Meet Running Bare’s passionate & inspiring Design Director

Yolanda Powell talks all things active wear, and working for one Australia’s most renowned brands: Running Bare.

Running Bare

After 30 years of success as a one of Australia’s leading activewear brands, Running Bare shows no signs of slowing down. They continue to prove that when it comes to athletic gear, fashion need not be downplayed for the sake of performance or quality. And the current collection does not disappoint – think fun, vibrant prints and innovative cuts.

So we were delighted to share our passion for prints and have a chat with Running Bare’s passionate and inspiring Design Director, Yolanda Powell, about all things active wear, and working for one Australia’s most renowned brands.

Meet Yolanda Powell

What can we expect from Running Bare’s latest collection?Running Bare

With Running Bare (RB) we always pride ourselves on the fact that you can always expect the unexpected. This season we pay homage to the mexi-cali trend and embrace the Day of the Dead; there are a number of incredibly beautiful feminine florals and never to be forgotten our Sasha Fierce animal print. I am very proud of the fact that RB never looks like anyone else and that we have our own signature handwriting that is distinctly RB. Our collection is sexy but functional and always fiercely feminine with a dash of cheeky. I like to work on the belief that if it’s a little bit crazy and ALOT fabulous, then we know we have a winner.

What sort of woman do you design Running Bare for? Do you have a particular muse in mind when designing?

We design our collection with the fitness-focused, fashion conscious female in mind. The woman that wears RB ENJOYS fashion. For her fashion is fun and is not just limited to the outfit she is going to wear on a Saturday night, but rather our RB woman wants her active wear to be an extension of who she is and what she stands for. Ultimately what’s important for us is that we design for ALL women not a type of woman, so whoever you are, whatever size you are we make sure you are fashionable, feminine and above all, functional. And for us that works.

What is your favourite piece from the latest range and why?

We developed an incredibly luxurious fabric with one of our fabric mills out of Italy. It is a Perforated Bonded Mesh that my girls have coined “Perf Mesh” as its also just “PERF”. It encompasses the athleisure look beautifully so as a result this is one of my new favourite fabrics to work with. I designed our “Set The Standard” tight using this fabric and no matter who wears it, I just looks chic and fabulous on everyone. So that’s made me pretty happy. And then if you happen to be sporting some amazing abs then the “One Night Stand” crop top is crazy hot.

Running BareWhat are the key materials/design elements Running Bare have used for performance enhancement?

Our RB fabrics always focus on the performance element while still ensuring they feel luxurious. Because of this necessity we often develop our own exclusive fabrications at RB. We utilise finishes that have an anti microbial treatment; to fabrics that are highly breathable, quick drying, that have optimum fabric memory for stretch and recovery; incredible colour hold; and high elastane content for muscle compression. I think a lot of people don’t realise what a time consuming and long process developing performance fabrics takes. You have to source; develop; sample; test; test and re-test to ensure that its up to our RB standard for performance fabrics. Once we have the fabric right, then we make sure we pair the correct fabrications with the best-suited silhouettes to ensure the most flattering fit on the body.

How important for you is it to have Australian-made and owned products?

Extremely important – for us quality is key. The integrity of our product is what has provided our brand with its 33 years of success. We design for the Australian marketplace, with the Australian women in mind. Our loyal RB females expect nothing but superior performance, quality and design from us, so above all else, this is what we strive to provide.

What does an average workday look like for you?

No such thing in my world. I never have a day that is the same – I guess that’s part of being the boss. For some reason this freaks a lot of people out but for me its how I roll. Though I do have a few constants in my day: I wake up early, long before my husband and two daughters. This is MY quiet time. I make a cappuccino, as there is no functioning without that first thing in the morning and I make the girls their lunch for school. Then . . . the madness begins…until I walk back in the door at night. At this point I turn on Spotify and pour myself a vodka tonic.

As a businesswoman, what are your top three tips for someone starting out?

  1. Don’t go broke trying to look rich. My father taught me that from a very young age and that is why, 33 years on we are still going strong.
  2. Understand there is no OFF button. You are on ALL the time. It will consume you so be sure you are willing to live that sort of life.
  3. Surround yourself with good people, you can’t do this alone. It really does take a village.

What would you say is the best part of your job and the worst?

Best part – being the boss

Worst part – being the boss

What is your own food and fitness philosophy?

My trainer comes Monday and Friday so at least I book end the week properly, and then if I can, I TRY and fit in a run during the week and on the week-end. Given the way my life goes this also doesn’t necessarily ALWAYS happen! But hey, you have to have a goal. You have to remember to enjoy the little things – Life is short. Buy the shoes. Drink the wine. Order the dessert.

What’s next for Running Bare?

We always have a thousand balls in the air. We opened our 11th store in Miranda just before Christmas and I am due to open the 12th in May-June. The 13th and 14th should be complete by the end of the year. My gorgeous sales team just came back from showcasing at ACTIVE COLLECTIVE in LA and we are launching with the high end athleisure site Carbon38 next month, so that’s exciting! We just released Summer 2016 and I am working on Winter 2017 and heading to the US this week. You stop. You die. Plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.

Quick Questions:

First thing I do when I wake up: coffee

Last thing I do at night: read Biker Erotica novels, they make 50 Shades look like child’s play.

Most people probably don’t know this about me, but: I think I just told you in question 2.

If sugar were a superfood, my diet would consist of: Cosmopolitans

My favourite holiday destination is: Il Pellicano Hotel, Porto Ercole, Italy

My favourite emoji is: Kissing face – I get away with a lot of things if I end a conversation with this. Mind you the new Kim Kardashian KIMOJIs are pretty hilarious. I may have to start using them.

The one place I’d never wear yoga pants: I don’t understand the question? Are you sure you have the right person?

My current mantra: sometimes you just have to throw on a crown and remind them who they’re dealing with.

My pet peeve is: laziness