As a model, designer, advocate and more, Adrianne Ho is one of the founding voices of athleisure. Starting with the launch of her site Sweat the Style in 2013, the Canadian-born Ho bridged the worlds of fashion and athleticism with ease, utilising her know-how and experience in both areas to create a one-stop portal for those with interests as varied as her own.
In just seven years, the impact of her efforts can be felt across the industry; athleisure is now a runway staple, and Ho herself became a global brand ambassador for Adidas before being featured in Sports Illustrated and numerous ad campaigns around the world. Schön! caught up with Ho to see how the athleisure world has changed — and where it’s going next.
Going way back, what first motivated you to launch Sweat the Style?
I launched my site Sweat The Style along with a merch program in 2013 because I wanted to create a platform that combined fitness, wellness, and fashion. At the time none of these things existed together in the same space. This was even before the term ‘Athleisure’ was coined. Since then fashionable fitness and wellness has become embraced in mainstream culture, which makes me very happy!
Besides fashionable fitness’ entry into the mainstream, how has online discourse around athletics and exercise changed since you first started posting?
I think people have become much more aware and educated. This is great because being informed is such a powerful position to be in; it allows you to take responsibility and control over the quality of your health and your life. There are also so many amazing options in the food and fashion industry that reflect those changes.
Moving to you personally, how did your youth in Toronto influence your current life?
Growing up in a diverse city like Toronto has contributed to me having an open mind and accepting attitude. I also grew up loving food (I’m half French and Chinese)… Being exposed to different types of food growing up allowed me to develop my palate. Now I’m thankful to live a life where I’m able to travel the world and gain new experiences. I’m also thankful that I’m from a city that cultivated that love from a young age.
With all the travel you do, what is the first thing you do in a new place?
I think there’s so much you can learn about a culture from their food. So the first thing I do in a new place is make arrangements to try whatever the local cuisine is!
How do you keep balanced living a global life?
Fitness has always kept me grounded. Making sure that I make time for myself to break a sweat keeps me feeling balanced mentally and physically, especially during times of intense travel, jet lag and stress.
If you could, walk us through your morning routine.
That’s always slightly different depending on where I am. At home in LA my mornings are more relaxed. Lately I wake up around 7:30, feed my cat Sade, make some tea, and go for a workout. Then I have breakfast and begin work.
From the business side, when a brand approaches you about an endorsement deal, what are your considerations before accepting or rejecting?
It’s important to me that the brands I work with align with my personal brand. I keep everything as authentic as possible, even if that means rejecting deals that don’t feel right. I need to be able to stand behind the work that I do.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from working in the fashion industry?
You need to be true to yourself, regardless of what other people tell you or advise you to do. The industry is fickle, so at the end of the day you need to be able to look back and be proud of the choices you made.
Has the fashion industry been getting more or less accepting of eastern influence?
I think its slowly opening up but I would like to see more. There’s so much going on in Asia that the Western world can learn from.
So how do you think the industry can improve in this regard?
It’s about education and having an open mind. The last few years I’ve been able to create a bridge between the East and West from both a brand and audience perspective. I feel like the world is ready for that. The rest of the industry just needs to catch up.
What are you looking forward to right now?
Right now I’m working on a few projects that are completely outside the box. I’m really excited to use my experience and knowledge in a new capacity!
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