Meet our March That Girls, Jaemi Leong and Elly Phneah!
The right outfit can make you feel invincible, kinda like you own the world. And that goes for what you sport when working up a sweat too. A set of gym gear that fits well, looks pretty and does what its supposed to can definitely up your #quadgoals in no time. With newcomer activewear brands like Naked Wear slaying the game, your fitness apparel will not only enhance your performance but could also help you blast through that bootcamp session. Girls, meet the brains (and abs) of our featured That Girls for this month, Jaemi Leong and Elly Phneah! This sassy duo combines innovate style, impeccable fit and standout performance in all their gym duds that can easily transition into an all-day ensemble. So if you’re looking for a ‘gram-worthy workout outfit that kicks ass in and beyond the gym, Naked Wear is your answer. We caught up with these two ABSolutely charming and charismatic ladies who are extremely passionate about being a local activewear brand (Singapore represent!) and asked them what inspired this new foray into sweat-ready gear.
Hi Jaemi and Elly! Tell us more about your background. What inspired you to start your own fitness apparels?
We noticed that many activewear available in Singapore were mainly imported and are expensive. On the flip side, activewear on the lower end of the price range did not have the necessary quality to support women with the right fitting and cut. For instance, many sports bras do not come with padding, which Asian women strongly prefer.
This is exactly what Naked Wear stands for. We want to provide women the confidence through a range of activewear that would not only give them the right support and fit, but are also affordable and beautifully designed. Most importantly, with many locals getting on board the fitness wagon, we wanted to be a brand that’s proud to be Singaporean.
How did you both meet?
We joined the same performance team in a pole dance studio, and got introduced by a mutual friend. We then realised we got along pretty well and what was even better was that we complemented each other’s strengths, so why not work together on a common interest?
Jaemi is the logical Naked Queen behind Naked Wear’s business strategy and sharply evaluating every activewear design and business proposal. Elly is the empathetic Brand Warrior who understands consumers and constantly forges the emotional connection with them. With this powerful combination, we believe we can take Naked Wear to greater heights, and our friendship still stands strong today.
Why the name Naked Wear?
Essentially, the word “Naked” has the connotation of being the second skin that empower women. We achieve this through the extremely comfortable spandex material, as well as moisture wicking and anti-bacterial properties to support women as they take on their next workout. In that respect, being Naked is not about being bare and vulnerable, but being absolutely comfortable with what you are and ultimately, who you are. Our mantra remains: Inspire women to be fit, look good Naked.
Describe the typical Naked Wear girl to us.
Every Naked Wear girl embodies four qualities: strength, beauty, sassiness and character. She is strong because of all the effort that goes into her workout, and because strong is the new sexy. She is beautiful because of her style regardless of the way she dresses or carries herself. She is sassy because she is always in high spirits from the benefits that exercise brings her, and has character because she is not easily brought down by setbacks.
Share with us the design process behind your apparel.
The apparels are uniquely designed by us in Singapore. Our designs tend to be distinctive compared to other labels and we are inspired by the movement and confidence of a woman. We constantly challenge and push the limits of how activewear should look and feel on people. We take style very seriously because we want to inject personality and fun into our designs.
What are some of the challenges you face as an activewear start-up brand in Singapore?
For a start, we had to stand out among well-established, global fitness labels that cater to the up-market segment, as well as many distributors who import various international brands under their overall branding umbrella. However, Naked Wear does not compare itself to these brands as we are a mid-market brand. We are very clear about what we stand for: comfort, style, security, affordability, and are proud to be a homegrown label.
It is definitely not an easy path running a business in Singapore and as first-time entrepreneurs. Fitness is increasingly becoming important to Singaporeans as many recognise the benefits of having a work-life balance and the importance of health and wellness. Singapore is also increasingly supporting start-ups and we are considered early entrants in the market. Despite this, we still had to learn how the market operates, what makes consumers tick, and even how to work with each other. Fortunately, this journey has been extremely rewarding so far as it is aligned with not only our passion, but our personal values.
Which silhouette/item from Naked Wear do you girls love individually?
Jaemi: I love all of our apparels but my favourite is the Shock! Rock Bra because it creates a flattering bust line for smaller busts! It comes in stone grey with a pop of pink on the back.
Elly: Every single apparel by Naked Wear is beautiful but I especially love the Shock Rock! Bra as it is pretty flattering. I also love the Triad Bra because while it appears modest, its side stripes really stand out. I suppose “understated femininity” really describes my style.
What are some of the sports that you girls actively engage in?
We both practice pole dancing and work out in the gym on a regular basis!
Jaemi: I enjoy fast-paced sports such as HIIT. My recent participation in the NutriGirl 2016 contest also resulted in me picking up weight lifting to gain strength and better muscle definition for my body.
Elly: I’m more of a Jack of all trades, keen on trying everything once from a range of sea sports, aerial sports and mixed martial arts, but I mostly dabble with yoga, pilates, and dance.
What inspires you?
We are both inspired by movement and confidence that a woman should have of her body. Our designs are distinctive compared to other labels. Being small and nimble, we also look forward to hearing opinions from people as it helps us derive greater designs.
What are some of your favourite spots in Singapore to hang out at?
Jaemi: I spend most of my time at gyms or pole studios.
Elly: I mostly hang out at pole and yoga studios, or hiking at nature reserves. On days when I’m not exercising, I’m channeling my inner geek by reading a book at a café.
What are you both looking forward for Naked Wear in the next few years?
We are definitely most excited about our upcoming collection that will feature not only new, trendy sports bra designs but also leggings. We have received great reviews from a handful of customers and close friends who have tried it and can’t wait to roll it out on the market. In addition, we’re also working hard to develop a wide range of fitness apparels such as leggings, lounge shorts, fitness gloves and even tank tops.
Since we are proud to be a Singapore brand, we are excited about contributing back to society through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. Last year, we collaborated with a local gym to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. Our end goal is to be recognised as a homegrown activewear brand that is well-known in Asia, restore confidence in women who work out and empower them with style and comfort.
Do you have any advice for aspiring #GirlBosses?
It is a balance of being passionate and being opportunistic. Passion takes you far but it does not pay the bills, so you have to be smart enough to spot the right opportunities to take your business further. And very importantly, listen to customer feedback to improve your offerings.
For more information on Naked Wear’s offerings, visit their website here.