Why League Collective?

Design has always been a big thing for me.

I’m the type of person who will go all in and spend hours on a costume for a party – making it as intricate and as extravagant in a cut as possible or make a conscious effort of looking effortlessly yet purposefully scruffy.”

(Lilly wearing league Collective sports Bra)

There is no in between.

Before becoming a Yoga teacher, I worked in fashion for an Au Couture dress designer, and Milliner, which kept me inspired daily to create my own outfits, dresses, and hats.

I had a portfolio of drawings that spanned 3 sketchbooks and I didn’t go to uni or actually need them for anything. I would draw entire collections based on a million different cuts and one type of fabric, and be constantly writing ideas down on my phone when I was out. My dreams were filled with catwalk ideas, and in my spare time, I’d plan parties where I would make 5 outfits changes for me and friends, and do photoshoots beforehand for everyone else’s outfit inspiration… Maybe the hat fumes got to me a little…

(From left: Alice in Wonderland themed  shoot, Dress commission for hat designer Edwina Ibbotson, Tweedle Dum and Dweedle Dee – Alice in Wonderland)

Through the weeks I would take on dress commissions. I’d design and make prom dresses, wedding dresses and evening gowns for friends. Although I wasn’t making anything to an Haute couture standard, the design process was everything for me. I would create outrageous dresses – always testing the limit with what was possible, and how things would hold together with drop back and fronts, creating corseted dresses with low backs, you name it. You could usually find me in the standard carriage, facing the wrong way round with my sewing machine plugged into the phone socket on the east coast railways service from London to Leeds, heavy music blaring out my headphones, Hat embroidery in my hands whilst making the final touches to evening gowns…

(From left: Alice in Wonderland themed shoot, Dress commission for Hat and matching Dress)

Five years on, and as a full-time yoga teacher – living in Lycra, the idea of fashion went out the window until activewear and yoga suddenly decided to be ‘on trend’ and the fastest growing market in retail.

(Lilly teaching Yoga in a clip from Crowdfunding video)

I still dress like a tramp most days…even my bike has its front light held on with brown parcel tape that flickers in the wind… but design and function is still my constant daydream.

Designing League Collective was my way of expressing that need for creativity in my industry of health and fitness and wellbeing that, until recently had been pretty basic.

(League Collective Leggings in a clip from Crowdfunding video)

How did it go? Men wear blue lycra shorts, women need fluorescent yellow or pink tank tops and black leggings to create a slimming effect, and due to lycra being stretchy, the idea of complicated seams and cuts was non-existent. At the other end of the spectrum – eco-friendly clothing was considered brown and beige, and God-forbid you went to the gym in it, as your sweat would make you so heavy that you wouldn’t make it home.

(Lilly teaching Yoga in a clip from Crowdfunding video)

Times have changed, and with that, the birth of League Collective has come at a pretty awesome time.

Over that last two years, after deciding to take life a little more seriously, I made it my mission to create sportswear that is pleasing to the eye, well cut, interesting to look at and 100% recycled in high-tech fabric with fast wicking properties, matching the standard of other pro-cycling brands that have emerged.

(Lilly in a League Collective Rain Jacket launching A/W. Photographed by Elliot Pleasance)

It’s funny how, the more you learn about self-care and learn to love yourself, the more your care for the environment and world around you. When I started this brand I had decided to quit alcohol for a while, and I can honestly say it made a world of difference. I’ve never been a heavy drinker, but the mental clarity you get when you completely stop for a while is mind-altering.

The clarity and focus you gain are unstoppable, and the need to create something greater than yourself is only strengthened.

Being a designer is Desctructive. We create things that go to waste. As humans, we need nothing but our bodies, warmth and natural foods, yet we have minds that want to recreate the earth as we know it and build mountains of waste for the thrill of the design.

(League Collective’s Hiit Yoga Fusion Session – Clapham Common)

I realised that if I was to ever create anything with our planet in such a dire state, it had to be conscious, sustainable, or at least durable enough to withstand the time of the ‘fast fashion’ lifestyle we currently live in. And to build anything that strong, and worthwhile, you need a community.

(From left: Karis Scarlette, Anna Louise, Lilly, and Sophie Grace Holmes at league Collective’s Hoodie launch event)

My mission with League Collective is to not only shine a light on how it is so possible to live sustainably but also create a conscious community of people who can come together through shared beliefs and activities, and connect on a greater level of understanding so that collectively, we can do something worthwhile.

For the future of League Collective, I hope to see this community grow, in the long run, to find or create a fully recyclable yet durable fabric, and really push the limits of what the fashion industry is capable of on a sustainable level.

League Collective has been a self-care project, and I have learnt more than I could ever imagine about the environment, the fashion industry and what the future holds.

It has been my own self-made, 2-year fashion degree. I have gone through 5 factories in 4 countries and cried more times than I thought possible to make what I believe in available to buy.

On the 18th April, I will be speaking on a panel at a Self-made Me event on The art of starting a business. Come and hear even more about the journey at The Collective14 Bedford Square, Fitzrovia. You can grab your ticket here.

(Ella Ross in new League Collective leggings and Bra. Photographed by Bella Howard)

I cannot wait to share these products with you! It has been a labour of love, and something I am incredibly proud of.

Enter League Collective’s first, Limited Edition multipurpose, 100% Recycled Sportswear collection. Proudly designed and Made in the UK. Pre-ordered items will be arriving in your post 10th May and the rest May 31st.”

It is a very special collection, and there are only 50 items of each piece. When they are gone they are gone! So make sure you don’t miss out.

For more information about our clothing, or upcoming events, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

[email protected]