With Vogue covering Pippa Middleton’s leggings as street style, and Jessica Biel announcing her own yoga clothing line, athleisure is still making fashion news. But for Vancouver-based RYU, workout gear isn’t about looking trendy (though the label is sleek enough to be Goop-approved)—it’s all about performance.
The company designs tailored activewear for men and women, describing the latter market as awash in “a sea of sameness.” Now, following its recent launch into global e-commerce, RYU has just opened its very first store outside British Columbia—a 2,200-square-foot space in Toronto, at 361 Queen Street West—this past weekend.
RYU started out in Portland, Oregon, and was brought to Vancouver in 2015, after investor Marcello Leone assumed control of the company. What first attracted Leone, now president and CEO, was the brand’s name, short for Respect Your Universe. “It resonated so deeply with him that he began to invest and raise more money to make the brand a success,” says RYU vice-president Alex Briglio.
Originally sold as clothing for mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters, RYU was reinvented as urban athletic apparel obsessed with design innovation. Take, for example, their tights: “They have a patented TriLayr waistband that includes medical-grade compression, which makes sure your tights do not fall down when you’re being active,” says Briglio. “Our fabrics are some of the best in the world and our fit is unique in how it is tailored, making athletic wear applicable to street wear—a true hybrid.”
As it moves into its new Toronto digs, RYU brings with it a new fall collection, including fabric treated with silver to reduce odour, just in time for winter workout layering. I’ve got my eye on the ingenious backpacks designed with a place for everything, to let you truly be on the go while always complementing your sense of style. Because isn’t that what athleisure’s all about?