best technical fabric in the world, fitted them in-house and placed our seams carefully to really flatter the bum and legs’.
The brand for women looking for activewear that’s somewhere in between plain black leggings and neon floral print, Varley makes high-performance technical sportswear that stands out for all the right reasons. Varley’s signature monochrome designs are subtle yet stylish and suitable for a huge variety of activities, from ballet barre to the boxing ring. Founded in 2015 by husband-and-wife team Ben and Lara Mead, who quit their high-powered London careers to focus solely on the brand, Varley is becoming a lifestyle empire. This year, the activewear brand will also be launching its own skincare line.
Every Second Counts
The name of men's and women's activewear label Every Second Counts came to founder Sally Dixon in 2014. While launching the brand, Sally was also training for the Berlin Marathon and had set herself the goal of completing it in under four hours. She eventually crossed the finish line in a time of 4 hours 1 minute, just 60 seconds shy of her target, giving her the idea that when it comes to running, every second really does count. The bi-annual men’s and women’s collections are designed with the practicalities of sport in mind, from running to yoga, ensuring the clothes help you get the most out of the time you spend in them.
East London-based brand LNDR is a fitness label with urban life at its core. The form-fitting pieces are designed to take you from an after-work class to dinner with friends and from a 6am workout to the school run. The products themselves are specifically created so that the seams run along joint lines and surrounding muscles, allowing for optimum movement while wearing them. Stocked in high-profile stores around the world, the brand counts Gigi Hadid and Kourtney Kardashian among its fans. LNDR doesn’t rely on busy patterns or bright colours – the classic grey marl leggings are the brand’s best sellers and will quickly become a staple of any fitness fan’s wardrobe.
When looking at a selection of activewear from London-based brand Vaara, elegant is the first word that comes to mind. The collection’s clean lines, soft colour palette and luxury fabrics are perfectly suited to the health-conscious woman and an innate understanding of style is at the core of the brand. Split into three categories, the range is created to carry you through many different areas of your daily routine. Perform, Rest and Enhance cater to intense workouts, home recovery and the ever-popular athleisure aesthetic of day-to-day life. As well as leggings and sports bras, one of Vaara’s most exclusive pieces is a full-length bodysuit, designed to offer a full range of movement and ultimate comfort when working out.
Monreal London was founded when designer and avid tennis player Stefanï Grosse struggled to find workout gear that was stylish enough to wear when the match was over. The sporty yet chic aesthetic behind the brand hasn’t gone unnoticed and Monreal’s fans include Victoria Beckham, Elle MacPherson and even HRH Duchess of Cambridge. The pieces have been created with the modern woman in mind and extra care has been taken to select luxury fabrics that will withstand a high frequency of wear and washing. As well as being worn by celebrities, Monreal London can also be spotted in some of the most exclusive hotels in the world as the brand provides uniforms for female spa staff at Hôtel Costes in Paris and the personal trainers at the prestigious Thirty Nine sports club in Monte Carlo.