When Fashion x Movement Mix + Mingle
By: Julia Roper, Founder, Coed Active
Hey Shop Good Fam! I started Coed– a men’s and women’s active wear line made in Los Angeles, all with fabrics containing SPF. Our mission is to create products that encourage people to not only get active, but to do so with the people all around us in our communities– to simply get #MovingTogether.
It’s been an incredible journey of creating Coed from just a simple idea, but of course there have been ups, downs and uncertainty all along the way. My story begins with the questions I faced once I graduated college.
Have you ever felt like you just wanted someone to tell you what your passion should be? Do you ever visualize your ideal future life, and not know how to get there? That was exactly the place I was in post-college, the place where so many people are at that time in life. Facing the reality of starting a career, with no experience to help you find a job at your dream company, not really even knowing what your dream job is. I found myself in that place after returning to my hometown of Los Angeles, after living in London for four years studying fashion business at London College of Fashion.
I’ve always been a very driven person, going after exactly what I want and not stopping until I get it, hence the decision to move to London the month after graduating high school and braving not only a new city or country, but a new continent across the world with no one to hold my hand and guide me through the process. The only thing I knew was that I was passionate about the fashion industry and wanted the experience of living in one of the greatest cities in the world for fashion. The experience was nothing short of incredible, yet I still found myself back in my hometown of Los Angeles four years later struggling with where to begin.
It was in that time that I started experimenting with fitness and nutrition, loving the way it made me feel. I joined a gym, where I felt a sense of community and started seeing positive changes in my body, my skin and overall attitude towards life. I felt happy and excited to move forward.
I dabbled in a few short-lived jobs before I landed a position at a company where I loved the product and felt an instant connection to the people working there, and ultimately a deep respect for the owner of the company. It was in this time that I learned how a company runs, working my way up from the lowest position, to switching departments multiple times and understanding how all different sides of the business work. I learned how to close a sale in a retail space, I learned how to operate an e-commerce website, I learned how to work with different stores that carry the product, and I learned the vast landscape of marketing in an industry with so much noise and competition. I grew to love the business, and felt a deep desire to start something of my own.
My love for community fitness deepened over the years. I would trade drinks with friends for hikes with them, I went to classes with co-workers before driving to work and I’d go for long runs on the weekends to relax and feel centered with my body. It was during a spin class where I had the seed of Coed planted in my mind. It was far-off and obscure, but I had an idea to start an active wear line– an idea that finally made sense to me, blending together two passions of mine, fashion and fitness. I told my boyfriend, now fiancé about this idea and he immediately said he’d been thinking about the lack of options for well-priced, LA-made men’s active wear. It was in that moment that I started forming the idea of Coed. I felt a strong pull to create a well-made product in the city I grew up in that not only helped its consumers, but helped my own community, contributing to the economy, even if in a small way. I wanted to encourage people to do the same, hopefully leading to bigger change in an industry of such waste and fast fashion.
I started taking steps to understanding how to start a clothing line, getting advice from anyone I could. I started stepping out and meeting people, then buying fabric, then having a pattern maker make an initial pattern for leggings, then a first sample, revising it until it fit perfect. After two years of trial and error, partnering with both my fiancé and a seasoned designer, putting a ridiculous amount of time and resources into this passion, I launched Coed with nine men’s and women’s styles.
The journey has only just begun, but the feeling of both gratefulness for how far Coed has come, and the vast opportunity and potential that there is to be had is what pushes me every single day to keep moving forward. If starting an active wear line, from a simple place of wanting to make a product that helps people get moving in their communities can inspire someone else to crack the code of their dreams and start something of meaning to them that ultimately helps others, then that makes every struggle worth while.
Join me at Shop Good on Sunday, March 25 from 11am-2pm for our Coed pop-up shop, I’d love to meet you!
*All photos via Coed