It feels like a big-name, big-box company tries to launch an activewear line every week.
We are SO over it.
Luckily we met NJ designer Emily Hsu – and her amazing pants – in a few local yoga studios. One quick trip to the dressing room and we were hardcore SOLD on Emily’s fashion-forward prints and metallics, flattering fits (high waists!) and VERY reasonable price points. Oh and we were SUPER excited to get matching pants for our littles too!
Emily’s designs are undoubtedly upping the vibe of our athluxe lifestyle with workout-to-streetwear choices that make our down dogs and dinner dates look equally delicious.
Learn more about this living-leggings-legend right here!
On why she became a designer
Even though I’ve had a lifelong love of fashion, I didn’t set out to be an activewear designer. I actually come from a performing and dancing background; prior to starting my business I appeared in 12 Broadway shows. I started making leggings for myself and my daughters just because I couldn’t find anything in the marketplace that fit me the way I wanted and offered prints that I thought were beautiful and fashion forward. I was practicing a lot of yoga and needed leggings for every day and wanted to wear fun and interesting pieces that reflect my personality. So I created some patterns and got a sewing machine and started trying out different things until I came up with the high waist signature legging that was the fit I wanted.
On her design aesthetic
I think activewear should be fashion and not be limited by anything. I like prints with movement over the body so that the eye moves in a fluid way as opposed to very geometric prints. I like bold and rich colors in a variety of designs: animal prints, sparkle, florals.
I think your clothing should reflect your different moods. You may feel want to feel sleek one day and then sporty and colorful the next. I really just pick things that I would want to wear and that I feel would be flattering on all different shapes. I would never design a piece that I wouldn’t personally wear.
On her point of view
I think women are strong and confident, and their clothing, especially their workout wardrobe, should reflect that. I believe in getting noticed in the crowd and saying to the world “Here I am.” So why choose pieces that make you blend in with everyone else? What you wear is an extension of your personality so choose something that makes you stand out and feel great.
On her muses
Since I come from the Broadway world my muses are really the Broadway chorus girls. They are beautiful, glamorous, talented, strong, and they know what they want in life. I design with them in mind because I know they want pieces that make their lines look gorgeous and also that will perform well when they are jumping, kicking, and doing splits!
On work-life balance
It definitely is hard to be a mother and run your own business. Sometimes I feel like I work 24/7 (I’m a bit of an over-achiever and workaholic and sometimes I’m answering emails till 1am!) But I am grateful that I am able to set my own schedule and that I never have to miss a piano recital or swim meet.
On growing a business
I have tried to stay true to who I am and what the brand represents and that means growing the business organically through word of mouth and social media. I really strive to maintain a great price point for my customers so I don’t pay a big PR firm or spend a lot of advertising because then all of that would mean having to raise prices. People discover us by word of mouth and our customers are really the best advertisement. People always tell me that they constantly get stopped when wearing my leggings and asked where they got them. A lot of fitness Instructors wear our pieces and then the studio owners reach out to carry our line. It’s been such a great community of fit women spreading the word and we’ve had a great response by people recommending us to their friends.
On her roots in the Garden State
I lived in NYC for 8 years before my husband and I moved out to NJ when we realized we wanted to start a family. I grew up in suburbia and I knew I always wanted that lifestyle for my kids. I love the variety that living in Upper Saddle River offers. We have great schools, and we get to drive 20 minutes to the mountains and then 30 minutes the other direction and we are in the heart of Manhattan. It’s the best of both worlds!
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