What if sweat style made you feel good? And not just because of all those post-workout endorphins! Meet today’s brand in the spotlight, ENA Apparel – started by Nicole Rairigh and designed by Amber Stefaniak – who want to make sweat style sweatshop free. With pieces that mix together UV resistant fabrics and flattering cuts, the Chicago based brand designs and manufacturers their own looks to take you from the yoga studio-to-the-street and all that’s in between. Hear how the manufacturer moved into the brand business and how their athleisure style translated.

How and why did you start designing?  

At the Apparel Agency, we have been designing, consulting, and managing production for other people a long time as a manufacturer.  We decided to make ourselves one of our own clients. Creating our own brand has been a very organic process.

What is your fashion philosophy?  

Don’t waste.  A good designer should be able to make something out of nothing. We mix and match scrap cuts of different fabrics as part of the design elements.

How has your design changed over time?  

People are very busy and always on the go while trying to improve physical and mentally. We wanted to create fashion for that persona. Something for everyday wear instead of just special occasion pieces.

What inspired your latest collection?  

For the Mixed Media collection, we were inspired by

 the the beautiful fabrics we had been testing with because we do not like waste. We wanted to come up with creative ways to make something beautiful using the different fabrics, textures, and colors together. Each piece in this Mixed Media collection has its own story, accents, and character.

What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?  

Exposure and visibility.

What do you think about fashion today?  

We are excited to be part of the movement of Nineteenth Amendment

designers bringing back production to the USA.  A lot of designers are thinking about their global footprint, fair wages, and ethical practices. This is very exciting and inspiring.

Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?  

We go walking. We just walk, look, and take in the surroundings while staying aware of all things.

Any tips and tricks of the trade?  

Don’t give up. Work hard. Don’t waste.

What is your brand aesthetic and what makes your brand unique?  

ENA is fashion for the active lifestyle for a fashionably conscious woman. Our commitment to a low waste domestic production model makes us unique. We believe in fair wages and keeping a portion of production in the USA. Sweatstyle can be sweatshop free.

Who is the ENA woman?  

The ENA woman is always on-the-go and she has a passion for fitness and fashion. She likes to mix her activewear/athleisure with her ready-to-wear and essential pieces to create her own personal style. She likes to make a statement anywhere she goes.

Shop ENA Apparel’s first drop, “Mixed Media:”