Why One NYFW Runway Ditched Fashion Models for Athletes
Meet Haute Athletics, the activewear e-tailer that dares to stand out.
"You can always see a revolution in clothes," says Margarita Ventura, founder of Haute Athletics. She was referring to the recent boom in the wellness industry being reflected in the ubiquitous popularity of activewear. Haute Athletics is an online boutique offering trendy, premium performance apparel (think: cutouts, graphic patterns, sheer panels). If it were personified, it'd be some iteration of Beyoncé: alpha female, fierce, ever multitasking.
That "alpha female" description comes straight from Ventura, who as the face of Haute Athletics is every one of those things. Before launching the e-tailer, she worked in advertising on big-time campaigns for Jason Wu, Victoria's Secret and Nike. She has also been a professional dancer at Alvin Ailey, a competitive athlete, a fitness model, a spin instructor and a Parsons School of Design grad. With that experience under her belt, it's safe to say Ventura has a knack for knowing what type of clothing works on a body in motion.
New York Fashion Week was an exciting opportunity to show off that prowess. On Sunday, Haute Athletics was featured in the "Ones To Watch" runway show part of Nolcha Fashion Week, a platform for independent designers. The runway showcased not only 12 styles, but also fresh faces. Instead of fashion models, the ones walking down the runway were athletes such as two-time Olympic Team USA hockey goalie Brianne McLaughlin; competitive fencer Faina Vitebsky; Luna Brown, a soccer player, gymnast and black belt-certified in two styles of martial arts; as well as trainers and other influencers in the fitness industry.
"This is active apparel so I wanted to show people who really embody that lifestyle and speak to different shapes and sizes," says Ventura. "I wanted to showcase empowered women with presence."
She emphasizes that while the brands curated on the site are indeed stylish—"some of these outfits can be dressed up with heels!" she insists—they all have the technical foundation to function as training gear. "They have to be able to endure high performance, otherwise it's a cute outfit that's going to fall apart," she explains.
Some pieces we love include Zara Terez printed leggings ($75), Pilot Athletic mesh sports bra ($70), L'Urv's sheer-panel criss-cross tank ($69) and Alii Sport's neon pink long-sleeve top ($75).
Shop the rest of Haute Athletics here.