Justine Rouch, Founder and CEO and Rachel Brandrick, Brand Director met over ten years ago working in luxury fashion. Since launching La Pochette as an independent start up in 2019, the brand is now stocked in prestigious retailers, luxury gyms and the most exclusive boutique fitness studios in London.
What inspired you to start La Pochette?
The lightbulb moment came at a post-work Spin class for Justine with the realisation studios now provided towels, toiletries, cleats…everything. All you needed was a pouch for sweaty kit to stow in your handbag or backpack, not a bulky and often garishly coloured gym bag.
After a lengthy search it was clear there wasn’t anything on the market that met requirements for either useful function or beautiful, minimalist style, and La Pochette was born.
How did the initial idea grow into a brand?
We realised that whilst athleisure clothing had been steadily emerging to suit current lifestyles, accessory design had basically stalled in its evolution. The rise of boutique fitness and shorter, class-based workouts meant we now approach our fitness in a far more flexible way. We integrate it into our lives, rather than compartmentalise it as something to be endured one designated evening a week.
A spontaneous lunchtime swim, spin class with friends before brunch or a wind-down post work Yoga session is now much more likely and we wanted to create fitness accessories which allow this transition in our lives to be effortless, keeping spur-of-the-moment opportunities for maintaining our wellbeing as open as possible.
Why was sustainability important to you when developing the collection
Whilst we didn’t set out to be a sustainable brand - rather we believe that every brand has a responsibility to be sustainable these days – it was concerning that no-one seemed to consider the single use plastics issue in gyms, pools and spas. Whilst we use our keep cups, reusable water bottles and bags for life in our everyday, post workout literally millions of us are reaching for a single use plastic bag to stow our sweaty or wet post workout kit on our way home. When we all strive to live in a more sustainable and environmentally responsible way - so why should going to the gym be any different?
Our pouches completely remove the need these single use bags whilst also offering a more practical alternative which wont leak in your bag, allow harmful bacteria to grow or develop unwelcome odours while being stored due to our signature fabric with antimicrobial and deodorising properties.
We are proud to have worked with a host of amazing London boutique fitness studios including Digme and 1Rebel and health clubs such as Third Space in bringing the Sweat Bag and Wet Bag into their gyms as an alternative to their plastic bag dispenser as part of their wider sustainability drive.
Aside from promoting environmentally friendly practices, how sustainable are the products?
We use 30-50 recycled plastic bottles in every metre of our signature fabric, used waste otherwise destined for landfill. The fabric’s ability to limit bacteria growth, deodorise and repel stains also mean they need to be washed less frequently and at lower temperatures to keep them hygienic.
Elsewhere the clear ‘Anywhere Everywhere’ pouch collection is constructed from highly durable biodegradable TPU for long life usage and trimmed with Vegan leather. Three models of the Anywhere Everywhere which are TSA approved, allowing you to use them as cabin approved liquids bags instead of decanting all your belongings into single use plastic bags which are discarded after airport security stations in their millions in every airport in the world. Another hidden single use plastic issue largely ignored…
Tell us about your approach to design?
Our mantra was no compromise went it came to the product design. We didn’t just want to make a kit pouch, it had to be an all-singing-dancing hero. We spent years perfecting our signature fabric so it was anti-microbial to stop bacteria from sweaty kit in its tracks and protect technical fabrics from deterioration, deodorising to trap odours when stored before washing, water resistant, lightweight and stain repellent.
In terms of styling across the range, we wanted to achieve a sophisticated, minimalist look in our designs which was lacking in sports accessories. Block colouring is an enduring design feature, we worked with organic hues and luxurious darker tones for the core collection whilst the Neon collection gives a pop of colour for summer.
Clever little detailing can be found on each and every one of our products; wristlets for doubling up our wet bags as a clutch on the beach or stowing on bike handles, well placed Sweat Bag hanging loops for damp changing room floors and identifier dots on our travel bottles, so you never mix up your shampoo and conditioner again!
What sets La Pochette products apart?
At their essence they are built on intelligent design which allows a massive flexibility of use. For example, the Wet Bags can conceal sopping kit whilst you go onto brunch or otherwise used for porting about valuables on a spa day rather than a bathrobe pocket. The Anywhere Everywhere clear pouch range offers literally anything from tech wire tidy to toiletries bag to beach clutch whilst the Sweat Bag can double up as a laundry bag or packing aid for weekends away.
We love hearing the inventive ways people use their La Pochette; by far the most unusual way our Wet Bags have been used was as an impromptu Ice Bucket!
Follow @Lapochettelife for updates and shop the collection at www.lapochette.co
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