If a woman is to have it all, her wardrobe needs to do it all. At least that’s what three savvy Newport Beach women believe. So last year, Leah Hundsness, 45, Libby Amelia, 30, and Lauren Gill, 32, all with long fashion and beauty resumes, founded Out Inc., a fitness and activewear line based in Newport Beach and Australia that goes from gym to office to cocktails in razor-sharp style. In no time, the line went from idea to reality, winning fans (Jennifer Lopez, Dita Von Teese, and Mindy Kaling are fans), and selling out online. Now the line is landing in top-drawer retail establishments, including a summer pop-up shop at Fashion Island, and a small store on 31st Street in Newport Beach. This month they’re launching an exclusive collection for fitnesswear e-retailer Stylerunner, and plan to sell locally at Novecento Sports.
What was the light-bulb moment that lead to creating the line?
Libby: We’d all worked at Sephora in Asia for a number of years, and were constantly surprised by the number of innovations in beauty. But we noticed that in fashion, the same innovation in fabrics and uses was not so conspicuous. In fact, the marketplace trend [fashion retailers such as Zara, H&M, and Topshop] has arguably created a shift away from great fabrics and construction. The timing is right to change preconceptions that fashion and fitness should be mutually exclusive.
What’s different about your line?
Leah: It’s constructed for the gym and designed for the street. You don’t see any reflective logos, we don’t have our name on the outside leg, there’s no inspirational quotes—which are fantastic, but nothing that would make you look like the head counsel at your law firm. We wanted pieces that are workout, with dry-fit material, and really comfortable, but also that you could throw on with a blazer and some boots, and really look like the lawyer you are.
So then, is it activewear or ready-to-wear?
Libby: It is definitely activewear. It simply has the sensibilities of ready-to-wear in that it’s more in tune with the way women dress. They want fashionable clothing that withstands the knocks and spills of everyday life. The fabrics have eight-way stretch and compression; they’re breathable and quick-drying. They’re also colorfast and machine-washable, including anything with sequins.
Describe some of the pieces?
Libby: We have swimming and running tights; workout pants of all kinds, and shorts. Also, chlorine- and SPF-safe sports bras, T’s, jackets, tights, arm warmers, and more. Everything has an unexpected edge. Whether it’s an asymmetrical hemline, supersheer fabric, or cut-out detail, we want to show women it’s possible to be fashion-forward even when you hit the gym.
What’s with the name?
Libby: “Out” is our call to women to get more out of their wardrobe. By not limiting the use of our garments we encourage women to workout, stretch out, breathe out, and go out in style.
Why are more women wearing gym clothes as streetwear?
Leah: It’s more comfortable and more flattering than denim go-tos. We’ve talked about this—the truth is that the standard five-pocket jean tends to add a bit more weight around your belly; it’s a bulky pant. I think many women, when they put on a pair of leggings, whether they’re stylish in the way that we believe they should be, or just very sporty, they are smoother and you see the beautiful shape of their bodies.
Why the palette of black, gray, silver, gold, and white?
Libby: They’re the neutral colors that women wear. If you think about the way we’ve positioned ourselves, it’s along the lines of designers Rick Owens and Helmut Lang, who make clothes in those colors that women gravitate to because they’re wearable.
Who’s your customer?
Leah: We’re not trying to be a Lululemon or a Nike … that’s too broad. Our focus is those people who are working out and who love fashion, and that’s all we’re looking to service.