Does the future of fashion belong to activewear? According to London designer Charli Cohen, yes. Combining her love of fashion and fitness, this uber talented designer is part of the new wave of visionaries blurring the line between the practical and the ultra hip.
Activewear has become such big business, is it something you predicted when you first started? Absolutely. I could see the industry changing as I was finishing university and knew that I had to launch CC as quickly as possible to be part of that momentum. I used my final year at university to research, source, create my branding and build out a supply chain, so I was as ready to go as soon as possible when I graduated.
Why do you think activewear has become so popular? Between 2012-2013, mainstream fashion media really started to focus in on health and fitness, dedicating editors to it and creating wellness pages in their magazines. I think this is what kicked off fitness as a status symbol. Aside from this, I think people just need and expect more from what they wear—as well as wanting to be able to spontaneously hit the gym, our lives are busier, we commute more, there is less structure and we want to be prepared. We need clothes that keep up, so wearing activewear as daywear makes sense.
What’s different about Charli Cohen? One of the first priorities for me was to ensure we had the best of the best materials to work with, I wanted to break the mould of traditional scratchy shiny activewear fabrics. We work with fabric mills who specialize in putting fashion finishes on Olympic-level performance fabrics which means we have technical polyamides that emulate silk, leather and soft cotton. Our trims come from the same suppliers as Prada and Chanel. As a fashion designer first, but also a certified personal trainer, I’m able to design from both sides. I’ll start by designing the clothes I think people would love to wear, then I figure out how to make each item fully technical.
How did you first become involved? I’d always planned to have my own brand and actually started my first—a t-shirt label—when I was 15. I wanted first hand experience of the industry and all the elements of running a fashion business. The decision to pursue activewear specifically came later, whilst I was at university. I loved both fitness and fashion, so the idea of combining them was really exciting and also logical given that it was a growing market.
How has the brand evolved from its first launch? With the limitations of being a new, unfunded brand, I had to keep each collection very concise. For that to be commercial and to establish the brand in this new space, I chose to focus on the more traditionally active styles—bras, tanks, leggings—with a much smaller proportion of ready-to-wear pieces. As time has gone on, I’ve been able to expand on the technical ready-to-wear side, which I find so exciting, it allows me to be much more creative as a designer.
What do you love about seeing more people develop a love for activewear? I love that health and fitness is cool to the point that people want to embody that in their everyday clothes. It’s part of a sustainable movement towards prioritizing health. I also love seeing proof that fashion doesn’t have to mean discomfort or impracticality, you can look awesome but still have the freedom to respond to whatever the day throws at you.
What do you see as the future? I think technical fashion is the next step on from activewear—clothes that you wouldn’t even know were active because the technology is all in the fabric and construction, rather than in the silhouette and detailing. So you could potentially workout in a tailored trouser rather than a pair of leggings, run for the train without your choice of super-cool daywear holding you back or fly long haul looking perfectly put together, in total comfort with no creasing. I think it’ll be all about clothes to live in and do anything in, without being sport-specific or leisure-specific. Charli-Cohen.com — ANASTASIA RUBIN
From remnants to ready-to-wear, we catch up with the beauties behind zero-waste label, LIVARI.
Since bringing live streaming to the runway, actually attending fashion week has become "so last season." Has Nicopanda solved fashion week's problems?
Transformation was the name of this collection and indeed, it's a fitting sentiment for lawyer-turned-designer, Nancy Tran, who debuted this season.
Inspired by a voyage through different types of jungles; exotic, psychedelic, and more... newly appointed Artistic Director, Jean-Paul Goude, debuts his first Desigual collection at NYFW.
Whether knife, accordian, box or kick, the pleated skirt is here to stay.
Always fancied yourself a filmmaker? Think you have the perfect fashion-film idea? Now you have the chance to show the world as FashionClash—the Netherlands premiere fashion and art festival—announces its first international fashion film festival.
Welcome to the The Snow Crystal Forest, a Haute Couture collection from designer Ziad Nakad
New global study by indaHash breaks barriers on the influencer scale.
Welcome to Tramp in Disguise; print-tastic women's wear created and designed by Finnish born, U.K. based designer Sini Moilanen.
We catch up with writer and director Keith Boynton as he dishes on his latest film project Seven Lovers'; a movie you're sure to love where ever you may be in life (or love).
As the demand for athleisure wear grows, the Canarian design team behind Adosmanos Sportswear ups the style stakes.
Launched this Spring, designer duo Longshaw & Ward have pooled their creative talents for a covet-able collection of women's wear and accessories.
We head to the Greek islands to talk design with women's wear creator Nadia Rapti.
Descended from a long line of fashion innovators, Veronica Zaharia continues the family legacy with Parlor.
Ana Locking's SS17 collection is the perfect ready-to-wear for those set to do battle in the concrete jungle.
London-based designer Rebecca Kellett pushes the boundaries of ready-to-wear with her eclectic collection of statement-making women's wear. We catch up with the award-winning up-and-comer in today's Designer Talk.
Go behind the designs of Stella Sallaku, a designer whose passion and dedication have seen her overcome insurmountable obstacles to turn her dream a reality.
The epitome of old-world glamor, kick off the week in style with this season's looks from Hannibal Laguna.
We talk style with the founder of NOORISM, an upcycle brand based in Brooklyn that gives a new life to old denim.
New York. London. Taipei. The world is a stage for up-and-coming designer Tzuli Hsu.
From Chicago with Love: Meet Krystell Barraza, part of the next generation of great American designers.
When it comes to statement handbags, look no further than Mayra Fedane. The whimsical British brand delivers drool-worthy designs to spice up any outfit.
Founded in 2015, Ivanka Hristova launched her eponymous brand following the success of her graduate collection. Born in Bulgaria, based in London, her passion for textile and print development and hand embroidered textile techniques make her one-to-watch.
We catch up with the founder of NarieClothing.com, a philanthropic online marketplace that will leave you inspired.
Definitely one-to-watch, we catch up with fashion designer Maria Pshenichnikova of Marp Collections.
Made with 100% vegan leather, the Madison Backpack from New York luxury brand Angela Roi is as chic as it is practical.
One-to-watch, Amsterdam-based designer Marlou Breuls talks style and inspiration in today's Designer Talk.
RAYMOND WEIL pays homage to legendary musician David Bowie with the Limited Edition Freelancer “David Bowie,” timepiece.
We catch up with dancer-turned-designer Glaucia Stanganelli, creative director of women's wear brand Philosofee.
Do you recognize that feeling when you don’t know who you want to be anymore? Then you'll love: Noise AW17 collection from Alexandre Pereira.