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activewear

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    Inspired by the colors and high-end fashion of India, local designer (and Project Runway competitor!) Althea Harper and her business partner are bringing you a new kind of activewear line. Keep reading for all the sparkling details!

    Mira Rae Lead Designer Althea Harper.
    Mira Rae Lead Designer Althea Harper (right)

    Mixing ancient inspiration with modern style, Mira Rae Activewear aims to help you look beautiful while remaining functional in your everyday life.

    This women’s, girls, and toddler activewear line was co-founded by Melissa Soin and her husband Vishal Soin, and local fashion guru Althea Harper serves as the line’s lead designer.

    Harper says that the line was inspired by India and Indian high fashion. “India is home to yoga and so much beautiful architecture and art,” says Harper. “We are also inspired by the modern woman who juggles so much in her life. We wanted to create clothing that would have this beauty and history behind it, but also be functional to wear from the gym while looking stylish to run to the store, run into work, go to the park with the children, etc.”

    For Soin, an American who married into an Indian family, it was a trip to India that helped her to quickly realize just how stylish Indian women are. “Indian women are always dressed to beautifully, whether they are attending a party, chasing children, or doing household errands,” says Soin. “I wondered if it was possible to combine that elegance with my inner desire to live my life in activewear and yoga pants.”

    Mira Rae features Indian inspiration mixed with modern American styles.
    Mira Rae features Indian inspiration mixed with modern American styles.

    It’s also about more than the meshing of styles, according to Soin.

    “As with many Americans, our children are growing up with many cultural influences and you will see this in our pieces,” she explains. “Mira Rae is named after our daughter who was the first in our family to be born into both cultures. Both sides of our family have really helped in many ways to get this company going. Family, faith, community, and world travel are reflected in all that we do.”

    To enhance the importance of family to the ladies behind Mira Rae, the line features “mommy and me” pieces that allow moms and daughters to match while they’re out and about.

    Mira Rae is a one-of-a-kind fashion line. It features the use of drape and Indian high-fashion inspiration in the garments. “We also use high-end fabrics for the best quality of athletic clothes, which enables us to achieve the drape and feel of a designer garment in an activewear piece,” says Harper.

    There’s also a wide variety of sizes available from Mira Rae, ranging from toddler 2T to Women’s large – including the “mommy and me” pieces that have been missing from athletic wear.

    13501848_683195168486357_4099493168521020686_nHarper says the most enjoyable thing about working as the lead designer for Mira Rae is creating something that is “so centered around things that are important for me.”

    “I love being active – yoga and weight training – and, most importantly, I love being a mother,” she says. “I am able to create something that is so functional yet also inspired by the beauty of Indian culture, motherhood, and being a woman.”

    The team at Mira Rae is prepping for the launch of the fall collection. “You will see more of the Indian colors and textures coming out,” says Harper. “We have some silhouettes that are new to athletic wear but are functional and work beautifully, as well as some unique quality fabrics that are both so luxe and comfortable.”

    Harper adds that with the soft launch of Mira Rae a few weeks ago, the activewear basics all featured an Indian touch. However, you can expect to see more prints coming out soon that use exciting concepts found in modern Indian designs. “Our prints will reflect the beauty and colors of India,” she says.

    They’re also working on a collaboration with a Cincinnati designer to add original art to the textile prints. “You will really start to see the Indian high-fashion come out,” says Harper.

    They’re also going to continue building the girl’s line and adding more to the toddler styles, as well as adding to the accessories offered by Mira Rae.

    You can learn more about Mira Rae at mirarae.com or by liking them on Facebook.

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    A Hyde Park-based business specializing in activewear and sneakers shares details with us about their new OTR location set to open next month.

    Corporate’s Hyde Park store, located at 2643 Erie Ave. Photo by: Ben "Hatchmo" Iker
    Corporate’s Hyde Park store, located at 2643 Erie Ave. Photo by: Ben “Hatchmo” Iker

    Matt Tomamichael believes he did everything wrong when he began his entrepreneurial journey as the owner of shoe and athletic wear store, Corporate in Hyde Park. “If there was an example of everything not to do with a business, I was that example,” Tomamichael laughs, “but I was just so determined, I made it work.”

    Today, Corporate is an athletic wear and shoe store, carrying mainly men’s merchandise but also a select offering of women’s athletic wear and shoes. Serving as the local sneakerhead’s paradise, you can find high performance and rare athletic shoes such as the Adidas Tubular 93’s or the Converse Suede 70’s High Top QS Edition

    Corporate’s selection of apparel is also a collection of hand-selected rare finds, with brands including Publish Brand (from California) and Tackma (founded in Ohio and based in New York).

    Tomamichael launched Corporate in 2008 with its original location in Springdale. In 2011, he relocated the store to its current Hyde Park location. Even though Tomamichael says he did everything wrong when launching his business, he learned and adapted quickly to turn it into a successful operation. So much so, he’s preparing to open his second store on Vine St. this October.

    The idea for the second store began when Josh Heuser, owner of AGAR – an OTR-based event planning company – and Tomamichael’s close friend, suggested that Tomamichael look into an OTR location due to dramatically increasing foot traffic and its niche of fashion forward shoppers. Shortly after the suggestion, Tomamichael was coincidentally approached by 3CDC with the opportunity to open up a space on Vine, and the rest is history. “The moral of the story,” Tomamichael says, “is when it’s right you’ll know it’s right.”

    Tomamichael says he envisions the Vine St. Corporate store to be a graduating extension of the Hyde Park store, as it will feature more brands, an extensive selection of shoes and apparel, and “only featuring the best of the best merchandise,” Tomamichael says. “The downtown location will have the clothing niche.”

    AGAR and Corporate are teaming up to produce several events later this year once the new location opens. To get updates on progress and event invites, follow Corporate’s website, Facebook and Instagram.

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