Good Looks

Thursday, July 18, 2013

With Carbon38, fitness fashion gets its very own Net-a-Porter

Carbon38_opener

“Our mission is to elevate fitness to the level of high fashion,” explains Caroline Gogolak, who worked at Intermix and Yves Saint Laurent before launching Carbon38 earlier this year with business partner Katie Warner Johnson, a ballet dancer turned Physique 57 instructor. (Jealousy alert: The two met at the Miami City Ballet and both attended Harvard.)

With the debut of Carbon38, the fast-growing fitness fashion sector finally has its own Net-a-Porter. A sleek curated site that feels more like a fashion magazine than an e-commerce shop, Carbon38 is carefully curated to offer  “guided purchasing in the super culty fitness market,” according to Gogolak. (The name’s a science reference: “If you add all the carbon atoms, in all the humans on Earth, you get 10 to the 38th power. I am a science geek, yes,” says Johnson.)

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Caroline Gogolak (at left) and Katie Johnson: “We’ve worn every piece on the site.”

The clothes Gogolak and Warner feature on the site are really all about “the outfit that gets you motivated to work out,” they say unapologetically. And we whole-heartedly agree that it’s easier to commit to extra burpees when your Solow Ruffled Mesh Tank ($81) makes your abs look flat or lunge a little deeper when your sweet Onzie Nature Leggings ($58) are smiling back at you.

In addition to their own great, no-fuss sense of style, Carbon38’s founders seek out Tastemakers who lead inspiring healthy lives, such as Norma Kamali, the fashion designer, and Susan Feldman, the co-founder of One King’s Lane, who dish on their favorite pieces. (We were honored to be included among the Tastemakers).

As a result the site has a magazine-y curated approach, and Carbon38 serves as a launch pad for niche, indie, or hard-to-get players.

“There are so many fitness brands that don’t have money to open a retail location, they don’t have the resources to build a robust e-commerce site,” explains Warner. So you can stock up on your L’urv, Lucas Hugh, and Lorna Jane—all far-flung fitness brands without many points of sale stateside. Michi, the smoking-hot, boudoir-inspired fitness line, continues to be a favorite, such that it’s constantly selling out.

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The magazine feel of Carbon38 (Photo: Principal dancer for the LA Ballet, Allyssa Bross, in Michi)


 

Which brings us to our one critique: We wish the racks were a little deeper—the selection can feel too curated and spare, and thus favorite items fly off the site super fast.

So, in other words, we want more.

One of the reasons chic, fit women can’t get enough of Carbon38? Fitness fashion is the new casual wear, as Gogolak is fond of saying. “Everything is moving toward a more seamless lifestyle where you don’t have to change to go to the gym.” Amen to that.

 For more information, visit www.carbon38.com

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