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Beyond the Bale : September 2014
OFF FARM 23 Based at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach, activewear brand Vie Active is using Australian Merino wool to fuse fitness with fashion for the modern woman. The company was started in 2012 by Noa and Bryan Ries who wanted to create activewear that was not only high performance but also captured the fun and freedom of their lifestyle by the beach, and importantly didn’t compromise on style. Both Noa and Bryan grew up living healthy, active lifestyles surrounded by like-minded people. Noa grew up at Bondi Beach running marathons, triathlons and working as a fitness instructor; Bryan was raised in France and the USA, and is a former competitive skier and snowboarder, triathlete and cyclist. Bondi and its iconic beach rest at the heart of Vie Active. It, along with those who live there, were a major part of the catalyst behind the brand. “It’s just the most incredibly unique place in the world,” Noa says. “Whenever people come to visit us from overseas they’re really struck by how ridiculously fit and healthy everybody is. It’s a really passionate community of people who prioritise their health and wellness. “So the culture here and the idea that you can really be active all day long is the inspiration for where Vie Active came from.” Noa knew the clothes she designed had to be a healthy mix of both function and style. “We decided to start with tops, and it became clear very quickly that Merino wool was the best fibre for us. Functionally, it has unique moisture management properties and it breathes. It keeps you warm when the weather is cold but cool when it’s hot, and has great elasticity. “From a style perspective, Merino wool looks incredible and can be worn all day long. It retains its shape, has a luxurious super soft feel, and allows garments in a vast array of colours and vibrant prints. The fibre’s excellent odour control also means garments stay fresher for longer, so you don’t have to go home and have a shower straight after your workout. “Being able to add some style to your workout means you don’t have to compromise between being fashionable or being fit. You can be both.” AWI has provided Vie Active with support and guidance, by introducing the company to MerinoPerformTM fabric, and putting them in touch with some of the best manufacturers and printers. The company is endorsed by a collection of fashion conscious athletes and fitness professionals across the world, known as ‘Vie Activists’, who test every piece of Merino wool apparel produced by Vie Active and even drive the brand’s blog. Physiotherapist, yoga teacher and nutritionist Katrina Loop, who runs her own business Honey Health.Nutrition.Yoga, is one of the ‘Vie Activists’ based in Sydney. “When I wear Vie Active, I constantly get compliments from people on how cool my outfit is,” Katrina says. “Wearing their clothes makes me feel fashionable and sexy – I like to stand out! “Plus it is warm and comfortable, which is so important for me when teaching yoga early in the morning. It is super soft and comfortable, and is breathable, which is so unlike many other materials. The Merino fabric feels great on the skin. “If I build up a bit of a sweat working out, it doesn't feel sticky, due to the fabric's moisture wicking quality – so no cold and wet feeling!” Vie Active is now taking its Australian beach- lifestyle apparel to the world, and in recent months has established a foothold in the lucrative US market with increasing interest from consumers and retailers in their brand. “We now have a warehouse in Los Angeles to manage distribution for the entire country,” Noa says. “The US is a key potential market for us. Global sales for the sports fitness and clothing industry are projected to reach $US180 billion by 2018 with a compound annual growth rate of 6.8 per cent from 2013 to 2017. “Our goal from the outset was to build a global brand with a local voice, and we’re making this happen – with the help of Australian Merino wool.” FROM BONDI FITNESS AND FASHION Physiotherapist, yoga teacher and nutritionist Katrina Loop, wearing an attractive 100 per cent Merino wool tank top from Vie Active, while working out on the headland overlooking Bondi Beach. • Vie Active is an Australian activewear brand that combines fashion with fitness and a Bondi-cool attitude. • Their apparel is designed for the modern woman who enjoys living an active life but doesn’t want to compromise how she looks and feels. • The company started in 2012 with just eight products – made from Merino wool – but is already taking its first steps into overseas markets. MORE INFORMATION www.vieactivewear.com www.merino.com/Lifestyle/vie-active/