For many people, activewear has officially superseded the classic jeans-and-tee combo for off-duty outings – and while there’s plenty of brands making leggings that feel good, it’s not so easy to find ones you can feel good about buying.
Enter ALAS. With fans including Gwyneth Paltrow and Tavi Gevinson, the label’s ethically made, organic cotton daywear, loungewear and sleepwear, featuring eye-catching prints, has had a dedicated following.
Its new range of leggings, sports bras, jersey singlets, running shorts and tracksuits feature signature ALAS prints. The pieces are made from recycled PET fabric with 17 per cent elastane (as well as organic cotton in the fleece track pants and pullovers, and stretch cotton jersey singlets).
“We were very conscious when branching out, making sure that we did it right, from both and ethical and practical standpoint,” says designer Kelly Elkin (who owns ALAS with Betony Dircks). Though organic cotton is durable and breathable, “we knew that it just wouldn't cut it when it came to fitness gear.”
The pair researched alternative producers and fabrics that were kinder to the environment than nylon and polyester. The result? Their North American eco fabric supplier uses recycled PET fabric: a plastic material commonly found in water bottles, which is woven with elastane to create the leggings and sports bras.
Using new fabrics led to new creative opportunities too. “In the past we have only used organic cotton, knitted or hand woven. And we have only printed using traditional screen-printing techniques and block printing,” says Elkin.
The activewear range pushed Elkin and Dircks to re-imagine their label’s aesthetic of painterly prints and bright pops of colours for high-tech digital printing. The designers were able to transfer their paintings and drawings directly onto garments. A new favourite is sure to be the floating print, a minimal flecked pattern taken from one of Dircks’s paintings.
As well as catering for ethically minded shoppers, the range is “made for ladies who balance drinking fine wines and eating good food with a semi-dedicated fitness routine.”
“Exercise is a treat for us so we wanted to create a range that made us feel good, that was fun.”