Lookbook: Just Kicking It With Wear It To Heart Holiday ’17, Captured By Kermit Mercado

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Oh, hello there!

For those of you that have been following my musings on this here blog, you know that I am big into fitness. Even when I am not breaking a sweat, I gravitate to active options, whether they be a fly pair of running sneakers, cool leggings, or a cozy hoodie, as I truly value the intersection of comfort and function. When the wonderful team at Wear It To Heart reached out to ask if I would be interested in collaborating to showcase some goodies from their Holiday ’17 collection, I immediately said yes. I have featured the brand on my site in the past, and own a few pairs of their leggings already, so I felt it was the perfect fit.

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Will I get taller if I continue stretching this way?

I was given a few options of looks to pick from, all including a sports bra and leggings, and like the TRUE Yorker that I am, gravitated to the mostly black option from the Foxy collection.  I chose the  Foxy Crewneck Bra and Foxy Boundless Leggings. Once I received the products, I was so happy with the hand-feel, super soft to the touch with a dense denier, so no see-thru leggings over here! I tried on the full ‘fit and immediately fell in love; it felt like a second skin. Wear It To Heart’s garments use a 4-way stretch, so they move the way you move.

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Welcome to the gun show!

I brainstormed a million photoshoot ideas. Would this be a purely product-focused activewear shoot? Would I show the versatility of the look and how it can transition from the gym to the streets? Would I be wearing cool kicks or barefoot? I went back and forth for weeks, admittedly, and decided to call up one of my buddies and fave photographer collaborators, Kermit Mercado. We decided we would just keep it simple, and this is what we created.

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Details on the Foxy Crewneck Sports Bra

The details on the sports bra were too good; a thoughtfully created narrow racerback to allow maximum movement with sheer laser cut elements. There are removable cups in the shelf bra to give shape and maintain modesty.

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Bedazzled legs & fancy feet

The pattern of the collection is reminiscent of fox fur, given the name. I enjoy the textural element it adds. With a sprinkle of black rhinestones below the knee on both the front and back of the left leg, you get a touch of pizazz that can likely lead your super comfy leggings from day to night.

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Kung Fu Dre

It is important for activewear to perform when you are active, yes? I tested this out by jumping, kicking, stretching, and just moving my body in all directions. While in action, the crew neck bra and Boundless leggings moved where I moved. I enjoyed the higher waist on the leggings. Being a woman with a near 15 inch waist to hip ratio, lower rise leggings are problematic as they slide down south and can be quite uncomfortable. Since this sat at my natural waist, I had no issues of peeking when I bent over.

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Are you excited to see me?

We played around a lot on camera, and while we did get so many amazing shots, the silly ones are some of my favorites. I call this look the “I haven’t seen you in ten years and you brought me my favorite dish.”

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That’s All Folks!

Are you digging the look? Head over to Wear It To Heart to get the lowdown on my look, and scope out the entire Holiday ’17 collection.

Purchase here:

Foxy Crewneck Bra

Foxy Boundless Leggings

 

Hair & Makeup by Andrea K. Castillo

All photos by Kermit Mercado

 

*I received complimentary apparel for this post

Lookbook: Let’s Get Active! Summer Fitness Looks For Yoga, Running, & More

I call this the, “Who dat?” look, Sunglasses by CRAP Eyewear

We are in the midst of summer, and you know what that means? Time to show some skin! You’ve probably been in the gym all winter and spring working on your summer body, but it’s not time to stop now. You’ve got to keep up that sexy body with summertime fitness in the best apparel that is both functional yet funky enough to wear post workout.

I teamed up with my buddy Kermit Mercado to collaborate on a fitness-inspired photo spread, highlighting looks for dance-inspired workouts, running, yoga, and more. Get into it.

Meet me on the dance floor!

If you love to dance like me, it is imperative to seek out dance classes and dance inspired workouts from time to time. This mesh back sports bra by Wear It To Heart in the cool Desert Magic print has great coverage with inner-shelf bra with pads to remain shape and modesty.

Mesh detail with matching leggings

Paired with leggings, this look can go from the studio to the street with ease. The higher neckline of the bra with mesh detail on the back is a stunner.

Keep that hair back!

To keep my curls out of my face while I dance up a storm, I enjoy invisibobble traceless hair ties. They don’t mark my curls, and can be used for countless hairstyles.

Downward Dog vibes

This sports bra and shorts pairing from Wear It To Heart is perfect for beach yoga or hot yoga. The fabrication wicks sweat and has a soft feel, whilst maintaining its shape, and staying in place while you move.

It is super important to remain hydrated, more so when working out in the hot summer months. I’m loving 1907 Alkaline water from New Zealand. It’s super light and fresh taste is perfect for my workouts, in a 1 liter size that gives me all the hydration I need.

Crow Pose in action

I really dig YogaSmoga apparel for my indoor yoga workouts as they are made of top notch fabrics with slight compression that keep everything in place. The Imagine Tank has an inner-shelf bra that is perfect for me as I have a smaller bust, and the Momentum Crop legging is super chic, and keeps the booty in place in more demanding poses.

Next level Chair Pose

For example, in this elevated Chair Pose, my leggings did not slide or sag, maintaining proper coverage. This image is actually the first time I was able to do a Chair Pose of this variation, and the prior photo is the first time I was able to do a Crow Pose. I’m getting there!

Knee hugs to prep for a run

Another thing that I really dig about YogaSmoga is that their apparel works seamlessly from my yoga workouts to a run. Wearing the same leggings, I ditch the tank for the Sneak n Peek sports bra with amazing compression to get in my miles.

Warrior III pose, great post run stretch

I usually end my runs with a bunch of stretches borrowed from yoga. My boobies stay in place in this look while I balance on one foot for this Warrior III pose, also called the “Superman Pose”.

Would you wear any of these looks for your next workout? Let a playa know! All links are throughout the story, so happy shopping to you!

*All photos by Kermit Mercado

WOMANday Exclusive: Sunnie Ha, Founder of Activewear Company Wear It To Heart Talks Apparel Production in Central America, Sustainability, and Empowering Young Women

WEAR IT TO HEART LOGO BEING TRANSFERRED ONTO GARMENT

Back in February, I attended the first ever AXIS Show at Pier 94 in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. The fashion trade show focused on women’s active lifestyle apparel and home goods, which was really exciting to me. It was there that I was first introduced to Wear It To Heart (WITH), a ladies activewear brand based in Los Angeles and produced in El Salvador.

I was really drawn to the soft, yet technologically sound fabrication of the garments, in addition to the lovely prints used across their spectrum of leggings, capris, tanks, and sports bra offerings. I was also drawn to the idea of their goods being produced in Central America, so I decided to set up an interview with the company’s founder, Sunnie Ha, to discuss their initiatives, predominantly female workforce, and more. Read on!

Tell us a bit about your background and when you came to the point to make Wear It To Heart a reality.

Looking back, it all started with the observation that women’s activewear was just men’s activewear made in smaller sizes.  It seemed as if every woman walked out of the same closet all dressed in black tights and uninspiring, boring tops.  I wanted women to look like women, feminine and beautiful.  In my mind leggings with fun and pretty prints give women a comfortable but bold look that is stylish.  The WITH look allows women to live in every moment and love the life they live. Wear it to Heart was born in California and is growing up in El Salvador.  We work with both designers and artists from Los Angeles and El Salvador.  I have the pleasure of working with artists who, for the first time have an outlet which allows them not only to express but also profit from their creativity.  You should see the excitement of the team when their prints are featured on our pieces.  I feel blessed to be able to love what I do and excited to see what the future of WITH holds.

Your product line consists of fashion-forward activewear suitable for yoga and other low-impact activity. What kind of feedback have you gotten from the fitness community thus far?

So far, the feedback has been very positive. Every piece of WITH is constructed with the highest quality materials and attention to detail, which people notice and appreciate. Also, because the prints are fashion-forward, you can wear them out and about, not just at the gym, which is very important to our customers as well.

DESIGNER SKETCHING

Let’s talk about your workforce. In your company factory in El Salvador, you run a sweatshop-free work force, comprised predominantly of women. Was this done intentionally? And can you elaborate on your company values and in-house initiatives?

Wear it to Heart mainly manufactures in El Salvador to support Project Garrobo which was started many years ago by my husband and I.  It began with a desire to help the communities in El Salvador.  We found ourselves working with single mothers to help them acquire work skills to support not only themselves, but also their families.  Project Garrobo, is an apprenticeship program for several disadvantaged, unwed, and unskilled teen mothers.  We pay them a salary and train them for several types of apparel jobs, but also teach them life skills such as finance, English, and other necessary subjects for them to meet the oncoming challenges of adulthood.  Once they reach the age of 18 they are welcome to work at our factory, or if they choose to leave and work elsewhere, we’re happy with that also. Our payback is satisfaction knowing that we improved their lives.
Our factory is recognized globally as a leader in CSR (corporate social responsibility) and sustainability.  This distinction stems from many years of researching and implementing the best practices.  For instance, we responded to employee requests to offer a daycare solution.  Our response was to visit several daycare facilities in the U.S. and Brazil.  Learning from those already doing it, we inaugurated our child development center on our premises in 2011.  Since then we have gained Montessori accreditation, therefore giving our pre-schoolers a clear advantage for when they graduate and move on to regular day school.

A PAIR OF LEGGINGS BEING SEWN

Apparel production in Central America has been on the rise in the past few years, using some of the most technologically sound processes in the industry. What do you see in its future?

On-shoring or near-shoring apparel production back to the Americas has been a hot topic for the last couple of years. It’s good news for us because it creates a win-win situation for the U.S. and the Central American & Caribbean regions. Due to the way the free trade agreement (CAFTA-DR) is structured, most key inputs come from the U.S. and then produced as final garments in the region.  So it’s true bi-lateral trade benefitting both sides of the border.  We are to expect this trend to grow significantly due to the changing global sourcing landscape. As China and other Asian countries develop more consumer driven economies, the available capacities and resources will focus more in that direction.  As a byproduct, the Americas will gain more market share of U.S apparel imports.  Flexible, faster to market lead times and real time communication with U.S. brands and retailers  also make CAFTA-DR region a very attractive sourcing hub.  For W.I.T.H., the flexibility and speed allow for unparalleled levels of service and innovation.

It was such a pleasure to speak to, and learn more about the apparel industry in the Americas from Sunnie. Be sure to check out the goods on the official Wear It To Heart website, in addition to following them on social media!

*Photos courtesy of Wear It To Heart (WITH)

Reebok Women Brings Out a Full Line of Fitness Lifestyle Picks At The Inaugural AXIS SHOW

A GLIMPSE OF REEBOK WOMEN FW 2015

A few weeks back I attended the inaugural AXIS show at Pier 94, a fashion lifestyle trade event created for a new generation of trend-focused young women. I was happy to know that it shared space with Capsule show, and focused in on fitness lifestyle. As I am now totally on my fitness-game, my purpose for AXIS was seeking out brands that seamlessly blended the realms of fitness + fashion.

I came across a lot of emerging brands, but was happy to see fresh offerings from a fitness staple for decades, Reebok Women.

LEGGINGS OFFERINGS

The brand had a HUGE booth in the show, which looked like its own mini-shop. I was greeted by Laura from Reebok upon entering, who really walked me through the entire line of offerings for Fall/Winter 2015. I told her that I am a runner and new to yoga, so I was really interested in the tech components of the clothing (sweat wicking, reflective components) as well as a beautiful aesthetic.

FAVE RUNNING PIECES

The color palette for the later months has a base in black with accents in a fiery red and neon yellow. Above you can see some of my favorites, specifically the running jacket on the far left, and leggings that have reflective elements at the knees, which are perfect for night running.

Definitely looking to add a few pieces to my fitness wardrobe! Are you digging the new collection?

*All Photos by Andrea K. Castillo for A Life In The Day of Andrea