We all know the health benefits that come with being mindful and slowing down, but few live it quite like Robyn Berkley. After spending time in Bali - getting certified as a yoga trainer and living "better" on the whole - Berkley returned to NYC more grounded. Back in the big city, Berkley founded her own PR firm and shortly thereafter, with business partner Jared Vere, decided to create a line of workout apparel called Live The Process.
Exploring ways to integrate holistic practices into a New York lifestyle, even in its early gestation, Live The Process placed it focused in on exercising consciousness at every stage of the wellness journey. And so, the concept "The Workout Within" was born. Each piece is designed with performance, comfort and versatility in mind - making for an edit of symmetrical and expertly constructed designs that balance form and function flawlessly.
Where did you grow up? How did these places shape you?
Robyn: I grew up in New Jersey, where I studied gymnastics and dance intently for 10 years. My uniform was leotards, bodysuits and layering pieces.
Jared: New Zealand.
Your earliest fashion memory is…
R: Dressing up in my grandmothers' scarves, jewellery and shoes when I was six.
J: My family owns the biggest chain of women's stores in New Zealand called Ruby and my father has owned factories in China since 1982 - it was part of my DNA. It's my entire life.
How does your brand name connect with your product?
R: The process of linking breath and movement is life, which is the meaning of vinyasa flow yoga. For me Live The Process is just that. Breath is life and as you breathe and focus on that breath all else evolves around you. Everyone is living their own process and no one is in a better place. Just a different one. It's about self-evolution. What you wear outwardly expresses emotion on how you feel on the inside they are bound together.
Define the Live The Process aesthetic…
R: Feminine. Soft, but strong. Utilitarian, but having a bit more fun. Playful. Colourful. Architecturally inspired.
You operate on the mantra "the workout within," can you unpack that for us…
Everyone speaks about the physical aspect of working out but if you are not working out within then it's hard to evolve. The focus is on what is inside - the physical is just part of the process.
Where is your studio and what does it look like?
R: It's a 2,000sq ft loft in Tribeca, NYC. It's quite simple and refined; it feels like an old ballet studio with windows on both sides - the light is amazing. My favourite part is the ceiling we painted black; it really changed the whole space.
What songs do you have on repeat in your studio?
R: Anything that feels meditative: classical, jazz, Fleetwood Mac, Sade, David Bowie.
New York's best gym classes…
R: Right now, everything is online, but I have been doing Sky Ting Yoga classes, Love Yoga, Kyle Miller Yoga, Lia Bartha pilates…
J: I'm currently working out with a trainer on the west side. Fresh air and outdoors is the best.
Where should we head in the city après workout?
R: Bonberi Mart in West Village near my house for an order of "drink the sun" - it's my favourite green juice.
In 2012 you (Robyn) went to Bali getting certified as a yoga trainer. Tell us about that experience and how it led you to creating Live The Process?
R: I began my own health journey in my late 20s and yoga and movement were part of that. I took my first class when I was in the eighth grade, age 13. I had done gymnastics and dance so it kind of felt natural to me, but the concept of breathing and understanding how that worked was something I embraced later.
I was working in a very intense job and travelled every month - I wanted to make a change and do something in wellness, but what did that even mean in 2012? Eventually, I left my job to go to Bali with a friend for a yoga training program. While packing, I realised there was no yoga-approved clothing that I wanted to wear. I was a dancer and gymnast for half of my life and I missed the novelty of bodysuits and leotards. I thought "wow no one is making high-waisted leggings". It all evolved from there.
Is travel a source of inspiration?
R: Yes, travel has always been a source of inspiration. Before starting Live The Process I travelled all of the time for work and extended my stays for a little vacation.
Three destinations on your travel wish list…
R: Sri Lanka, South Africa and New Zealand.
Tips for working out when you travel…
R: Online workouts, a travel yoga mat and Bala Bangles weights.
What have been some of the greatest challenges in launching and running Live The Process?
R: I had a full-time job up until March and Live The Process was my "passion project", hence there was always a lot of moving parts and work to do in general. When I think about it, I honestly don't know how I managed. Being self-funded has had its positives, but the negative is that you're always hustling and trying to make things happen. It can be a bit stressful as a lot relies on you personally.
How do you see the business of wellness evolving in 2021 and beyond?
R: Health is the most important thing - without that there is nothing. I think it will continue to grow exponentially. The concept of wellness has already been highly commercialised. I started on my own path of wanting to feel a certain way and approach my life differently 15 years ago. People used to think I was strange and weird the things I would do, but now they have become mainstream.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
R: Slow and steady. You don't need to be on top, just consistent with good intentions and authenticity.
Shop your own line. What are three of your favourite pieces?
As a leisure label, how do you stay relevant in a saturated market?
R: We are always reinventing. Thankfully we have no lack of creativity. We are active at our core, but not sporty. Our aesthetic has always been what differentiated the brand. A few years ago, we added knitwear that can be layered in with our active items - that has further defined the direction of the brand and we are constantly evolving. It's a process.
What are you reading right now?
R: I am reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle (again). It was really helpful the first time.
What's next for Live the Process?
R: We will be relaunching our website and moving into other categories next year. I feel in some ways that we're just getting started.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?
R: Bodysuits, leggings, knits to layer, jeans, a dress, beauty products… but I try to be edited and not bring too much. That said, my must-pack beauty items include LINNÉ face wash, a Tracie Martyn face mask, Avon's Green Goddess face oil and Nécessaire body lotion. Then it's books, my journal and incense or a candle for the hotel room.
J: Simplicity - always have a uniform.