Beyond crafting activewear that mirrors the latest fashion trends, Black-owned and/or led fitness brands redefine the workout wardrobe by embodying diversity and identity. Where fashion is a powerful form of self-expression, these brands stand out for curating pieces that resonate with a broad spectrum of individuals.
From size inclusivity to designs inspired by cultural richness, each brand goes beyond aesthetics, fostering a sense of belonging for everyone. Each brand is a testament to the power of fashion as a means of self-expression.
The global gym apparel market is worth of $200 billion and is still expected to top $380 by the beginning of the next decade. The US share of the global market makes it a key driver of global dynamics and the future of innovation. This means that the strides currently being made by Black-owned fitness brands is important to an equitable future.
Step into the fitness journey with style and inclusivity to explore how these fitness brands seamlessly blend fashion and identity, proving that activewear is not just about performance but also about embracing and celebrating who you are.
Jayei Athletics LLC
Jayei Athletics is a Black woman-owned brand that pays homage to African heritage, honoring the strength in women and promoting conscience giving. Jayei Athletics aims to empower women through eco-friendly, slip-resistant vegan suede fitness mats inspired by African heritage. These mats feature Afrocentric designs influenced by the Malian mud cloth (Bògòlanfini) from West Africa. The motifs and colors used in the mats reflect the rich traditions of Mali and convey significant cultural events. While honoring the cultural significance of the cloth, Jayei Athletics adds a modern touch to its products. In addition to its focus on fitness, Jayei Athletics also addresses the lack of representation in the industry, creating a platform for diverse voices. The brand was founded during the coronavirus pandemic, combining Poe’s passion for fitness and cultural representation, inspired by her visit to Zimbabwe’s Masuwe Primary School.
Gymwrap, established by actress Nicole Ari Parker, an actress and fitness enthusiast, is a fitness sweatband that utilizes EvapoTECH, an innovative patented technique, to ensure optimal sweat absorption. This is made possible through a special combination of fabrics that enable heat to dissipate while allowing cool air to circulate. Understanding the importance of protecting hair during workouts, Parker has designed a collection of head wraps that are both fashionable and functional, ensuring they stay securely in place even during the most rigorous exercises. Gymwrap goes beyond just being a fashion statement; it offers a practical solution for individuals with different hair textures who wish to maintain their hairstyle while engaging in physical activities.
Glamourina is the leading athleisure hub catering to women of color, aiming to provide a secure and culturally significant environment for wellness. Established in 2015 by Nekol and Kia, two visionary individuals who are creative minds, mothers, and friends, Glamourina is a tribute to femininity, Black well-being, and fashion. With its thoughtfully selected body-contouring designs and inclusive range of sizes, Glamourina transcends beyond being a mere fashion trend and becomes a powerful movement.
RGN Sport, founded by Tiffany King, a former soccer player, was born out of her frustration with shorts that constantly rode up during her workouts. Determined to find a solution, she drew inspiration from her trip to South Africa and envisioned athletic wear that not only stayed in place but also incorporated African prints. Through years of dedication, RGN Sport has become a reality, offering a range of signature shorts, sports bras, and headbands. However, the brand’s commitment extends beyond solving apparel problems; it strives to create a seamless workout experience and empower women with confidence. RGN Sport also offers a swimwear line catering to women of all body sizes.
King explained the RGN Sport motivation and philosophy:
“As a black woman and former soccer player, thick thighs are all I know. I love working out, but I hated having to constantly pull down and unroll my shorts mid-workout. That’s what spurred the idea for a new type of short: one that was made to stay put and had pockets. After years of labor designing shorts and sports bras, trialing samples, and lots of love – RGN Sport is finally here. We are determined to solve apparel problems we’ve all faced.”
Impano Sports is a result of gratitude and a determination to make a difference in people’s lives through sports. Allen Simms, an American triple jumper, founded this brand with a specific focus on identifying and nurturing athletic talent in children, particularly in Africa. Driven by his love for Africa, Allen ventured to Rwanda, where he discovered the remarkable natural abilities of the children who engage in some local physical exercises. He firmly believed that with the right guidance, support, and resources, these children’s lives could be forever changed through sports. To achieve this goal, Impano Sports was created, producing top-notch sports apparel tailored specifically for athletes, runners, and the active lifestyle community. However, Impano Sports goes beyond just apparel; it also offers developmental programs to promote education, health, and fitness. The brand’s commitment to inclusivity and empowerment is evident in its dedication to making a positive impact through the transformative power of sports.
EleVen by Venus Williams is the brainchild of the former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, Venus Williams. This fashion-forward brand specializes in creating tennis and everyday apparel that caters to every aspect of life. Williams established EleVen to provide women with high-quality activewear that makes them feel great and enhances their performance. With its bold and confident designs, EleVen’s tennis collections empower women to excel both on and off the court.