Enter WERKSHOP, a brand out of Los Angeles by former Mid Westerner Chriztina Marie, who states on Kickstarter that “[a]s a fashion designer and fitness enthusiast, I always felt that my workout clothing lacked personality … So I decided to change that and take the concept of high-fashion leggings and combine it with high-performance sports.” High fashion, indeed. The last couple of days I’ve been swooning over the rich, deep colors of her leggings like the brilliant gold and royal blue of the Egyptian Sarcophagus tights, the rainbow spectrum in her two sets of seemingly PacNW-inspired pine and sunset tights, or the galaxy tights, pictured above.
Put simply, there’s nothing else like it on the fitness market. Sure, you can buy a pair of $10, one-size-fits-all space tights from a kiosk at the Lloyd Center Mall, but unless you’re teeny tiny, the poorly-screened image on those tights stretches out and ends up with a heathered (i.e., faded) effect– and god only knows how they would fair on a run. Would they stretch well? Would they chafe at the waistband, seams, or both? Would they stay on your body, or would they require a jiggle and a waist-band hop every three blocks on your run?
Based on the marketing video on the Kickstarter website and the designer’s statement that she “used running as [her] target sport for [designing and testing the leggings, because] […] if you can run in leggings, you can do anything in them,” it sounds like the sidewalk jiggle dance might be avoided with these tights.
Quite honestly, I can’t tell you from personal experience how Werkshop fairs on standard satisfaction tests; that said, the specs on their website are comprehensive and promising, and the fabric swatch they sent me backed up their marketing jibe. The fabric has a great, tight, four-way stretch to it, and the colors– “custom-printed through the highest quality digital sublimation process available” in the U.S.– do not fade or heather when stretched or worn.
As a person who sweats profusely, the quality of these tights that I was most concerned about after the thickness of the fabric and any potential compression factor (they claim compression, I say nay- anything less than medical-grade compression is not real compression, it just happens to be skin-tight) was the wicking ability of the fabric and its ability to rapidly dry. To that end, I submitted the swatch and three pairs of my running shorts to an extremely non-scientific dunk test.
I took the swatch and the legs of three pairs of shorts, and saturated each under room-temperature water. I immediately laid each piece on the same tile kitchen counter to control for ambient temperature, air flow, and to prevent different levels of moisture absorption from the surface itself. Based on the weights of the fabrics and previous experience, I guessed that my favorite compression shorts– the thin but strong CW-X Stabilyx–would dry first, followed by the incredibly light-weight WERKSHOP swatch, then my Moving Comfort Women’s 7.5″ Compression Short, and finally my Womens R-Gear High-Speed short.
I checked the fabrics every ten minutes for an hour and a half, and found that the fabrics dried in the following order: Moving Comfort, WERKSHOP, CW-X, and finally R-Gear. Translation: sweat away, fashionista fitness enthusiasts. Here’s the skinny on the rest of the product line’s cool features:
- Printed, inner waistband in lieu of any scratchy, chafing tags
- Small key pocket in the waistband
- A diamond gusset, a.k.a. “anti-camel toe technology”
- Flatlock seams sewn in the United States
- 50 UPF Sun Protection
- Xtra Life Lyrca, which is naturally quick-dry & pill- and chlorine-resistant (you can swim in them!)
- Women’s US Sizes from 0-12 (XS-L)
Why Pledge: Ok, so WERKSHOP has already reached their first funding goal. Why give them any more money? First of all, the $88 pledge gets you first in the line for a new pair of leggings come February or March. Other denominations get you various combinations of fine art prints and multiple pairs of leggings, and if you’re feeling real generous, a $1,000 (!!!) pledge gets you a private yoga class at Tara Napoli’s Power Yoga in Pasadena, CA, with five friends, vegan cupcakes, six pairs of WERKSHOP leggings, and an 8×10″ fine art print for each guest.
While WERKSHOP’s initial funding goal has been met– i.e., they’ll get their funding and go into production– their three “stretch” goals after this initial amount include starting a men’s line, introducing broader sizes in the women’s line, doing shorts as well as leggings, and ultimately expanding to a full lifestyle line. Sounds good to me– can’t wait to get my hands on a pair and go for a test run when they debut Spring 2014.