Australians are renowned for their active lifestyles. 365, 24/7 it feels they are always on the go, whether it be soft sand runs, beach walks, scouring rainforests for waterfalls or mountain hikes, it doesn’t stop there. They’re in the gym, on the bike, on the mat… they’re doing pilates and yoga, Cross Fit and F45, playing tennis and swimming. The list goes on and on. The part we love? Alongside all those active lifestyles comes… drum roll… the all important activewear wardrobes.
Now ten years ago, the thought of wearing leggings or a crop top outside of the gym was horrifying. Now, some might argue, it’s the very pinnacle of fashion. And nowhere in the world epitomises this look more than Bondi Beach. The epicentre of activewear, athleisure and all the good stuff in between.
Over the last few years, we have seen an explosion of brands that successfully cross between active, street, athletic and lifestyle wear. You are just as likely to see brands such as P.E Nation in the bar as in the gym, or Nagnata on the beach as on the reformer.
Not only are their designs fashion led, but they are also one of the most progressive sectors when it comes to sustainability and ethical practices. The majority of Australian activewear and athleisure designers are leading with charge when it comes to their environmental impact, with the use of sustainable materials, traceable manufacturing and better recycling practices than ever before.
So what are our favourite Australian activewear brands and why? Let us walk you through the best of the best…
Our founder’s firm favourite, P.E Nation was originally concepted in Sydney by Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning. P.E Nation is for all day, every day, for everybody. Although the brand launched with street meets sportswear apparel, P.E Nation has expanded to include technical activewear, nostalgic 90’s streetwear, performance snow gear, accessories, fashion denim and a basics range.
P.E Nation champions women being fit, strong, bold, individual and fun. Independent yet supported. Part of a movement made up of like-minded people doing life together.
The P.E Nation philosophy is centred around quality design and construction, whilst offering fashion forward, comfortable pieces that are specifically designed to take wearers from the studio to street. The brand reflects a sense of strength in unity and community, encouraging people to find their passion and celebrate an active way of life.
Aesthetically, P.E Nation is design-driven and led by global fashion trends, with curated seasonal colours and considered silhouettes. Looks are styled and outfitted in a fashionable way, yet work with the key performance fabrications and technical properties attributed to sportswear.
From a green perspective, P.E Nation focuses on being recycled, sustainable, low-impact, conscious and compostable. The brand acknowledges the continuing journey to produce eco-friendly conscious apparel that values sustainability and protection of the planet. The creation of Our Conscious Nation seeks to raise awareness and offer transparency around their commitment to holistically implementing meaningful and sustainable business practices in order to reduce their impact on the environment. This covers all aspects of production, packaging and delivery.
Also available via My Gym Wardrobe
With a design house in Los Angeles and a base in Byron Bay, it’s no wonder Nagnata has become a firm athleisure favourite over the last few years. The brand has a distinctive style that is both bold and understated; a luxury fashion and lifestyle label that is informed by movement and mindful practices.
At the heart of everything Nagnata produces are the pillars of sustainability, inclusivity and a celebration of diverse culture. Founded by sister design-duo Laura May and Hannah Gibbs, the brand merges the natural properties of organic and renewable fibres with technology and innovation. The end result is leggings, bike shorts, crops and dresses that realise the studio to street lifestyle, blurring the lines between technical sportswear and fashion with a tongue in cheek nod to 60s and 70s style.
Nagnata has an ongoing exploration of sustainability as a culture that extends beyond materials and manufacturing. They are challenging industry standards and their responsibility as a brand. With a founding mantra of “Movements Not Seasons”, Nagnata makes a gesture towards a free approach to seasonality. The brand introduced their first generderless movement in 2020 with SAMA, styles are not exclusively masculine or feminine.
In addition to this, Nagnata’s intention is to create a multifaceted platform merging fashion with fair trade, community-focused initiatives and humanitarian work not often associated with fashion brands. They successfully incorporate dance, yoga, movement and mind practices integrated from eastern and western culture that embodies a healthy and conscious lifestyle. And look damn good while doing it.
Also available through Net-A-Porter.
Founded in 2013 by high-school besties Katia Santilli and Vera Yan, Nimble Activewear is a Bondi-based label that is committed to making high performance gear that feels feminine and is made to fit the female body. Nimble is made in Australia and every collection includes exercise clothing designed for yoga, pilates, running and high intensity interval training.
Born from a love of movement and boosting endorphins, the brand was hatched from an idea to make quality activewear that looks amazing, feels great and motivates their wearers to feel stronger, happier and healthier. They promise to remove the “picking, pulling and adjustments” from workouts, with on-trend pieces that let you focus on you.
For active women who love to wear sportswear outside of the gym or on weekends, Nimble’s tops and bottoms are designed to be mixed and matched or worn as sets. They feature seasonal chic colour-blocked designs and creative, bold prints.
The Nimble brand ethos is “move more, tread lightly”, with their conscious clothing becoming the company’s biggest drawcard. When sourcing materials, they look to those that have a lower impact on the environment and promote better manufacturing and recycling practices. Their signature MoveLite fabric is made from used plastic bottles that are broken into flakes, melted into pellets, spun into yarn and knitted. Pretty damn clever.
Cult brand All Fenix was founded in 2015 by Melbourne couple Georgia Sackville & Jason Seidl. They started with an idea to create functional pieces that were versatile enough to be worn beyond any workout… and are now producing collections of active, lounge, outerwear and accessories all designed in house by their own team.
All Fenix perfectly captures fashion trends, with their earthy tones that translate seamlessly from the gym to the bar. Their signature style includes thick-strapped bralettes, high-waisted leggings and form-fitting bike shorts. Their fabrications are moisture wicking, antimicrobial, breathable and offer four-way stretch - and that’s just the start. They are quick dry, offer SPF protection and zero transparency. Hallajeula.
The brand is working hard to reduce their environmental impact, starting with a mix of recyclable packaging (including their shipping satchels and garment bags) and the introduction of recycled active pieces, which are made from recycled polyester and repurposed into new fiber without the use of petroleum.
Also available via My Gym Wardrobe
Other honourable mentions on our favourites list include First Base, a Bondi based athleisure brand by Alison Cotton. Her idea was to take her love of surf and sports culture and build it into something that was clean, simple and iconic. Just like her home.
Their green credentials ring true and being ethically produced on a top-line level means all their factories are audited by a third party to ensure that they are WRAP (World Responsible Accredited Production) compliant. At First Base, they aim to consistently reduce and hopefully, one day, eliminate their environmental impact. Great consideration is given to packaging, production and fabrication. They even sell vintage pieces that drop on the first of each month.
The Upside is the OG when it comes to the Australian athleisure movement. Founder Jodhi Meares was spending time between Sydney, Hawaii and New York when she noticed women of every age under the spell of these magical activewear pieces. Their aesthetic is as recognisable today as it was when the brand launched and they are lauded for their ethical and sustainability practices.
Finally, Dharma Bums, an Australian-based brand that was born out of the frustration of not being able to purchase ethical and sustainable activewear back in 2013. This brand has stood the test of time, successfully combining performance with purpose, without ever compromising on quality or their values. The Dharma Bums unique, signature designs are all hand drawn and printed on the latest high-tech, sustainable performance fabrics. Everything is designed with a focus on fit and comfort.
But don’t just take our word for it when it comes to the incredible brands coming out of Oz, Jenny Squires, founder of My Gym Wardrobe agrees. “I would certainly say that Aussie brands lead the way in both ethical and recyclable materials and they also never compromise on functionality - so you know that no matter how stylish it looks, it won't let you down on performance. That's why I love the Aussie brands so much.”
My Gym Wardrobe are offering The Bondi Wellness Co fam 15% discount off their entire range of brands. They offer next day delivery for those of you that can't wait. Use code BONDI15 at check-out.
Copywriting credit to our favourite Sydneysider Kate Pascoe.