The Y Chromosome: Yoga-Loving Guys Bend Over Backwards For Vuori
Posted On Dec 04, 2015
With Vuori, the search for well-fitting, high-performance men’s yoga and athletic gear is over. Whew.
The athletic apparel world has definitely come a long way, in terms of performance, style, and comfort — though women have been appealed to far more than men. Which is odd, considering that 21.5% of American men reportedly engage in daily exercise or athletics on a daily basis (versus 16.8% of women), according to a 2014 U.S. Census Bureau report. Are we really still clinging to the idea that guys don’t care how they look? Wrong, wrong, wrong. One company that’s got it way right is men’s yoga and athletic apparel brand Vuori (vuoriclothing.com).
The Encinitas, CA-based line of handsome, versatile gear is helmed by two buddies and lifelong athletes, Joe Kudla and pro skateboarder Chris Miller. These easy-on-the-eyes guys shared a love of yoga, yet weren’t too wild about yoga clothes for guys. Vuori changes all that… It presents a great selection of tops, shorts, and pants — for men and women — that fit really well and incorporate innovative fabrics to up the comfort, style, and sustainability factor.
Here, we chat with Kudla to learn the ins and outs of the line.
NEW YOU: Vuori is an amazing line, and feels very “needed.” What did you look for in the market that was perhaps missing, and Vuori is able to fill?
JOE KUDLA: My partner, Chris Miller, and I were living the typical southern California active lifestyle… surfing, going to yoga, running on the beach, and cruising around our hometown of Encinitas. We started discussing how there was just nothing for us to wear that technically performed well, but also had a style that we would actually want to wear. Every new active brand was focused on women’s, and we no longer related to the action sports brands that we grew up with. Essentially, we created Vuori for guys like us who wanted performance clothing and did not want to sacrifice style.
NY: Vuori has some really tried-and-true, yogi- and surfer-vetted garments. What are the hallmarks of this generation of yoga practitioners and surfers?
JK: We really felt that creating garments that actually looked fashionable was important. Our cuts are slightly tailored, giving them a more refined look. In addition to top-of-the-line fabrics and innovative construction, we felt sustainability was an important component for our customer. Many of our boardshorts are made with a recycled poly that utilizes recycled plastic bottles, our SeaCell collection utilizes sea algae providing a nutrient-based exchange with the skin, and next season we are excited to showcase a new line utilizing the naturally antimicrobial properties of coconut husks.
NY: So many guys are incorporating yoga into their fitness philosophies… What does guys’ yoga gear really call for?
JK: Products that you can move and flow in. Our best-selling short for yoga is the Kore Short. It has a built-in liner that gives you the perfect level of support without being overly compressive and helps keep the private areas private during class. It’s also moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and anti-odor, so you can do things in them after class. While we originally designed this short with a yoga practice in mind, it’s a great all-around athletic short. We made sure to keep the look and feel casual and not overly technical so it transitions great outside the studio.
NY: The sustainable collection is really nice, and feels intrinsically “California”… What’s your design process like?
JK: Thanks so much. We are really excited about these collections. It all starts with finding innovative fabrics like SeaCell, which is derived from sea algae and ecologically harvested wood pulp. This was something we had never seen before. With further research, we found out it has natural performance properties, not to mention it is the most comfortable fabric you will ever wear. Given we are surfers and our lives revolve in and around the sea, it felt like a great fit to incorporate into the line. These kinds of innovations really excite us about what is possible and inspire us to push the limits where performance and sustainability can co-exist.
NY: You put a big emphasis on sustainability… What does that actually mean to Vuori, and to you?
JK: We live in changing times and the environmental crisis is very real. I have spent time traveling to beautiful, remote areas that are taking the brunt of choices made by us here at home, and it really had an impact on me. As global citizens and outdoor enthusiasts, we try to make better decisions for the earth, our customers, and ourselves. We live in a beautiful coastal environment with the high Sierras only hours away. These natural playgrounds have given us so much and they are really the inspiration for what we do. So while we don’t claim to be perfect, we feel it’s critical to make smart choices when possible and we hope to do even more in the future.
NY: Really good sweatpants and compression gear have become huge musts in terms of fashion… How does Vuori put their own spin on these items?
JK: For us, it’s all about performance, comfort, and style. Sweatpants have come a long way since the 80’s when I wore them to middle school just about every day. We are loving the evolution. Instead of the baggy, billowing sweatpants of yesterday, we created the Balboas, with a more tailored, modern fit so they look amazing on. Staying true to our performance ethos, we developed an incredibly soft stretch tri-blend French terry that moves effortlessly with your body and utilizes a moisture-wicking, quick-drying nylon Supplex for the waistband — aimed to keep you cool and comfortable during a workout. I have been living in the Balboas this fall.
NY: You and Chris make a great team. How did your friendship yield this endeavor, and how do you guys “live” the Vuori lifestyle?
JK: Chris and I met about five years ago and developed an instant friendship. I grew up playing competitive team sports like lacrosse and football while Chris was competing at the highest level as a professional skater. Different upbringings, but we shared a lot of the same values and beat up our bodies the same. Yoga was really the first restorative thing that either of us did for our bodies, and as active guys that love to surf, run, climb mountains, etc., we both credit yoga for keeping us out there doing the things we love. And we are blessed to be surrounded by an incredible community of athletes, yogis, and artists who inspire us every day. The inspiration for Vuori was really born from the lifestyle here in Encinitas and our incredible community of friends.