If someone had told me that there was an activewear brand coming out of Jordan, I would have been skeptical to say the least. The list of likely prohibitive scenarios flashing through my mind. Well the ladies behind Chase the Sun activewear have proven that where there is a will, there is a way.
The luxury athleisure brand, established in 2018 by Zain and Alya Al Saleh and Hala Kanan , set out with the intention of creating luxury items of clothing that could effortlessly transition women from workout to the street. Their range consists of pretty much everything you would need for a day at the gym. From functional leggings, bra tops to cotton essentials such as t-shirts, sweatpants and sweatshirts. Of my favorite pieces are the Mercury leggings, that they have intelligently coined the non-basic basic. The legging features a mix of high performance fabrics and laser cut perforation details for extra comfort and breathability. The super high-rise makes the legging very well suited to the trending bra-style tops, of which they have a few. The Out-and-About top features a paneled bra that can equally be worn to a sweaty workout and an evening out. Their mid-range price point adds to their winning formula, allowing women from all walks of life to enjoy a piece of Chase the Sun .
Speaking of winning formula, as you can imagine, I was curious to better understand their process. Over a proverbial cup of coffee, the gals from Chase the Sun filled me in on their modus operandi and although the details may only be of interest to industry folk, their passion and perseverance are important life lessons to everyone interested in creating a brand.
Their leggings in my lap, I approach my fact-finding mission from a technical standpoint.. How do they feel to the touch? How much lycra? How thick are the laser panels? What about the inseam? Are they squat-proof? Are they sweat-wicking? Check, check, check! From a technical perspective there is little that is left to the imagination, these are well-made functional pants. When it comes to the fashion design the same is true. Being able to merge the two worlds of functionality and design is quite complicated in fashion, in activewear, the challenge is twofold, and the ladies behind Chase the Sun have done a very good job of it. One of the points that they stressed on was trial and error. At times with fear comes arrogance, and an inability for young designers to accept feedback or criticism. Conversely the girls at Chase the Sun seem to consider feedback and customer service as imperative to the success of their company. As I question them on form and function, their answers were just as practical as their clothing; keep testing, listening, adjusting.
As we continue to discuss their design and production process, what comes to mind is the realism of it all. One of the greatest downfalls of any startup brand are their dreams, which often get in the way of reality. When one imagines their company, it is only natural that you would expect the design process to be created before your very eyes, your sweat and tears occasionally soiling the samples. Not so for these ladies.. Their effort is the same, where it is channeled however, is intelligently elsewhere. And yes, when they started out, they were keen on producing locally, but that was mission impossible for a number of reasons. The path they eventually took required a certain management of expectations, one that worked out very well from the look of things. Chase the Sun are a reminder that there is more than one way of approaching one’s business. At times, the effort needs to be poured into the right place. I have seen so young companies find themselves stuck in the vicious cycle of production and sales. Unable to climb out of the loop to reach a point of sustainable productivity. To them I say, if it’s not working then find another way, don’t keep trying to fix what is not serving you. Explore options, even if they are unlikely or foreign to you.
Now in their second year, Chase the Sun are stocked at luxury activewear boutique Athletique Jo , where the brand rubs shoulders with some of the finest brands from USA and Europe. They have expanded beyond the Jordanian borders also, and are currently stocked in Saudi Arabia and Dubai in addition to a number of e-commerce points. Asking them the mother of all cliché questions, ‘’where do you see yourselves in 5 years?” Their response was, ‘in the closets of every woman’. Inclusivity is important to Chase the Sun, with their styles and sizes incorporating women of all shape and height. If there is one thing they have perfectly clear in their minds, the ladies of Chase the Sun know that cookie cutter solutions invariably don’t work.. They have gone the extra mile creating a bespoke business model that serves the purpose of their company. Their foray into activewear in the first place is an indication of a strong-willed, creative passion. Unperturbed by the fact that it hadn’t been done before, they have given it their all.