Remember when workout clothes were really cute and fun and you wanted to just live in them? Jane Fonda was our super-fit style siren, dressed in fashionable leotards and flattering tights. The styles came in floral prints and color blocking and a variety of styles to suit every body type. The shorts were actually short – and not baggy. Those were the ’80s, a very long time ago.
Then, for a long couple of decades, the workout offerings were all about gray and black in workout clothes that seldom had style. Until Lululemon came along with its flattering Groove pant and colorful tops and our own local yoga wear designer, Momi Chee of Lily Lotus created with bling and a bit of excitement in her clothing for yoga and beyond.
Now workout wear seems to be experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Maybe it’s the influence of dance-oriented exercise modalities such as Zumba, salsa, Nia, aerials, belly dance, tango and pole dancing. I don’t really care what’s causing it, I’m just happy to see some interesting and original offerings on the workout scene.
I recently visited the Still & Moving Center where Boutique-E is carrying some workout wear that I have not seen anywhere else in the Islands. The buyer, Heeraa Sazevich, searches far and wide for lines that are “more innovative and original,” she said. In addition, the Center has a commitment to clothing that is environmentally conscious, in keeping with the philosophy of the owner, Renee Tillotson, and the teachers and staff. “If we have a movement studio that is promoting conscious movement, we should incorporate that into the clothing we buy,” said Heeraa Sasevich, buyer for Boutique-E. Nothing is made in China because Tillotson does not approve of the manufacturing practices in China.
Heeraa shops the world for men’s and women’s clothing that is organic, bamboo (a highly sustainable fiber) or “somehow environmentally friendly,” Heeraa explained. An ecstatic dancer herself (watch this blog for more on that later), Heeraa is always on the lookout for clothes that move with grace and fluidity. “Dancing invokes the feminine,” and that is something she seeks in the clothing she buys for her customers at the Center.
Many of the styles are inspired by, and derived from, Festival clothing, a new category to me. Think ” What do you wear to the Burning Man festival?” It’s all about clothes that move in evocative and interesting ways. They’re dance-oriented and made with freedom of movement in mind. A double row of flounces adds a shimmy, an asymmetrical hemline with pirate-like points flows with the body. A little over skirt flutters whimsically above a flowing pant.
Many of the lines carried at Boutique-E are not found anywhere else in Hawaii. In addition, many do good deeds in the world.
Understanding that not all dancers, exercise and yoga enthusiasts are tiny, Boutique-E carries sizes from XS to XL. Prices range from $29 – $96.
Here’s a brief rundown on some of what I found there:
Kai-Ya Designs: Designed on Kauai and made in Indonesia. “The clothes are not all organic yet, but they’re getting there,” Heeraa explained.
Queen of Hearts: Designed in San Francisco and made in Bali, this line is pure fun and highly original. Boutique-E recently custom ordered pieces in purple and teal to create a more colorful workout scene.
Bhakti Ware: 100 percent organic cotton from a company that donates $1.08 per garment sold to charity.
Tees for Change: The Maryland-based company makes all of its clothing from a bamboo and cotton blend that is naturally anti-bacterial. They plant a tree for every garment sold.
Maha Devi Designs: From Canada, they work solely with organic bamboo and hemp.
Inner Waves Organic: The Colorado company works only with organic fabrics.
Green Apple Active: A bamboo line that’s certified organic and made in Mexico.
Boutique-E is not just for women. They also carry eco-conscious clothing for men.
Find Boutique-E in the Silent & Moving Center, 1024 Queen Street, across from Office Depot. www.stillandmovingcenter.com. Phone 397-7678.
– Paula Rath