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Some of Australia’s best independent designers are pivoting to tracksuits

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

Suit up.

Tracksuits, where would we be without them? In a very uncomfortable place, probably. The humble tracksuit has been an integral part of fashion since the ’70s, when terry cloth, polyester sets were all the rage, so it’s fair to say we’ve come a long way when it comes to this infamous two-piece.

Adidas’ three-stripe duo defined the Britpop trend of the ’90s and Juicy Couture’s velour trackies were the ones to be seen in (literally, they were in all the paparazzi shots) in the early to mid-2000s. But in 2020, we’ve undeniably reached peak athleisure.

Tracksuits are absolutely everywhere, particularly now that we’re in the midst of a global crisis that has us spending most of our waking hours at home. Judging by the surge in sales brands peddling trackies, hoodies and anything loose and forgiving have seen, we’ve developed a collective cultural hatred for anything that doesn’t have an elasticated waistband.

While you won’t have any trouble at all procuring a tracksuit online these days, finding an ethically and locally made one is quite a bit harder. Thankfully, some of our favourite local designers have capitalised on our desire for comfy two pieces and have pivoted to tracksuits. Here’s four that I’ve been eyeing off this week.

Vege Threads

Vege Threads is a Melbourne-based label that specialises in what I would describe as ‘cool comfort’. Sure, you can wear this tracksuit while slouching around at home having your third existential crisis that week, but you can just as easily wear it to literally any other occasion. But considering we don’t have any of those other occasions to attend right now (RIP other occasions), slouching around in it at home will have to do for the time being.

I’m particularly partial to this orange colourway which would disguise all manner of fluro coloured chip crumbs and provides a welcome reprieve from the classic monochromatic tracksuits we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. The slightly cropped sweater and the thick-ribbed neckline is also very pleasing. Now for Vege Threads credentials; its clothing is all made in Australia using organic, eco-friendly materials and vegetable dyes and it’s committed to a transparent, ethical supply chain and has accreditation from Ethical Clothing Australia. Too good.

Get it here.

Suku Home

Suku Home is a Melbourne label beloved for its easy, breezy silhouettes and expert use of colour and patterns. Considering it makes pyjamas and bedding (as well as an array of other very excellent clothing) introducing a tracksuit into its range seemed like the next logical step. This one is made out of 100 per cent cotton and is a very soothing pale mint with black droplets of dye, but it’s also available in a cream colour with a marigold and midnight paint-like print. The hoodie and track pants are sold separately, too, so if you already have your ideal tracksuit pants you can treat yourself to the hoodie, or vice versa.

The Suku Home brand is rooted in sustainability and ethical practices. Its clothing is produced in small scale production by local artisans in Indonesia, it uses organic cotton and bamboo rayon and its fabrics are all dyed with plant dyes in a closed-loop system, which means 100 per cent of the water used in processing can be recycled. Plus, no fabric goes to waste, with any offcuts being used to make bags and other items. Music to my ears!

Get it here.

Oats The Label

Oats The Label’s clothing is all ethically made by a mother-daughter duo in Melbourne, and if that’s not wholesome, I don’t know what is. Its clothing is made in small runs from quality fabrics, and its pieces are made to wear again and again, meaning you end up getting great cost per wear. Out of all the designers pivoting to tracksuits, this one took me by surprise the most. I associate Oats the Label with interesting, off-kilter pieces that each have little unexpected details, like a lettuce trim straight across neckline or a structural white shirt with only one sleeve.

A tracksuit wasn’t something I could envisage for its range, but this one works so seamlessly and fits into the new and aptly titled ‘Comfort’ section on its website. The track pant bottoms have a detail that I really enjoy – the front part of the waistband is ruched in a way that makes the front look almost loosely pleated. Talk about elevating the tracksuit. These babies only became available today, but I’m sorry to inform you they’ve already sold out in every colour but dark blue. Here’s hoping Oats capitalises on our tracksuit obsession and puts another round into production.

Get it here.

Sister Studios

Now, before you get your hopes up, these 100 per cent pastel-y toned tracksuits by Melbourne label Sister Studios appear to have all sold out within a day or two of the label letting its Instagram followers know about them. The speed at which these flew off their virtual shelves perfectly encapsulates the rabid demand that exists for tracksuits at the moment – we can’t get enough.

But in case Sister Studios gets more in, it’s good to know that these tracksuits (along with the label’s other designs) are made in a small Ethical Clothing Australia credited factory in Melbourne. The label designs with sustainability in mind, too, designing patterns that ensure minimal fabric waste and creating small items like scrunchies as a way to reuse fabric scraps. Anyway, watch this tracksuit shaped space – I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we’ll see a tracksuit from the label. In the meantime, there’s a few comfy long sleeves and hoodies on offer that should pair nicely with your preexisting trackies.

Check out Sister Studio’s range here.

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