Born Primitive Releases Women’s Training Apparel for Larger Bodied Athletes
Close to two years ago, Athena Perez took to Instagram and started a campaign on her We Belong in CrossFit page challenging CrossFit apparel companies to create extended sizes for larger bodied athletes.
“Several companies reached out, including Reebok,” said Perez, the owner of Scaled Nation CrossFit, an affiliate dedicated to training larger bodied athletes.
But nothing came of it.
That is, until Mallory Handlon, the co-founder and owner of the apparel company Born Primitive, saw the campaign and realized she had a decision to make.
“Athena was kind of calling us out. I could take that two ways. I could be defensive and make excuses on why we don’t do this, or I could be like, OK, let’s fix it,” Handlon said.
“We always want to be innovative. We always want to be able to provide, and we listen to our fans. We listen to what people want and we make products accordingly. We never really turn down a challenge.”
So began the journey of research and development working with Perez and a group of 30 larger bodied women to create plus-sizes training clothes that are comfortable, fit well and look good.
And as of this week, Born Primitive has released their first line of clothing for larger bodied female athletes. It includes two sports bra variations available in multiple colors, a lightweight jogging pant, a long-sleeved warm-up shirt and a tank racerback, with leggings coming soon.
Why This Matters
Traditionally, there has been a serious lack of quality workout gear for larger bodied athletes, something Perez knows from firsthand experience.
“I would say that previous to this last five to 10 years, finding fitness wear for plus-sized people was challenging. A lot of the brands just didn’t make athletic wear. And then slowly over the last decade, they have been getting better and better, but I think it has been a challenge for a lot of us, especially the ones who have been heavy our whole lives. We didn’t even really have fitness wear before the last decade at all. It just wasn’t available” said Perez, who lost 225 pounds after getting into CrossFit.
She added: “It’s not a question of whether it can be done. The question is whether or not those brands want to carry plus sizes.”
Further, oftentimes when brands do create plus sizes, they don’t do it very well, Perez explained. This is because the traditional sizing model usually means clothes just get arbitrarily wider and wider with each larger size, which leads to disproportionately-sized apparel that just don’t fit well.
This is why Born Primitive took the time to let 30 women sample various styles and sizes of clothing, and provide valuable feedback along the way, before going to market with products they’re proud of, a process Perez said was incredibly valuable.
“I think one of the coolest things was the group (of larger bodied women) got to determine for us what our sizes were going to be. We actually got to sit down as a group and define, ‘What do we want that 1X to be?’ So we had to go through the whole process of doing measurements and creating patterns,” Perez said.
Handlon added: “It was a very thorough and long process, but it led to the products being perfect.”
And while this is Born Primitive’s first stab at a clothing line for larger bodied CrossFit athletes, Handlon said they do plan to expand it in the future, because it’s about time an apparel company took the time to service a demographic of people who have long-been forgotten.
“This is our first stab at it. If it goes well, we’ll expand upon it and a lot of that will be based on feedback, because it’s a brand new market for us,” Handlon said.
Perez added: “CrossFitters come in all shapes and sizes, and I think this is a really amazing step to recognizing that we’re not all the same.”