Alright, we just have to say it… Aussies are killing it on the activewear scene. Case in point? Christine Zotos and Anna Hrist, the brains behind Contrology. Having only debuted in March this year, Contrology has fast become known for being the world’s first Pilates-dedicated activewear brand, gaining rapid support amongst the Pilates community around the world. Exclusive to Stylerunner and easily recognised by its sleek cuts, functional fits and minimalist aesthetic, we sat down with Christine and Anna to learn more about their design journey, their passion for Pilates and how they balance working hard with working out:
What were you both doing before launching Contrology and what brought you together to create the brand?
Christine: Alongside fashion and design, Pilates and fitness are my passions. I am a qualified Pilates instructor and also own and run my own Pilates studios. My career to date includes over ten years as a marketing executive for luxury labels. I have been friends with Anna for a very long time, and we both share the love for fashion and Pilates. When I opened my first studio I realised there was a gap in the market for a Pilates-functional yet polished activewear brand.
Anna: Fitness is a passion of mine, alongside working in the fashion industry for the last 12 years, in all aspects ranging from design, production and product development. I spent the last four years of my career as a fashion buyer before starting Contrology. Christine and I have been friends for over 12 years and we’ve always talked of starting a business together. We connected over our ritual 6am Pilates sessions, followed by espressos, which is where the concept of Contrology Active was created.
What’s the story behind the name ‘Contrology’?
Christine: Contrology is the exercise methodology developed by Joseph Pilates. We could not think of a better name which pays homage to Joseph Pilates himself, and his philosophy.
Anna: It’s actually the original name for the Pilates workout before it was named after the founder himself. The name Contrology resonates with our philosophy as it’s both powerful and relevant to the Pilates community.
Contrology is known as the world’s first Pilates-dedicated brand. What makes the clothes ideal for Pilates in particular?
Christine: Working in the studios, I felt that most of the traditional activewear I was wearing was either too compression-based or not complimentary to the female form. Joseph Pilates believed that workout clothing must be tight fitting yet unrestrictive to ensure that the instructor can correct the clients form when needed. Pilates is all about flow and controlled movement. We create comfort through our fabrications and styling. One of the other important elements is our tights, which are all high-waisted and feature a double-layer fitted waistband, which is designed to activate and secure the core during and post your session.
Anna: Most of the fabrications we use have a high content of elastane, are soft on skin and we use natural fibres wherever we can. Our pieces are designed for the studio and beyond so its important the fabrics are comfortable and breathable when they can be. We use organic cottons, bamboo and regenerated natural fibres when possible. None of our styles feature any hardware such as trims or zips. You can sometimes spend most of your Pilates class on your back, so it’s important that there are no interferences. Besides the outerwear, we test every single piece on the reformer bed ourselves. Prior to committing to a style, Christine and I will both do several sessions in our pieces and report back our thoughts and feedback. Whilst the clothes must look great, they must also perform and be functional during your Pilates workout.
Besides Pilates, where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Anna: Other than the Pilates history, philosophy and core values, for us, travel is the biggest source of inspiration and we both take a trip overseas when we start to work on a new collection. Minimalism, architecture and clean lines are at the core of our collection when designing our ranges.
Christine: The female form – all our designs are in tune with complimenting the female body. All pieces are designed to elongate, flatter and make you feel empowered. We are also inspired by clean lines, minimalism and the Pilates philosophy itself. We also draw inspiration from nature, specifically the ocean where we both feel our most inspired and true to our authentic selves.
How would you describe the ‘Contrology woman’?
Anna: She has her own identity and style. She doesn’t necessarily follow trends and stays true to her aesthetic, always. She is feminine and loves to feel good, both in mind, body and soul.
Christine: The Contrology woman leads a life of simplicity, elegance and strength. The Pilates discipline itself empowers her to lead an authentic life from the core.
What has been the biggest challenge in setting up the brand so far and how did you overcome it?
Anna: Since launching in March this year, we have grown very rapidly, so the biggest challenge has naturally come from trying to keep up with the daily ever-changing demands of the business.
Christine: The biggest challenge so far has definitely been rapid growth. The ongoing demands of the business are changing daily, we need to adapt quickly and we are always making decisions that will most benefit the business.
On the flipside, what has been the most rewarding moment thus far?
Christine: For me personally, being a Pilates trainer, gaining respect and trust from the Pilates community has been the most rewarding moment so far. And of course, seeing the final designs in studios and women all around the world.
Anna: Definitely seeing our designs come to life. Since conception, there has been a lot of time taken to perfect the fit, quality and fabrication so seeing the range all come together and people loving the product has been extremely rewarding in in itself.
If you had to pick one item each from your current collection as the perfect ‘Pilates-to-party’ piece, what would that be?
Anna: My favourite would have to be the circle tank. The cut outs are super flattering and it’s the perfect piece to tuck into your jeans if you’re heading for a night out.
Christine: It would have to be the L/S Teaser tucked in, which pairs beautifully with your favourite tailored high-waisted pant.
When it comes to balancing working hard with working out, we are always looking for inspiration! What does a typical day look like for each of you and how do you make sure you get your workouts in?
Anna: Our days can be super busy and unpredictable, so its very important we both get our workouts done in the morning. It’s been a ritual since we discovered Pilates. Our day starts with a 6am session followed by our second favourite thing – coffee.
Christine: United by the common love of Pilates, Anna and I start out day with Pilates followed by espressos. We both know Pilates days are our best days, the ones that ground you, balance you and allow you to take control of the day. Our days are usually long, so it’s good to sneak in a workout in the AM.
Besides killer core strength, how has Pilates changed the way you live life?
Christine: Fitness and healthy living is a lifestyle and Pilates truly is a lifestyle choice that has changed our lives for the better. We all live busy lives and Pilates not only helps us improve our physical power, but also the ability to clear our mind and be ready for what challenges lie ahead.
Anna: After my first Pilates class I immediately felt different. No other exercises provided such a sense of wellbeing. Not only is it about healthy movement, it also creates a healthy mind. Most importantly, Pilates changed our life in that it was the place that inspired us to create Contrology Active.
Exclusive to Stylerunner. Shop Contrology now at www.stylerunner.com!
Images supplied by Contrology