YOGASMOGA, a designer, manufacturer and retailer of yoga-inspired “athleisure” wear and accessories, has set up shop in a two-level townhouse on Greenwich Avenue.
The company was started by two siblings, Rishi and Tapasya Bali, who grew up in the Himalayan region of India, which is known by many as the birthplace of yoga. Building on their understanding of the practice and its culture, the Balis—both former Wall Streeters— traded in their business suits for yoga pants and committed themselves to creating an A-list lifestyle brand that’s not just about yoga apparel, but “gym to life” wear. “We think of ourselves as a yoga and wellness company that makes apparel and other products, and while we work with the most technically advanced fabric and manufacturing technologies, we also pursue a relentless focus on the traditions of yoga,” explains co-founder and COO Tapasya Bali. The siblings ideally want their brand to not only capture the essence of yoga, but also some of its core principles including purity, honesty, and compassion. “We intend to bring a new level of authenticity and deeper emotional connections with the YOGASMOGA lifestyle brand,” adds Bali.
The name YOGASMOGA sticks with you, but it’s not just a fun moniker. In Indian culture, it’s customary to rhyme chains of words together. So it goes, yoga is the focus of the brand, and smoga encapsulates all things related to yoga. Although the company has been selling online for awhile, the first retail store recently opened in Greenwich as a way to connect with customers, and given the typical Greenwich consumer has a very active lifestyle that must marry quality, function and fashion, the location was a perfect fit.
The YOGASMOGA townhouse is a collaboration between the Balis and John Beckmann of Axis Mundi, a renowned architecture and interior design firm. What was once the Greenwich Firehouse is now a modern retail space that is sleek and tailored, featuring exposed brick walls and a silver metal palette throughout. The bottom floor hosts the store, featuring several of-the-minute styled tights, shorts, tops and jackets for both men and women. The second level will become a community area that may offer a juice and coffee bar, yoga classes and other specialty events that take the retail experience to another level.
The Balis believe that based on trends in the fashion world, people will soon be wearing yoga pants more than denim, and while this trend of “athleisure”(wearing workout apparel outside of the gym) is hardly new, YOGASMOGA is doing all it can to establish and differentiate itself among the heavy hitters of the active wear world.
The Balis spent years developing their fabrics, a blend of proprietary Supplex and Lycra with moisture wicking properties. They have their own exclusive fabric color technologies that are pill-resistant, shrink- and fade-proof, and they use eco-friendly dye procedures to make their garments. All of their products are designed, manufactured and sold in the US, which leaves a small carbon footprint and allows them to retain incredibly detailed quality control over their merchandise. In keeping with the idea of authenticity, YOGASMOGA does not Photoshop their promotional ads, reflecting the idea that people are beautiful in their natural state, whatever that may be. The hope is that all these efforts will culminate into a trustworthy brand that offers a lasting experience and bond with the consumer.
YOGASMOGA is not only focusing locally, but globally as well. Their NAMASKAR Foundation, named after a traditional Indian greeting that means to shun arrogance and one’s ego, was created as the philanthropy arm of the company. The Foundation supports women’s health, education, and micro-lending in the developing world and its economies. One of the first micro-lending projects the Foundation is spearheading is setting up handlooms for women in remote Himalayan villages so these women can earn a living producing NAMASKAR bracelets. These bracelets are sold for $10 in YOGASMOGA stores and online, and net proceeds go to the Foundation. As if they’re not busy enough, the Balis are in the midst of launching their second retail store in Brentwood, CA, set to open its doors mid-November.
68 Greenwich Avenue; 203-861-9642; www.yogasmoga.com