Have y'all heard of Kayla Itsines and her bikini body guides? She's like an Instagram sensation and the before and after photos her guide users post are enough to convince me that I need to to be kicking my ass (which is NOT bikini ready) into gear. I love Pure Barre - and did it obsessively for about two months - but all the recent travel and wedding stuffs meant that buying a package would end up being a waste of money because I've been away from Dallas too often. Looking forward to getting back into the PB grind soon! But from what I've read about Kayla's workout guides, you can do most everything the first few weeks from home and then need a gym with basic equipment after that. Three days and a week and each workout takes less than 30 minutes. I'm *this* close to getting the 12 week guide because I'm so inspired by the results Kayla shares on her Insta.
So even though I'm not in my ideal shape (or in a Bikini Body state), that doesn't keep me from wearing yoga and workout gear on the reg. And I easily appreciate good "sport" design. When I came across PARK and their "luxury accessories for the sporting life" designed by Anne Marie Olson I realized just how un-athletic I am. Items made specifically for tennis, golf, ski, and equestrian enthusiasts can make any athletically challenge girl feel a little intimidated but I loved the selection of lady stuff with bags, totes, and a cool backpack. But out of everything, I fell in love with the Sudbury Gym Bag.
You can read more about Anne Marie – a former accessory designer for Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole – and PARK here, but I think the quality of the pieces speak pretty well through the site and some of the photos I was able to snap of my Sudbury the other day. I was so inspired by the designer and her background, I reached out to ask Anne Marie a few questions about the bag I now love to use and carry and what makes it so special…I also snuck in a few questions about the PARK line and how it all came to be. Hope you enjoy the Q+A as much as I do!
Q: What inspired you as you designed the Sudbury gym bag?
A: Yoga Mats specifically. Everywhere I looked yoga mats were sticking out of ill-fitting bags or simply being carried under arms and just looked awkward. Not chic at all. I wanted to to design something that was completely functional, effortless and looked designed specifically for the task but didn’t alienate people who don’t do yoga. The barrel shape of the bag mirrors the shape of a yoga mat but always looks great on its own. I remember seeing a beautiful barrel shape bag in the Men’s YSL collection years ago and always thought it looked very sophisticated.
Q: What makes a PARK gym bag stand out from the crowd?
A: The Italian coated canvas – hands down. We use the same mill as Louis Vuitton. However, the details are what really bring it all together and make it luxury. The vachetta leather trim, plaid lined pockets, leather luggage tag, extra thick ribbed detachable carrying strap with leather shoulder pad and our crest shaped rivets are all signature to PARK and set it apart from other brands.
Q: Any cool features in the bag?
A: Yes, there is an interior detachable nylon pouch in our signature plaid with crest shape rivet snaps that you can use for sundries, keys, cell, etc and take it with you if you don’t want to bring your whole bag. Also, the leather exterior straps for the yoga mat are completely removable and the way they are designed to attach to the bag becomes almost invisible so you would never know that they were there.
Q: How do you, the designer, use the bag? What sports/activities is it most useful for?
A: I personally use it as my ‘swim’ bag. I am an avid swimmer and I use the interior nylon pouch to put my wet suit in afterwards. It is really great for all sports and just as a chic duffel in general.
Q: What do you carry in your Sudbury Gym bag?
A: A towel (of course) which I receive every year I participate in the Swim Across America for cancer race, TYR goggles, speedo crossback bathing suit and swim cap, shampoo, cream, etc…
Q: Which color Sudbury gym bag do you have?
A: Black with tan trim.
Q: When did you have the urge to start designing your own line and what inspired you?
A: Twelve years ago I was packing for a ski trip to Banff in Canada and my ski boot bag was completely finished. I began looking for a replacement when I all I could ever find was over logo-ed cheap ballistic nylon bags. Being an fashion accessory designer I wanted something much more elevated and aesthetically pleasing.
Q: How was the experience of designing your own line different than designing for a big brand?
A: The freedom and authority to get things done. I can make decisions and get projects accomplished in at least an eighth of the time. There are not all of these channels of approval I have to go through which more often than not would end a project completely as we would miss the window.
Q: What is your favorite PARK accessory?
A: The Remi Lake Backpack. I use it every single day working in New York. It holds my laptop, portfolio, wallet, street shoes and tons of room for impromptu purchases which is often the case walking down Madison Avenue. It looks polished even with my Prada suits. I own one in every color depending on what I am wearing that day.