Author: Sebastien Lagree
During life in lockdown, it’s easy to let our fashion choices fall by the wayside. But the truth of the matter is what we wear represents how we express ourselves, and the versions of ourselves we want to show the world.
The outside reflects the inside when it comes to style - especially activewear. Choosing the right attire for your workout can increase motivation, drive better results, and inspire you to succeed, because after all, you did dress to impress!
Although there are many activewear lines in the global market, Humble Hustler stands out amongst the crowd. Humble Hustler was designed to reflect the rhythms, moods, and tones of the 21st century revolution.
It’s more than just a brand - it’s a lifestyle and a movement. The modern day hustler has authenticity, passion, and drive, and when choosing your workout gear, these are traits you want to emulate.
Plus, 15% of the proceeds support the Your Guardian Angel Foundation, so by hitting the gym in Humble Hustler, you’re doing your part to help heal the world in such a critical time..
The brand’s co-founder and designer, Paola Estefania Linares, spoke exclusively to GLAMOUR South Africa about the importance of working out in pieces that put you in the right mindset, using the best material to ensure successful workouts with high quality activewear, overcoming challenges as a minority designer, and why she always strives to keep fitness and health at the forefront of her everyday life.
GLAMOUR: How did Humble Hustler start?
Paola Estefania Linares (PEL): Humble Hustler was founded 4 years ago. I moved from the east coast to Los Angeles, California to pursue my career in fashion and design.
After continuing my education in Fine Arts and Interior Design, I partnered with the founder of Humble Hustler, Parminder Gyani, and took over the brand to see all operations.
GLAMOUR: What have been some of the greatest achievements, and some of the challenges you've faced along the way?
PEL: I can proudly say that some of our greatest achievements have been our collaborations with numerous artists and professional athletics such as Coi Larey, Lexy Panterra, Quincy Brown, Leah Van Dale to name a few.
Being able to bring brand awareness through our charitable work is also something we are extremely proud of. We recently collaborated with Coi Larey for her new single release "Do Better."
We cooked and prepared meals for 106 homeless in various locations in Downtown LA. Coi's song is all about self-improvement, giving back to your community and teamwork.
These are the core values that our brand represents. We donate 15% of our proceeds to Your guardian Angel Foundation, a non-profit organization that sends basic necessities such as over the counter medicine, baby formula, and food to the needing citizens of Venezuela.
I can say our biggest challenge has been the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just like most businesses in the U.S.A and around the world, we had to cease manufacturing operations due to the inaccessibility and closing of most of our suppliers.
Product sourcing has become a challenge, since a lot of our fabrics and custom materials are imported. We hope to overcome these unexpected circumstances as soon as the world is safe and we can resume operations.
GLAMOUR: What inspires you when designing the different collections?
PEL: I love to set new trends and styles for both my men and women with collections that are form-fitting and comfortable to wear. My biggest inspiration is the change in seasons, I'm very inspired by nature. I also enjoy learning new techniques to add texture, colour, and richness to my garments.
GLAMOUR: Let's talk about activewear. With so many other competitors out there, what makes Humble Hustler unique?
PEL: One of the characteristics that makes us so unique is our versatility; our combination of fashion styles. I love paring and styling some of our ready to wear pieces with our active wear collections.
We want our customers to be motivated while working out by feeling stylish, and while making their own fashion statement. Our women sportswear has so many unique pieces that can be worn both at the gym and while going out.
Our high waisted women track pants with snap buttons on the sides for example, can be worn with sneakers or paired with high heels, we truly have something for everyone!
GLAMOUR: What materials do you use to create the pieces? Are they all hand-made?
PEL: We manufacture everything in the U.S.A and most of our fabrics are imported. I love using different materials and techniques such as 3D embroidery, as well as heavyweight custom ribbing and custom elastic bands for our garments. One of my favorite materials I used in some of our pieces are iridescent reflective fabrics.
GLAMOUR: Do you think working out in a stylish ensemble changes your mindset? Does it motivate you more and make you feel more confident?
PEL: Yes, Absolutely! Advocating for yourself starts with your own attitude and behaviour, and fashion truly empowers us all. While developing my first activewear collection, I wanted to create trendy, of the moment pieces that were perfect for any occasion.
Most importantly, I want to empower our consumers by making them feel amazing while wearing our garments.
GLAMOUR: How do you strive to champion sustainability in the fashion fitness industry? Do you think that more exciting and meaningful changes are coming?
PEL: Most definitely. I’m extremely excited to start working with sustainable fibers, and recycle fabrics. It is extremely important for me to be conscious, and to implement better ways to develop our apparel with the lowest carbon footprint economically possible.
Our entire brand is dedicated to evoking change and action. Furthermore, we want to cater to the needs of newer generations by setting new trends, and doing good at the same time.
GLAMOUR: What obstacles have you faced in your journey as a minority designer?
PEL: During the beginning of my career as a fashion designer, I dealt with a lot of backlash and criticism. Mostly from people who doubt my talent and know nothing about this industry. I heard the phrase, “You will never be successful” so many times, that at first, I struggled to find inspiration.
I’ve been in the garment industry for 4 years now, and fortunately, I have worked with the top cut and sewers in the industry. I became pregnant two years ago while developing my active wear collection, this made work extremely challenging. I had to build a brand-new website, and all of its content.
I worked overtime to perfect every single detail in my designs, I had to travel long distances to find the right materials for my garments. I also had to create all of my catalogues and social media content. My pregnancy wasn’t easy, but it was without a doubt the motivation and inspiration I needed to continue my work and prove everyone who ever doubted me wrong.
GLAMOUR: As a business owner, mom on the go, and a philanthropist, you balance a lot. How do you make time for workouts?
PEL: I wake up very early, I try my best to be consistent and work out in the morning to get my day started. I try my best to always have at least 1 hour in the day for my workouts. I have always been an active person, one of the main reasons why I love designing active wear so much.
GLAMOUR: What is your current fitness routine?
PEL: Currently I work out at home. After the lockdown, I built a small home gym in my living room to be able to work out while spending time with my daughter. I also love hiking, I go at least twice a week!
GLAMOUR: What do you do to practice self-care?
PEL: I have really healthy eating habits, skin care routines, and stay hydrated as much as possible. I don’t drink or smoke, I try my best to be very healthy. I am very cautious about the quality of the food my family and I eat. The most important thing for me is good nutrition. After all, with everything going on with this pandemic, it is important to have good immunity.
GLAMOUR: What are your future plans for Humble Hustler? Brand collaborations, kids line, stores, etc?
PEL: I am very excited for the future of our brand. We will be collaborating with numerous artists to create custom Humble Hustler pieces for special performances. We will be featuring limited edition drops in our upcoming collections while bringing awareness and doing more charitable work.