R tile 1280 X 720 TEMPLATE copy
Aussie sensations (L to R) Caset La Chiusa, Bridget Hollitt (centre) and Megan Blake Irwin (right) in Running Bare’s Spring 2016 campaign

Long before Lorna Jane, The Upside, Slinkii and P.E Nation and the global sports luxe phenomenon was a glint in high end designer’s eyes, there was a little Australian athleisure brand rather partial to bold prints called Running Bare.

Founded by Corin and Brian Powell from their Bondi base in 1983, the husband and wife team – who must have had a hot fashion trend crystal ball – still own what was officially the first Australian-owned and made mainstream workout label.

Thirty-three years on and Running Bare is still a major Aussie player in the now billion-dollar global athleisure-wear stakes, with 12 stores across the country, plus hundreds of retail outlets both here and overseas. The Powell’s daughter Yolanda is now design director, but they brand is still owned, designed and almost completely made right here in Oz.

Similarly, the faces of its new Spring 2016 ad campaign (first glimpses here) are attention-grabbing Aussies: Megan Blake-Irwin and Bridget Hollitt.

We spoke to Yolanda Powell about designing Barre Body-specific pieces for the first time, how Gucci-esque prints are the hottest thing this season and exactly why her Voga top is possibly the most comfortable bran you’ll ever own.

R Running Bare Spring 16 Campaign RBS16_04
Megan Blake-Irwin stars in Running Bare’s SS16 campaign

How does it feel to work on Australia’s oldest athleisure brand? We don’t like to say “oldest”, we prefer the “original” or “pioneer” of athleisure. When we started in the 1980s, it was all about leg warmers and leotards but now activewear has moved beyond Olivia Newton John and Let’s Get Physical. Women are wearing it day in and day out now, making it their uniform. Our focus is to constantly push the boundaries by creating fierce fitness fashion that with superior performance, quality and design.

R Yolanda Powell Credit to The Iconic 1
Design director, Yolanda Powell, whose parents founded the company 33 years ago
Credit: The Iconic

What’s your take on the tendency for women to wear crop tops all day rather than a bra now? What’s the first thing you do, as a woman, when you get home? Hair up, bra off. Correct? Running Bare is made by women, for women, so it’s no accident that we work hard to make styles that women want to wear all day regardless if they are working out or not, with your bras becoming a far distant memory in the back of your wardrobe.

Your brand is best known for its prints. what’s your favourite this season? That’s like asking a mother to pick her favourite child. I guess if you had to make me choose a fave, it would have to be the Eye of the Tiger collection with our Janelle print. Think Gucci / Asian-influence bomber jacket chic teamed with fierce and sexy tigers. You can’t go wrong.

R2 Running Bare Spring 16 Campaign RBS16_06
A crop top in the Yolanda’s favourite Janelle print from the Eye of the Tiger range

Something new this season is pieces specifically for Barre Body-style classes. Why? What’s not to love about Barre? It’s all about re-setting your body, looking good and feeling great, which is what we embrace at Running Bare. It’s a high-energy strength class that focuses on your body and mind. You switch off from everything else because you have to concentrate and focus on working your core, otherwise you aren’t doing the class properly.

How are the Barre pieces different to typical gym clothes? The Barre Ballet Crop and In The Zone tight are feminine and chic. They’re designed to stretch with you as you stretch out and focus on creating the perfect line on the body, with excellent support. They’re fashionable and sexy but above all functional – perfect for Barre.

R Running Bare Spring 16 Campaign RBS16_10
Running Bare now offers pieces made specifically for stretching during Barre classes

You claim your Voga top is the most comfortable crop a girl will ever own. Firstly, what on earth is Voga? It’s is a cross between yoga and Vogueing – think yoga plus Madonna striking a pose in the 1980s New York drag scene – as a way to bring dance class cardio to breath-synchronised yoga. It’s actually a lot of fun.

WHY IS THE VOGA so special? This crop top is everyone’s new fave for a number of reasons. Our Fantasia fabric is out of our mill in Italy and feels like you are wearing next to nothing as its super soft on the body. There is the sexy styling at the front to give “the girls” (your boobs) their best angle… no side boob, double boob or muffin top back boob.

R2 Running Bare Voga Fantasia Crop Top 6499 6S15281Bgreymarle1
Running Bare, voga Crop Top, $65. SHOP NOW

R Running Bare Spring 16 Campaign RBS16_20
Bridget Hollitt in a shot from Running Bare’s Spring 2016 campaign

All model images courtesy Running Bare