Sometimes athleisure just isn’t enough. Athluxury is the next level up in high-end fitness gear and former gymnast Caroline White is determined to make a name for herself in the industry.
Growing up, White represented Australia on the national and international level as a rhythmic gymnast. She maintained a very active childhood, also trying her hand at ballet, swimming, diving and running, but decided to pursue an academic career when she went to college.
After graduating, she went to work at Lehman Brothers, but was laid off after 16 years. She used her spare time to take up hatha yoga and became a teacher. She had the poses down, but this lifetime fashion obsessive needed something much more chic to wear than a simple pair of black leggings.
“I could see that there were a lot of purely functional labels out there but nothing that I thought was stylish, interesting or sexy,” White says. “The fabrics were all the same, the prints generic and the styles not necessarily flattering, I knew I could do something different and more adventurous.”
Enter SukiShufu, the London based designer’s collection of fashion forward tees, leggings, sports bras and more for the woman wanting more from from her athleisure when it comes to both style and durability. White’s gymnastics background was able to inform her design decisions to make these pieces functional.
“I have worn these fabrics for years and I have been in leotards, leggings since I was 7 years old. I know what works down to the finest detail,” White said. “I think about what will be annoying, what will ride up or need pulling down, what will be too restrictive or expose too much.”
As for the stylish designs, White is inspired by her own backyard — London.
“There is a certain attitude in London, here you can truly be who you want to be and there is a huge amount of creativity that comes with that freedom,” she said.
The marriage of both style and durability created a line marked by metallics, animal print and sweat proof technical velvet and lace in bold colors. White takes these prints and textures beyond the gym and uses them for street wear and even a night out.
White’s dream eventually came true, but coming into the industry with no design experience or industry relationships was no easy feat. However, White says her business mind and determination is what made SukiShufu a success. The brand has received attention from industry tastemakers like Vogue UK.
While SukiShufu is still young, White already has plans to expand. Shoppers can expect men’s leggings by the end of the year.
In the meantime, shop some of White’s favorite SukiShufu pieces: