There was a time, not so very long ago, when everybody looked like shit when they went to the gym. Let’s call this time “PA” or “pre athleisure”. In this seemingly prehistoric era, so removed from our current reality, most workout gear consisted of oversized tees that once belonged to someone else, or tank tops with baggy necks that had been yanked out of daily rotation because of their general disreputable vibe. And forget high-performance, sweat-wicking leggings, you paired these with shorts or fairly shitty trackie bottoms.
In the year 2004 PA (I’m not sure if I’m doing this year zero thing correctly but bear with me) I remember wearing a pair of shorts that also sometimes doubled as the shorts I wore to bed paired with my sister’s old Lacoste tee to my sporadic visits to Reebok gym across the road (I’d won a free six-month membership in a Cosmo quiz, seriously). And you know, I might’ve been the best dressed person in there that day.
In the years intervening everything has changed. For a start we are now post athleisure, or even at peak athleisure (all of which acronymise to PA so I clearly didn’t think this through), and most gym wear also doubles up as off-duty uniforms. Thousands of fitness brands have launched in the last five years, primarily in the United States, but at a hell of a pace globally as well, and this increased demand for activewear is driven as much by the boutique fitness studio movement as it is now by general style trends.
Locally things have been slower to gather pace. Pickings have been slim, and from the familiar Nike-Reebok-Adidas pool which has meant that kitting yourself out in activewear has also been a really expensive proposition. I will admit that Nike’s leggings are pure gold, but they are priced to match. There are a few brands catering more specifically to yoga that I’ve clocked eyes on (Satva, Stretchery, Eska), but not very much for hold-your-boobs-in, stay-up-through-fifty-jumpsquats training.
Enter Kica, a designed-for-women line of activewear in colour-blocked, sport-friendly fabrics that is also incredibly compellingly priced. Stretchy, sweat wicking and light, Kica’s range includes sports bras, tops, leggings, and shorts, all made in bright and high-quality fabrics that, despite their trendy detailing, appear to be able to withstand the sweatiest activity you can throw at it. Their fabrics are light, and while not as sweat-wicking and streamlining as, for instance, Nike’s, they are priced between Rs 1,300-Rs 1,500 a pop to Nike’s, er, 6K, so I’m happy to occasionally grab a handtowel for some DIY sweat-wicking. Their solid black leggings and the two-colour ‘Sweep’ and ‘Fire’ tanks are favourites, but there is something for most bodies. Don’t like leggings? Try their tracks. Don’t like tracks? Their shorts, with classic seventies styling, might be more your speed.
Their tagline is ‘from studio to street’, which begs the question: would it segue easily from barre to a bar? I don’t think so. It’s not really a crossover brand to my mind, because you’d definitely still feel like you’re wearing your workout clothes. But to be honest, the idea of going straight from the gym to drinks is nuts to me. If you’d gone to a low-sweat pilates class perhaps you could swap your top out for a regular tank and make it work, but otherwise I like to stick a shower in between those two activities.
In Citywalk it has replaced the small ground floor concession which was once occupied by Passion Cheese which frankly, just feels like another neon sign from the universe that it’s time for me to give up dairy. If you’re not in Delhi though, find them online and they deliver nationwide.
Their website here.