Meet Canadian activewear brand Karma Athletics, a luxury activewear brand you need to keep your eye on. Based out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Karma’s collection of yoga tights, tanks and cover-ups are designed for the busy, modern woman that cares about fashion just as much as she cares about fitness. Their collections are too pretty to keep in the gym or yoga class. We love how their pieces incorporate feminine, edgy touches like tonal lace panels, mesh trim, angular straps and subtle cutouts. It keeps us ahead of the game not only on the court but also on the pavement as part of our everyday wear.
One of the things we appreciate most about the Karma team is that they stay on top of the latest fabric trends and technologies. They select the right textiles for the right functions. Their high performance yoga tanks, sports bras and tights have plenty of stretch in their fabrication so they move with you from a deep squat to crescent moon and they’re moisture-wicking too, pulling sweat away from the body to keep you dry and feeling comfortable. In addition to selecting the best fabrics for your sweaty needs, they hire the right people to develop their coveted designs.
Q & A with Karma Athletics Head Designer, Carlie Wong
We had a chance to chat with Carlie Wong, head designer for Karma Athletics, to get the inside scoop on what her role as a designer involves, what inspires her designs and what the future holds for Karma!
How would you best describe what you do, and your day-to-day working with Karma Athletics?
My job as the head designer of Karma is very involved since we were re-branding for Spring 2016. In the most basic sense, I’m responsible for the research and design of products and the creative direction. It involves market research, sourcing materials, choosing pantones and designing, to approving samples, prints and dye colors, to providing creative direction on campaign shoots and contributing to store layout development. Karma is a relatively small company and I have to wear many hats.
How did your career as a designer become what it is today?
I began my career as a designer over a decade ago working for a couturier (Manuel Mendoza). I learned how to create high-end custom gowns for the fashion elite of Vancouver. I worked for a few years with him and then decided to move to a bigger company to expand my experience (Kensie). I did a year there and left to participate in Project Runway Canada. I then started my own line of luxury clothing about 8 years ago. I’ve dabbled in women’s ready-to-wear, eveningwear, couture wedding, swim and even menswear. Throughout the years, I’ve showed at L’Oreal Fashion Week, collaborated with companies such as LG electronics and Virgin mobile, and dressed celebrities for the red carpet such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Florence Welch. All of these experiences led me to where I am today. Karma Athletics approached me about a year ago as they were looking to re-brand as a luxury athletic line and it seemed like a good fit.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I don’t think it’s ever effective to find it. I’ve always just followed my intuition, which I feel is very forward-thinking in the sense that I’m in tune with social trends and how that relates to people and how that can transcend into their wardrobes a year from now. Most of what I do, I have a strong feeling about. It can be a source of arguments at the office. The big arguments have to do with color… which can be a million dollar decision. Sometimes you end up making bad decisions consciously because as a designer (and a brand that wants to brand itself as a fashion-forward line) you have to push the envelope a little.
Karma has a focus of empowering women; do you have a female that you look up to/ that inspires you?
All women who do things for themselves are inspiring. I have friends and family who inspire me. Male privilege is very real and I think especially now, women are standing up for themselves. Empowerment is something all women can relate to. With Karma, we are focused on making women look good, feel good and do good as a result.
We love that Karma is responsibly made in Canada, can you tell us where most of the production takes place?
All of our production happens in Vancouver BC, specifically a handful of small factories in East Van.
What are some of your favorite things about Karma as a brand?
My favorite thing about Karma is that we are a local brand, that the product is high quality and well made and that we’re making athletic clothing into an everyday luxury. We’re comparable in price with other brands, but the quality (especially with our signature Karmaluxe fabric that I helped develop) is superior; you’re never going to have a problem with tights being see-through.
What trends or styles can we expect to see heading into Fall 2016?
I’m very excited about our Fall 2016 collection. I feel like it is the most fashion-forward and sophisticated line that Karma has ever made. We just shot an amazing campaign with Adrianne Ho. Some things to look out for: mixing tonal textures and shine and featuring unconventional colors in athletic wear, such as dark navy and army green.