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Demand for athleisure and activewear rising post-Covid on increased health consciousness

Sustainable size inclusive athleisure brand aasteyplans to launch a varied range of product categories with sweatshirts, joggers, dri-fit t-shirts, wide leg pants, and much more in 2023

Jeevika Tyagi, Co-Founder & CEO, aastey
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Jeevika Tyagi, Co-Founder & CEO, aastey

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The Indian society constantly suffers from the notion that women need to be of a certain size and colour to look fashionable and attractive. Women are forced to believe that they need to be of a certain size to fit into clothes because of the limited sizes available. Jeevika Tyagi and Kanupriya Mundhra sought to change this belief. Hence came into existence aastey. With the belief that women should be able to wear 'what fits them,' aastey provides women of all shapes, sizes, and ages with high-quality fashionable athleisure wear across nine different sizes made from sustainable fabric blends. In an interview with Bizz Buzz, Jeevika Tyagi, Co-Founder & CEO, aastey, says "When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, people grew conscious of the need to stay healthy.

The increased consciousness led to a surge in the demand for athleisure and activewear. Today, athleisure has turned itself into an industry. The Indian athleisure industry is worth Rs 54,000 crores".

What does aastey stand for?

aastey believes that women need to slow down, do what makes them happy, and live life on their own terms at a pace that works for them. It stands for women empowerment and a celebration of varied choices and self-acceptance regardless of their body types, shapes and sizes. It urges women to love the way they are and just be themselves.

How is aastey different from other athleisure and activewear brands?

aastey is India's first size inclusive athleisure brand that has also decided to create signature sustainable blends. Our conviction in forging a better path in the athleisure space is what makes our solutions unique. We believe that our continuous effort to make our brand sustainable, from manufacturing to packaging, sets us apart. aastey is a one-stop shop for women. It is a brand for women by women, and caters to the needs of an average Indian woman. While other brands offer activewear only across selective sizes, aastey offers a wide range of athleisure and activewear to customers across nine different sizes for women of all shapes and sizes to feel confident about their bodies and wear what fits them. While other brands serve the consumers, they often neglect the harm the production process causes to the environment. aastey disagrees with this and manufactures its products with its in-house sustainable fabric blends. aastey has three recycled polyester blends - aasteyflex, aasteyfirm and aasteybreeze that are actively contributing in diverting plastic from oceans and landfills. These blends have been created with months of research and at least three rounds of sampling so that we can offer the softest functional fabrics to our aastey tribe while reducing our carbon footprint. Our slow down t-shirt collection is made with 100 per cent organic cotton fabric. Our earthshine yoga mat is also crafted with ethically sourced cork which is harvested from the outer barks of oak trees which ensures that no trees are harmed in this process. Our club collection includes products like hand-poured soy candles, which are 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free.

Are Indian consumers ready for these kinds of products?

Athleisure is a hybrid style of athletic clothing worn as everyday wear. These include yoga pants, tights, sneakers, leggings, etc. These are flexible in nature and help absorb sweat during exercise. When athleisure initially arrived in the Indian market, it took the consumers by storm and soon became a trend.

When the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, people grew conscious of the need to stay healthy. The increased consciousness led to a surge in the demand for athleisure and activewear. Today, athleisure has turned itself into an industry. The Indian athleisure industry is worth Rs 54,000 crores. Today, athleisure is the only category of clothing that is now socially acceptable to be worn virtually and actively.

What's the vision behind aasteytribe?

The vision behind aasteytribe is to build an inclusive community and try to show people how to be 'fully present in every moment and take it easy.'aastey's vision is to build an environment where all women are treated as equals irrespective of their size, colour, age, body type, lifestyle or race. With aastey, you are not expected to choose between feeling good and looking good. That is our brand's philosophy and the concept for each of our products.The aim is to forge a tribe that strives to build a space for women in harmony with nature. Since its inception, aastey has brought together a community of over 50,000 women of different ages, colors, sizes and shapes by promoting size inclusivity. With aastey tribe, aastey has worked on women empowerment, size-inclusivity and environmental preservation.

Can you give insights into the product range of the company?

aastey's product range is versatile in nature and has no one specific use. You can work up a sweat in the athletic wear styles or even laze around in the comfortable clothes because aastey is about being authentically you but in style. The products are designed to give the aastey tribe a complete wardrobe of sustainable wear with options that take them from day to night with ease. Fitting into a certain size should not be a stress point in their minds. The company's bestsellers include multifunctional leggings with four pockets and two different lengths, sports bras, tank tops in two different styles and tic tac cycling shorts. aastey designs these products after months of research on the problems that women face in their everyday lives. So, whether it is the inconvenience of tailoring or carrying a bag, aastey addresses it, and that's why the tribe loves it.

aastey also offers organic cotton tees in two colours along with a varied range of products in their club collection, including two soy wax vegan scented candles, stainless steel bottle, cotton canvas tote bagsand cork and natural rubber yoga mats. They also have a curated socks collection with three different styles - no show, calf length and ankle socks; designed to highlight the pollution in the oceans with high-definition ocean-themed prints.

What is your understanding of the different ways in which the brand uses content generation and social media as tools for creating brand awareness and industry awareness?

In today's climate, an online communication strategy is very essential. The rapid digitization in the country during the lockdown has been crucial for the rise of young homegrown brands, not just in the fashion sector but across all sectors. Using effective communication channels like social media platforms is essential to create a unique brand voice and generate content that not only aligns with the brand's values (sustainability, reducing carbon footprint, mindfulness and size inclusivity) but also creates awareness on issues that plague the fashion industry especially when it comes to stereotypes associated with women's fashion. This also includes providing an alternative and creating more awareness on slow fashion.

Any plans for events like fashion shows, etc.?

Being an online business, it's really important for people to see and feel the product and because of that offline events are very important to us. It's our way of speaking to the consumers - our tribe - to give them a premium experience of the products designed for them. There is only so much an online image can relay when it comes to the fabric's quality and feel. aastey's USP is the fabric quality and how breathable and comfortable it is and that can only be felt when someone actually wears it or touches it. So definitely we are planning to be part of offline exhibitions, shows and any events that would allow us to reach our tribe physically as well.

Insight into the company's business growth and future plans?

In 2023, the plan is to launch a varied range of product categories with sweatshirts, joggers, dri-fit t-shirts, wide leg pants, dresses and much more. We will also be adding to our existing leggings and t-shirt collections.

aastey is a community of women with unique personalities and lifestyles. It is a community of women who believe that there is joy in living in the moment and having a mindful life without putting unrealistic expectations on yourself. Our priority is to serve our community first-hand by creating more environmentally conscious solutions for our tribe to build an environment where all women are treated as equals irrespective of their size, colour, age, body type, lifestyle or race. We will continue to work towards this making this vision even bigger and expanding this sentiment across markets and geographies. Our next steps will always be towards expanding our community by crafting more solutions to support and uplift themselves, including exploring other lifestyle spaces.

We spent more than a year developing sustainable and internationally competitive products, and I plan to compound on this experience and offer solutions to make women's lives better. Currently, we utilise recycled fabrics, or organic fabrics in 100 per cent of our clothing. Our pledge is to create a closed-loop cycle for all our products and we aim to work on that. aastey seeks to make a difference by creating the most comfortable yet sustainable apparel, no matter the woman's size, colour or shape. This is why we also plan to create a standardised size chart across India which is a massive task considering our country's diversity.

What are the plans for exports?

We are eventually planning to expand and export internationally but currently we are looking to strengthen our base in India.

Vincent Fernandes
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