Function, Fashion and Fun

I wrote in my last blog about how EVLV operates at the intersection of function and fashion. About how my design philosophy is rooted in the idea that you can work out in high performance athletic wear that can seamlessly double as your outfit for the office or a social gathering. I always prefered functionality over ‘fashion’, but as I matured as a designer, now on my fourth international collection, I came to the conclusion : why compromise?

I want to talk more about the design process. For me, designing clothes is rooted the fact that I think of myself as the chief consumer. I remember my mom telling us stories as kids about how she designed her own wedding dress. She showed me the sewing machine she used and talked about the different fabrics available. What a time, thinking back, to how intimate that process was. There was no mass production, but the stage was her own wedding. This was the design of a lifetime. Anyways, back to now.

I often collect customer feedback, input , insights and requirements at the beginning of my design journey. I’m not designing for me, I’m designing for our community. I love hearing what women, and recently men, are telling me in regards to their preferences, stylistic ideas, and areas of opportunity based on past collections. For example, our Storm Men’s long sleeve performance top that I released in February was an ode to the hundreds of DMs I got on BF / CM from women asking for gear their partners could rock while they workout together. This particular piece got me thinking: It’s pretty powerful to read messages from you about what you want to see. And these messages had me thinking about how powerful it is that people wanted to see their friends, partners and colleagues in similar gear when working out and living. This sounded like fun to me.

As a designer , I work hard and often alone. I have a manufacturing, procurement, operations and tech team that supports me, but the idea of each piece is often a function of my introspective and solo thought deep dives. As I begin my next design journey, I wanted to channel the theme of working with others that came from all of your DMs, and include more people in my ideation phase. Let me tell you , it’s been a blast.

Going from sketch pad, to fabric selection, to samples, I’ve included some of EVLV’s brightest talent in my testing phase. You’ll see me on stories hitting the gym with these people, running , skateboarding, lifting…and LAUGHING. There’s something about the injection of laughter into my design process that has changed it from being a ‘professional and creative’ exercise to almost a spiritual one. There’s something about having fun that added a whole new dimension to this process.

Coming back to EVLV. As a brand, as a lifestyle, as a symbol. I used to sing the words “at the intersection of fashion and functionality” when people asked me what this brand stands for. Today, i’m inclined to add the dimension of fun , front and centre. Whether it’s work, design, exercising, or day-to-day: living in an environment where I have fun makes being the CEO , Chief Designer and Leader of this global brand about more than just what I do. It’s become the mantra about how I am choosing to do it. And I think you’ll see this in the innovative, disruptive, and out of this world concepts we have in the pipeline.

Work Hard & Have Fun. That’s how we’re making history.

Heba Ali

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