This month heralds a full year of living that lockdown life here in South Africa. And for me, a year of spending an inordinate (yet blissfully comfy) amount of time in my stretchy pants. So much so that since my outdoor yoga classes started up again, I hardly have a decent pair of leggings to wear that wouldn’t give my students an unprofessional peek at my underwear!
So, I guess it’s high time for a little activewear wardrobe update. In an effort to stick to my resolution to shop local as far as possible, my search has been focused on proudly South African options… of which, the good news is, there really is no lack.
Not only is AQTIVwear proudly South African, it’s also an eco-conscious brand that takes sustainability seriously.
Their fabric consists of 82% recycled plastic fibers and 18% spandex to add stretch and maximum comfort. They manufacture ethically in Cape Town, South Africa and produce their leggings in small volumes for limited edition ranges. Finally, their products are shipped in 100% plastic-free and biodegradable packaging.
I just love the Shark Warrior leggings!
Visit the AQTIVwear website to shop their awesome eco-friendly products.
If, like me, you enjoy wearing leggings that are fun, colourful and functional, you will LOVE Button Fitness!
Locally made and printed in South Africa, their activewear range (including two lengths of gym shorts) are moisture-wicking, lightweight and high rise, with maximum comfort in mind.
“We have trialed and tested our garments to make sure they are squat proof and are suitable for all typed of workouts. We use a soft buttery material to ensure you feel your best whilst wearing our garments.”
They also try to keep waste to the minimum by packaging their garments in reusable, resealable PVC bags – perfect to keep your phone safe and dry in your beach or gym bag.
While all the prints are really beautiful, I think Black Lush (pictured above) is my favourite!
Visit the Button Fitness website to shop their eye-catching activewear.
Cheyna Dot. is a lifestyle brand based in Sandton, Johannesburg that believes in celebrating and empowering women.
My personal favourite thing about the brand, is that they offer ‘Build Your Leggings‘ service where you can send them a picture of something you’ve seen and would like to recreate ‘with a twist’ OR simply choose from one of their existing prints.
Visit the Chena Dot. website to shop leggings, shorts, golf and tennis wear.
From a young age, Sarah Jane Bingham spent the majority of her days in takkies, shorts and shirts. Her love of living an active lifestyle and feeling comfortable while doing it, led to the establishment of Esjay Sports.
As an athlete, you need to be comfortable and confident to get your best results. I have a theory that if you look good, you feel good, and ultimately, you “train good”!
Visit the Esjay Sports website to shop leggings, shorts, bras and even a range for those with pregnant bellies.
FITTLetics is a Durban-based brand passionate about empowering people of all shapes and sizes to feel confident while training and exercising.
Their current range has a super sexy jungle vibe to it with loads of animal print, foliage and florals.
I love the sassy two-tone leopard-print leggings as well as their super cool tie-dye vests.
Visit the FITTLetics website to shop their leggings, tops and hoodies.
Macho & Minx
Cape Town-based Macho & Minx is a small activewear business owned and run by a mom of three. They create comfy active wear which not only makes women feel great but also supports local artisans.
The brand believes in supporting the community as much as possible: patterns are made and cut in Woodstock, the fabric is cut in Manenburg and the leggings are sewn in Retreat.
Most importantly all the fabric is locally sourced. Keeping the business small, local and personal underpins the Macho & Minx philosophy.
Visit the Macho & Minx website to shop leggings, crop tops, sweat tops and jackets.
Okay, so technically, MonBon isn’t really an activewear brand, per se. However, I spotted some of their loungewear on Instagram recently and couldn’t help but think their Sophia set would make the perfect cosy outfit for a slow and yummy winter yin yoga session. And the Block Party set seems like it was made for an early-morning beach walk/jog.
Visit the MonBon website to shop loungewear, swimwear, dresses and sleepwear.
As mentioned earlier, I love a colourful print. However, sometimes, my mood requires something slightly calmer and more simple.
This is where Durban-based Moto wins the day. Their seamless, quick-dry garments come in a variety of soft pastel colours and honestly look super comfy.
Visit the Moto website to shop tights, bras and shorts.
Designed with the dynamic, modern woman in mind, MOVEPRETTY is a proudly South African premium athleisure brand that will make you feel as good as you look in their clothes.
MOVEPRETTY is all about women empowerment. from the women who make our prettymoves, to the women who wear it – we strive to make women feel valued, beautiful, confident and inspired. it’s important for us to uplift, empower and inspire.
I love how upfront they are about charging the prices they do for their products. Among other things, they are dedicated to employing local women to construct their garments and work with fellow young entrepreneurs – like photographers, stylists and graphic designers – who, in turn, create work in their sphere of influence. Read more about this under the ‘honest pricing’ tab on their website.
The Earth Collection is absolutely beautiful, but unfortunately all sold out. It’s still worth a look, though, even if just to whet your appetite for collections to come!
Visit the MOVEPRETTY website to shop their premium products and find out more about their superb ethical standars.
Pick n Pay Clothing
If you’re looking for slightly more affordable, locally-made activewear, Pick n Pay Clothing is where it’s at.
For a while now, I’ve noticed the retail chain’s drive to include more proudly South African products and garments on their shelves and rails. In-store, items are clearly marked with a sticker and on the website, listings are accompanied by a little South African flag icon.
Visit the Pick n Pay Clothing website to shop a selection of their activewear or pop into your nearest branch for a slightly wider choice.
Underpinning the Spiritgirl philosophy is a deep love for the earth and an insatiable appetite for life.
Their garments are all made from recycled PET fabric, woven with spandex in the creative hub of Woodstock, Cape Town. The fabric is specially designed to moisture wick from the body and dry out quickly, with the extra comfort of a 4-way stretch. Plus, the are 50% UV protected, which means the bold graphics won’t fade or run.
The Angelfish and Mermaid leggings are my absolute favourites in their current collection. What’s makes them even cooler, is the fact that proceeds from these specific items are donated to the I Am Water Foundation for ocean conservation.
Visit the Spiritgirl website to shop gorgeous, eco-conscious leggings, tops and swimwear.
One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned from yoga so far, is to not take everything so seriously. If you lose your balance, it’s really no biggie – have a giggle, compose yourself and try finding it again.
This is what Swagler Active’s joyful range brings to mind.
With bright colours and bold prints, this Garden Route-based brand is all about kicking mundanity to the curb and embracing the juicy goodness of a wholesome life.
Visit the Swagler website to shop all things bright and beautiful… or just for a little pick-me-up.
Each and every Sweat Gear order is custom-made in South Africa using high-quality materials that are both durable and beautiful. They pride themselves in using energy-efficient production methods to minimise environmental impact.
Browsing through the Sweat Gear website, I was struck by just how spoiled for choice their customers are. Under their full-length legging category alone, you will find more than 200 print options – from florals and forest vibes to animal print and sprawling galaxies.
Visit the Sweat Gear website to shop tights, crop tops, shirts and vests.