Yoga Wear

Written by Mira Saraf.

Yoga has become an industry in every sense of the word. Not only do yoga studio memberships come at a premium, yoga wear has emerged as well. People have started emptying their wallets for stylish yoga wear and accessories (mats and towels to name a few). Are their different price levels of brands? Different looks? Different fabrics? I did a little bit of research and this is what I found out.

yoga wear

We have all heard of Lululemon Athletica - the famous yoga and athletic brand known by the little horseshoe shaped symbol (which is actually an "A"). It has become a fashion icon. The company was started in 1998 in Vancouver, and features a huge selection of yoga wear and accessories for both women and men. It is the first thing people think of when they think of yoga wear, so they have done an excellent job establishing their brand image. They have developed their own fabrics such as luon, luxtreme, coolmax and silverescent as well as using a number of standard yoga wear fabrics such as organic cotton and French terry. Tops and shorts range around $50 a piece.

Prana is a clothing brand founded 16 years ago, and based on a love of nature. They are committed to the environment and the world around them, and feature a whole range of athletic wear for men and women. About half of their products are made in the United States. They are a member of the Organic Trade Association and the Organic Exchange and seek to reduce CO2 emissions through their Natural Power Initiative. They seek to protect the world around them in the materials they use as well as their general business practices. Although they are an American brand they are available in store across Canada, and Canadians should be able to order online.

One very famous brand is Shakti Yoga Ana Bugarim Santos was a Brazilian Hatha yoga with a swimsuit line known as Gold Rio. She signed up for Bikram Yoga teacher training in 2003, and as she was going to need several yoga outfits for her 9 weeks of training, she designed a set of tops and bottoms specifically for this time period. Her combinations were a hit, with several attendees asking if they could purchase outfits from her. That was just the beginning, and now so many years later, Shakti is regarded as a highly respected brand in the field of hot yoga wear. The fabric is designed technically and aesthetically for hot yoga use. Some yoga studios carry her product but you should be able to order online as well. Prices are comparable to Lululemon (approximately $40-50 for a top and the same approximate range for shorts). Like Lululemon she is not afraid of throwing a little bit of color into her mix.

Tonic, also launched in 2004 is another Canadian brand. Although it is no longer specifically focused on yoga, it can be used for any sport. It is available at several yoga studios and also claims to feature a combination of technical performance and style.. Focus is on solid colors not as much pattern. There was no real price or fabric content information.

After surveying a few of the major players in the yoga wear market, it is clear that there is little discrepancy in the look and price points these brands offered. There is no "affordable" or "discount" yoga brands, and there aren't a lot of different looks within them. Materials vary, some focus on cotton and organics, others focus on highly technical fabrics such as Lululemon's luon fabric. Both Shakti and Lululemon featured a little more color prints and patterns in their lines, whereas the other brands focused mostly on solids. It will be interesting to see if there is any further evolution in this arena, or whether Lululemon and the likes of them will continue to dominate the field.

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