Being the Best

5 minutes with NO KA’OI

Launched out of a combined love of beauty, fashion and wellness, NO KA’OI is a design system boasting the tagline Style, Energy & Power. The story goes that the line came about because the dynamic personalities behind the label wanted to make it known that they refuse to let a need to go home and change clothes get in the way of a life opportunity.

Theirs is a passionate belief that our apparel should move seamlessly, confidently and comfortably between any given situation; that it should allow us to live the life we want to lead; that the NO KA’OI woman enjoys curating her style to meet the demands of her day. To that end, the brand designs for every body type, working with silhouettes and materials that are comfortable as well as flattering. Indeed, its Huli performance leggings are loved by fashercise fans the world over. Maybe it’s the premium Italian microfiber; maybe it’s that fab colorblocking that both slims and elongates the legs; maybe the clue is in the name: NO KA’OI means “the best” in Hawaiian. As one of the brands working with Swarovski on its #athleisurebeats campaign for the Swarovski Athleisure Collection SS18, we grabbed our opportunity (no popping home to change first!) to find out more:

Is athleisure having a moment, or is it a cultural shift that’s here to stay?
We believe it is the forerunner of a massive shift towards cool, elevated and relaxed sport with high style. Over the years to come, it will gain relevance as generations continue to “do it all” and barriers continue to be torn down. It will be the embodiment of people enjoying less restriction in their lives.

Is this look targeted purely at the youth market?
The athleisure movement will cross gender and age organically, because it’s a solution that is not limited to a certain time of life. We see these styles resonating and being worn by everyone from young teenagers to busy moms and high-profile professional singles.

Outside the creative industries, have employers begun to accept it as office wear yet? Is it possible to combine athleisure with tailoring for a business look?
Office wear has become more relaxed in general. For more formal settings, a pair of dress pants, jogger pants or RTW-inspired leggings can easily be teamed with a blazer and heels to have a fashion-forward yet relevant take on a classic look.

What role do you see crystals playing in athleisure?
They help elevate how athleisure is viewed, easing the translation into cocktail and eveningwear. NO KA’OI’s core technique and inspiration comes from its history in embroidery. We’ve designed this way for many seasons—it really lifts our high-fashion pieces. For the Swarovski #athleisurebeats project, we loved applying the ribbons of crystals to our staple silhouettes in subtle ways. It offers a soft-elegant touch, rather than a very loud combination, and lets the garment speak for itself.

For a while now, the press have been saying that sustainability is the future of fashion. Can athleisure help make sustainability cool?
NO KA’OI has been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury for our focus on social sustainability. We firmly believe that sustainability is the way of the future, and taking care of our planet will become cool. As athleisure and streetwear grows, this message will continue to spread and customers will become more aware of why this is so important.