Tonic for the Eco-conscious Yogi

It's time to break out of the lululemon bind. 

Always bumping into other yogis wearing the same lululemon clothes? Vancouver-made yoga wear label Tonic offers a chic, eco-friendly alternative


In the book Vancouver Special, by writer Charles Demers, stand-up comic Alicia Tobin is darkly critical about the female Vancouverite uniform: “I think women in Vancouver should try to embrace individual style a little bit more, because when the big one (earthquake) hits, and it will be any day now, it’s going to be very difficult finding our loved ones if everyone is still wearing lululemon…”


Practicing Connections: Karma Yoga Fundraiser

Saturday, January 15, 2011

10:30 a.m.–7 p.m.


Tonic Lifestyle Apparel invites you to a fundraiser event featuring five different workshops led by some of Vancouver’s most popular yoga instructors and health practitioners.


Suggested donation is $10 per workshop. All proceeds will be donated to the Covenant House to aid at-risk youth. More info >

Well the verdict’s been out for a while, lululemon definitely put Vancouver on the global yoga and lifestyle clothing map, but if you’re looking to stand out amidst all that toned yogic ubiquity, Vancouver does offer a few other sartorial choices.


In recent years, the locally designed and manufactured label Tonic has begun to hone its yoga, athletic and lifestyle—read, lounge-y—designs.


“’Unfussy, clean and simple’ is how we describe ourselves,” says Tonic’s Aleksa Havelar. I would also add stylish and feminine to that list.


The company releases six clothing collections a year, and each is meant to work with basics from the previous season. In early 2009, Tonic launched its first eco collection with a bamboo and organic cotton blend. Since then, they’ve added new fabrics, a soft, tactile bamboo fabric; and also some men’s eco-yoga wear.


Tonic yoga apparel for women is designed in Vancouver

Tonic Lifestyle Apparel


Available online and at various locations in the Vancouver and across BC.


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Such continued commitment to sourcing sustainable fabrics is something I consider quintessential to a yoga clothing brand. After all, shouldn’t yoga be synonymous with sustainability? Sustainability to me is interchangeable with the idea of union or interconnection that we often give lip service to in yoga practice and philosophy, while forgetting how it relates to “real life,” or, to quote the now clichéd statement often referred to by US-based yogini Seane Corne, “our yoga practice off the mat.”


Rave reviews by tennis star Martina Hingis and yoga instructor Christine Price Clark

Vancouver yoga teacher Christine Price Clark is a fan. “I love that Tonic is made in Canada and I also think the people who work there are some of the warmest I have met. They embody kindness, creativity and integrity.”


A new mom, Clark was thrilled that Tonic served her during her entire pregnancy.

“They still fit perfectly, even though they were stretched to the max.”


She practices mostly in long, skinny leggings from Tonic’s Eco line and appreciates Tonic’s colour selections, particularly the grays and the bamboo pieces that “are so soft and comfortable” and “dresses that are great for before and after yoga.”


Tonic yoga apparel for women is designed in Vancouver


Look out for Tonic’s Spring 2011 line, which features more of their chic, unfussy designs. Tennis star Martina Hingis is a fan. She wore Tonic’s eco après yoga/tennis dress at the US open earlier this year.


What’s next for Tonic then? Designing more tennis wear?


“Possibly,” smiles Aleksa Havelar.