Here at TTS, we believe that fitness is just as important as the food we put in our mouths, and trust us, we put a lot of food in our mouths. But sometimes, finding time to go to the gym can be a real pain. With going back and forth to and from the office and running errands around town, it’s really hard to carry a bag that is filled with gym shoes, gym clothes, deodorant, oh, and that dry shampoo you can’t live without.
That’s where ADAY comes in. Leave that gym bag at home, the ladies of ADAY are elevating the athleisure game by designing some of the coolest gym gear we have ever seen. Meg and Nina came together after their own run in with trouble when trying to find time to fit fitness into their lives without having to lug around a gym bag everywhere they went. Each piece is made with woven materials of nylon blends and designed with a minimalistic structure. Overall, these are pieces of clothes you are not going to want to take off. And why should you, when you look this cool. Not only are the clothes pretty rad, but so are the two founders of the brand. Nina and Meg have flown across the sea to bring us the best of the best when it comes to athleisure, because they are more than a clothing brand, they are a lifestyle.
We had the privilege of hanging out with Meg and Nina at their lovely new SOHO office, where we got to chat about ADAY, how they include fitness into their lives, and brunch, of course. Meet the lovely duo behind your new favorite fashion line, Meg He (left) and Nina Faulhaber (right).
Meg: Beijing, China + Berkshire, UK
Nina: Frankfurt, Germany
Meg: East Village, New York
Nina: Williamsburg, New York
NYC spot to get your brunch on?
Meg: Northern Spy
Ultimate travel destination?
Meg: Space (the final frontier!)
Nina: Fascinated by space travel
Coffee or tea:
Meg: Tea — genmaicha is the only caffeinated thing I drink.
Nina: Blue Bottle Coffee almond milk latte all the way
Go-to form of exercise?
Meg: A long run.
Nina: 6k runs + yoga or cardio classes
Must-have piece from ADAY collection?
Meg: Up in the Air jacket
Guilty pleasure you aren’t afraid to admit?
Meg: Hitting snooze for an additional 20 mins cuddling.
Nina: Chocolate + dancing
How did you guys come up with ADAY?
Meg: Nina and I actually came up with the idea separately of each other — it just happened to be the same idea! For Nina, sports had always been a central part of her life. She was a competitive gymnast growing up. However, when she moved to London, she found it more difficult to keep up with her healthy habits while throwing herself fully into working life at the same time. At the rare occasion when she had time to squeeze in a workout, she often times didn’t have her gym bag on her. That’s when the lightbulb struck: She thought that if her normal clothing was more active she could be way more flexible, so she took a Sportswear Design short course in London and sketched out the first few designs.
I started being active and healthy very recently — in 2011, when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. There, I worked out seriously for the first time, going from my very first yoga class to enrolling in yoga teacher training (I also bought a road bike and ran my first marathon). At the time, I had never spent any time in activewear so I was astonished to feel the technology in the fabric — yet puzzled as to why it was so different from the rest of my wardrobe. Initially, I tried “hacking” activewear and going to yoga class in a silk top, leather pants — then it dawned on both of us that all clothing should have active materials combined. This resulted in our first two products, the Throw & Roll leggings and the Hail Yes trackpants. Over time, we realised this wasn’t so much about clothing, but about a life statement on how we wish to live our lives. We’re constantly moving, yet our clothing slows us down. Our woman is so smart and so passionate — we realised that this was about making a product that helped people live their lives better.
With ADAY being for the active woman, how do you both implement exercise into your daily life?
Nina: It’s hard for everyone for implement exercise into your daily life. For many years, I worked in a demanding environment in Investment Banking and didn’t really have the chance to prioritise healthy living. I had back problems, I saw it in my skin and most importantly, in my mood. I’m naturally a cheerful person and when that was dampened by my lifestyle, I knew I had to do something. I like to do something whenever I can, even if it’s small — from meditating on the subway for 10 minutes, to tensing my abs actively when I walk (and always walk fast!). You can embrace a healthy living lifestyle everywhere. I love running, in NYC I run alongside the Hudson River or over the Williamsburg Bridge in NYC. I have my favorite running routes near our two factories in Portugal (beautiful purest nature) and LA (I run along Venice Beach). In London, my favourite is running alongside Regent’s Canal in Shoreditch. On colder days, I do my morning workouts at Shoreditch House, and I love The Class in New York. I have yet to find my spot in my new Williamsburg neighbourhood, but Brooklyn Body Burn is definitely a runner up.
Meg: I love running to and from places (in ADAY of course) whenever possible. I live almost next to the East River Park so that’s a go-to. I love Soul Sweat and Lotus Fly! (super fun vinyasa yoga classes) at Laughing Lotus in Union Square and hard indoor treadmill workouts at Mile High Run Club in NoHo.
ADAY is so aesthetically pleasing with its minimalistic designs. What is the process like when coming up with the designs for ADAY?
Nina: We’re heavily inspired by life experience — and the fact that we both realized we shared the same interests, but also we felt the same thing was stopping us both matching our wardrobe with the speed of our active lifestyles. We took a step back and asked ourselves if we only had 5 garments in our wardrobes, what would those be. We wanted to be able to go away for a long weekend of work and play and take nothing else but ADAY and a pair of Nike shoes and Balenciaga heels.
Then we found Charli Cohen and she became our Fashion Designer – and together we dreamed up the now eight perfect pieces you need. We looked at the favorite pieces in our normal wardrobe and thought how could we recreate them? Meg’s Elizabeth & James leather pants and my leather leggings became the inspiration for our Hail Yes Trackpants. Charli & my shiny Prada jackets we both lived in became the inspiration for our Run the World Jacket. Our favorite Phillip Lim silk shirts inspired our tank.
Now our designers Millie and Mikaela are splitting their time between constantly tweaking and improving our existing pieces, and dreaming up new designs that take inspiration from ready-to-wear and tech cues from activewear. We always ask ourselves: Can our design be a staple piece you can not only be active in but “live in?”
You both have been to at least over 50 different countries and constantly travel back and forth from NYC to London. Can you share any travel tips to make flying easier?
Meg: I love flying and get on more than one flight per week (a horror for some, but I do enjoy it) — I have a ritual:
- Use the same luggage each time. Whenever possible, I try to use only a small backpack with no suitcase. Even when it’s very cold, you can wear your coat 🙂
- Never check a bag in. You save so much more time and gain flexibility.
- Don’t unpack your 311 toiletries. Then they’re always ready to go.
- Always have a well-padded eyemask in your bag. Always good to get some zz in.
- Wear the ‘Up in the Air’ jacket. It’s great for warm, cold, snoozing, spilling liquids over yourself. It’s in its name.
Who is the ideal woman to wear ADAY?
Meg: We made this for all the women around us — we’re inspired daily by the women we meet, especially women with inspiring stories how they followed their passions. We draw massive inspiration from them and are beyond happy when we see them wearing it. If we had to pick an ideal woman, she would be a cross between women like Amal Clooney, Kerry Washington, Karlie Kloss and Christy Turlington Burns. Women who are strong, active and have an opinion, who rock the red carpet as well as the TED stage. Any woman who loves the principles of what we stand for at ADAY is our dream customer.
How do you see athletic wear changing in the future?
Nina: Fitness is no longer a boutique activity — being active is a part of everyone’s lives. That doesn’t have to mean working out everyday, it could just mean walking up the steps of the escalator in the tube. As a result, every global retailer is thinking seriously of activewear, beyond just the big brands (Nike, Adidas, etc). Activewear is the fastest growing segment of women’s fashion. As this category grows, consumers will need more choice, making the boutique brands important.
From where we stand, the most interesting growth is in a new category, one that we are creating — what we think of as active daywear. We take everyday essentials and make them from fully active materials, so that the properties they have — from sweat-wicking to SPF 50 (active) or silk-feel, wrinkle-free (daywear) — fit into a modern day’s life. We have had a significant amount of wholesale interest and think this is due part because of our design approach, initial traction, material quality and technique, but also because what we do bridges their other daywear womenswear and big brand activewear so well.
We are in love with Wander by ADAY. Tell us a little bit about the blog and what you hope it can blossom into?
Meg: Thank you! Wander was launched six months before our e-commerce. We wanted to use it to explore who our woman was and create content that she would read, which was still focused on wellness and the active lifestyle, but also sassy and intellectual in tone. Content plus commerce is really the holy grail of online retail, so we were thrilled that our readers loved it so much. At the beginning, we wanted to create a digital and offline guide of where to work out, chill out and dine out — and then branching out into interviews with inspiring women, playlists to work out to and recipes. We’re now exploring ways of integrating Wander much more into the e-commerce website, as well as working with other brands to create content. We recently launched an integrated online plus offline partnership with the digital media publisher PureWow, where we created a special landing page, photography with their editor-in-chief, Mary Kate McGrath, and we’re also adding a special insert into each order.
Because you both always frequently travel, how do you feel your experience with world travel has influenced your work ethic?
Meg: Our world is changing and we strongly believe that instead of working 9am to 6pm, people now work and play simultaneously. So ADAY is founded on that basis — we want to create an environment where people can do their best work. However, that means they need to work and travel and play and workout, so we believe in a fully flexible environment driven by our mission. Also, everyone is different — we are a team of mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and we respect these needs around work, too. Our team is highly motivated, hardworking and we’re all working towards the same thing — this works because we work incredibly collaboratively, use a lot of technology tools to stay in touch and work remotely a lot. Recently, I worked remotely from Reykjavik for two days — my boyfriend and I are in a long distance relationship and Iceland is luckily in the middle between London and New York.
Where do both see the future of ADAY in five years?
Nina: We’d like for ADAY to have a positive impact on a lot of people’s lives: Make space for what really counts, follow your passions and experience amazing things, rather than worry about what may hold you back. We’d like to do that through both our product (to eliminate “Oh no, I can’t go on that hike with you because I’m wearing jeans”) and also through living by example and sharing that mindset (to eliminate “Oh no, I can’t do this because I don’t have time”). We advocate that time is our most precious good, so let’s spend it in the most meaningful way.
We integrate our mission into what we do every day and that’s why we love to get communities together, for pop-ups and for shared experiences. For example, we organized a workout / run over the Brooklyn Bridge in New York in partnership with Sweetgreen. We just moved into our new office in New York in December – which has already become a spot for our community to get together. And we’ll also be popping up in LA in March, again with a shared experience. Stay tuned!
Photography via Vanessa Granda for Taste The Style