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How Annabelle Rose created the activewear of her dreams

Auckland designer Annabelle Rose launched her activewear label Rose Road to provide women with high-quality exercise tights in bold colours, but creating the right product wasn’t easy.

Rose spent a year hunting for the right fabrics, designing the patterns and developing the best fit before she was satisfied with her product. Rose Road launched in April through a D2C website.

She shares some insights about her journey with us.

Activewear is a pretty saturated category. You set out to make your line stand out – how did you achieve that?

Oh tell me about it! It wasn't nearly this saturated when we started. In fact, I started Rose Road because I couldn't find anything other than black activewear. I think our bespoke prints are still a stand-out in the current market. I also had a huge emphasis on quality when we created the line - so I'd like to think this also sets us apart from the competition.

I can imagine that sourcing technical fabrics from New Zealand was tricky. Tell us about Rose Road’s sourcing and production journey. 

It was an absolute adventure to say the least. We researched so many fabric suppliers and manufacturers in New Zealand and then abroad over the year before we'd even made a pair of tights. Just learning the lingo and terms of trade was a lesson in itself.

We're ecstatic with the fabric quality we're using and our custom printing. It certainly wasn't the cheapest option (being sourced from Italy) but we decided it was essential to make gear woman could actually take to the limits.

It looks like you’ve chosen to offer a very specialised range of two types of leggings, in a wide variety of colourways. Can you talk to us about why you went in that direction instead of, say, offering just two colourways and branching out into crop tops and swimwear? 

At the beginning of the day it was all about creating a range of prints and patterns that woman felt inspired by, that resonated with their personalities, and that could be worn from the gym, to the school run, to the shops -  to do all the things woman end up doing in their activewear. We felt leggings were the most readily worn, versatile item of clothing to make.

Your branding and social media features non-European models quite prominently. Was there any particular philosophy driving that decision? 
We scouted a few different models to shoot our lookbook and in the end Bianca just felt to resonate with the brand the most.  We've used a few models since and they're a real mix of size, race, and style. Anyone can be a Rose Road wahine. We're all about championing diversity.

Can you share a summary of your overall philosophy behind Rose Road?

Our tagline is, ‘Move the body, express the soul’. Through our bespoke prints and fabric quality we want inspire confidence in women of all shapes and sizes to stand out, be bold and beautiful, to rock their body-hugging gym gears and do all the things the modern woman has got to get done.

This story first appeared atThe Register.