“Women wear yoga clothes all the time, even when not doing yoga, and we wanted to create clothes so guys also have that same option.” – Louis D’Origny, founder of OHMME.
Yoga has been around for thousand of years and that spiritual mantra om, has been circulating for just as long. Modern yoga made its way to the Western world in the late 1800s, but started to reach fever pitch in the ‘60s. Once American celebrities got their Warrior I poses on, it exploded even more and shows no signs of going into an eternal Savasana.
If you’ve gone to a yoga class, you may have noticed that the majority of attendees tend to be female, but that change has already been set into motion by OHMME – a men’s yoga clothing company that plays on the French word for man: homme and the aforementioned primordial sound that has its origins in Sanskrit.
We caught up with OHMME founder, Louis D'Origny to talk throwing shapes and fluid style.
Why has it taken so long for men’s yoga brand to come to market?
In my experiences of going to yoga classes there’s always been more women than men, but we would like to change that so that everybody enjoys yoga. We, at OHMME, came in with a passion for yoga and we wanted to share that with other guys! We also knew, as consumers, that it was almost impossible for guys to get stylish clothes that allowed total freedom of movement.
How did OHMME come about and how long did it take to develop?
OHMME came from the idea that men can feel free to challenge the status quo and follow their passion. Developing the idea to create clothes that were comfortable to wear and allowed natural movement came in a very natural and fluid way. From design to market our first pair of OHMME shorts took six months.
What makes OHMME the go-to?
Because our vision is inclusive and we actively encourage men to also take part in their own well-being by doing yoga. And our clothes are great! They are comfortable; made from hi-tech, sweat-wicking materials, which are also environmentally friendly. And we take the view that competition in sports is not about crushing your opponents, but about being your best you.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
I have been making yoga shapes for six years, but the ‘in-the-zone’ mind-set instilled by yoga has been practiced all my life, through mountain climbing, I just didn’t realise it was a yogi mind-set, until I started attending yoga classes.
Can OHMME be worn outside of the studio?
Absolutely. We make clothes that are designed to move in, so they can be worn for running, weightlifting or any kind of training, or anytime you want to be comfortable and not worry about your clothes restricting you. We made the OHMME clothes stylish enough to wear day to day and [they] are great for wearing on long haul flights. And just like yoga practice doesn't end when you leave the yoga studio, it goes with you and continues to improve your daily life. OHMME can go with you anywhere.
Talk us through the fabrics…
Our fabrics are made with your body, and the planet, in mind. I took a lot of time researching the most sustainable ways of producing garments, going back to the drawing board, time and time again, and really investigating sustainable fabrics. I came to the conclusion that cotton is one of the most detrimental fabrics for the environment, even though it is natural. Our fabrics are made from recycled polyester, which is much better for the environment, in terms of the reduced use of water and energy in the production process. Our fabrics feel cool, are sweat wicking and breathable, so they have all the benefits of cotton, with the bonuses of them being recycled and having a reduced environmental impact.
Where are OHMME pieces made?
When I started creating OHMME, I visited over fifty factories in many different countries, and none were as technologically or environmentally advanced as our Chinese partners, so we selected to produce the clothes in a high-tech factory in China. The country has the highest green-tech budget in the world, and the best and cleanest production facilities. To get to our factory from Shanghai City Centre, you have to take a solar-powered bullet train that uses magnets to levitate over the tracks, which is really cool and so much better for the environment!
Can you introduce us to your team?
Here in London, my right hand man is Jonty who is in charge of all business operations and he leads the management team of Gabriel, the head of marketing; Philip, the head of customer services and Shelby, the head of relations for the United States. And we couldn’t do it without the support of our London freelance creatives: Ben, Izzy, Kate and Josh.
What are some of your favourite pieces?
The Dharma pants are my go-to item; they are adaptable to any type of movement, with a flexible fit and relaxed style and I love wearing them when I’m flying. They are so comfortable and thanks to their high elastane content they don’t lose their shape, no matter how many times they’re washed. And most importantly, because of the fabric’s low level of absorption, sweat just evaporates away. I also love the Warrior II shorts, which have a double layer for complete freedom of movement when doing my yoga classes, and on holiday on my motorcycle. The Zhu boxers are one of the understated champion products and the Cobra T-shirt has just won the best ‘non-riding up’ T-shirt in a very non-scientific mountain climbing test!
You have amazing images of serious yogis wearing OHMME; do you have to practice yoga to enjoy the brand?
Not at all! Our images are just a reflection of what has inspired us at OHMME. They are a reflection of the idea that physical exercise can be a vessel to instil mind over matter and demonstrate the amazing things that the human body can be capable of! Women wear yoga clothes all the time, even when not doing yoga, and we wanted to create clothes so guys also have that same option.
What’s next for the brand?
We are going to be doing pop-up yoga classes at Wilderness Festival, 4 – 6 August 2017. We are in talks with affiliating with CALM charity and we are hoping to do monthly men’s well-being workshops, which will include yoga, mindfulness and meditation. We are soon to be launching a full Green-Defence range, where the fabrics are infused with natural extracts of almond and cinnamon to keep them smelling fresh, normally this technology uses silver, which has to be mined, so is destructive to the environment. We will also be launching a streetwear collection that embodies the ideals of the brand: accepting yourself, non-aggression, respecting yourself, others and the planet.