Lockdown and working from home have created a definitive shift in the way people are dressing. The ‘athleisure’ trend was around long before the pandemic, but its onset has made this style more acceptable and fashionable. Meet Umdloti sisters Natalie and Maxine, whose clothing line is all about effortless, comfortable style.
Besties, sisters and born-and-bred KZN babes, Natalie and Maxine Elphick’s stunning new fashion line, Bod the Brand, has taken athleisure wear to the next level. With a focus on functionality, style and comfort, their mix-and-match range is made from superior quality fabrics with seamless comfort in a carefully curated colour palette. We caught up with them to find out a little more about the ladies behind the Bod the Brand.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELVES AND YOUR INDIVIDUAL CAREERS THUS FAR
We both attended Durban Girls College and went on to study business (Natalie) and photography (Maxine). Design, art and travel were an integral part of our lives from a very young age and very much influenced our career paths. We have a shared love of being active and outdoors and both swam competitively for many years. After school Natalie went to the USA on a full swimming scholarship where she attended the Villanova School of Business and received a BBA, majoring in marketing. She then went on to complete a fashion merchandising diploma, taking her into her first job as a junior merchandiser. Maxine completed a BA in visual communications, majoring in photography at the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography. She pursued a photography career for a few years, but decided there was more out there for her. Together we started our first business, XO The Brand (a more formal ladies fashion and accessory online store), which has now expanded into our new venture, Bod The Brand.
WHAT WAS YOUR VISION/GOAL WITH THIS BUSINESS?
After starting XO and working from home (even before the pandemic), we found that athleisure was our go-to wardrobe. As lovers of all-things-fashion, we found it difficult to find stylish and comfortable pieces that we felt put-together in. This inspired the vision to bring women a stylish ‘second skin’ that focused on comfort and confidence. Whether working in or working out, on-the-move or lounging about, we wanted to create wardrobe staples that easily transition women from one daily task to the next, without a second thought on what to wear. More than that though, we are a community first and a brand second, which is why we place great emphasis on our #bodcommunity. We want this to be a platform that provides the goods and the space for women to look and feel their best.
WHAT DOES ‘ATHLEISURE’ MEAN TO YOU?
Athleisure means put-together comfort you can wear for almost any activity. ‘Any-wear’ pieces you can WFH (work from home) or workout in, run errands, travel, brunch or barre in. It’s the normalisation and formalisation of more casual, athletic wear in the best way. A hybrid style of dressing that is stylish and edgy and makes getting ready every day easy. Athleisure has been around for a while, but the work-from/stay-at home environment has intensified consumer’s need for it, especially in a way that is more acceptable, trendy and fashion-forward.
WHAT ARE YOUR DO’S AND DON’T’S FOR WEARING ‘ATHLEISURE’ ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Do’s: Go for a matching set – makes for sophisticated effortless dressing; Layer up – an oversized tee over biker shorts, a tonal sweatshirt with leggings, a bomber jacket over a set; Wear with seamless undies; Check the features to match what you’re dressing for/activity impact level; Pick a neutral colour start + work up to our coloured sets. Don’t’s: Be afraid to try new things – our styles are made for all babes (and we offer free returns!); Go too small, when in doubt, size up; Over complicate it. Keep it simple; Don’t compete – empower and share!
Text: Leah Shone