By  on June 25, 2008

As a yoga teacher with an MBA from Harvard and apparel sourcing experience, Jamie Hanna sought to ensure that all the pieces were in place when she launched the Zobha yoga line.

Although many fashion players have jumped on the yoga bandwagon, much of the product fails to combine fit, fashion and performance in one package, said Hanna, who launched Zobha — Sanskrit for "grace" — in February, in Mill Valley, Calif.

Fit features include 360-degree shelf bras, extra layers of fabric for support and enough length and coverage to prevent riding up in yoga poses. Performance comes from the blend of preshrunk Supplex and Lycra that wicks moisture and breathes, and from screen-printed labels and flat seams for extra comfort.

For the fashion component, Hanna drew inspiration from classic eveningwear, with Empire waist and scoopneck silhouettes named for Hollywood icons, including "Grace," "Audrey" and "Katharine." A neutral color palette of black and white is augmented with nature-inspired colors that evoke the sea and stone walls of Maine, where Hanna grew up.

With eight tanks, two bras, three bottoms and two layering pieces, the line is priced at wholesale from $28 to $33 and is sold on the company's Web site and at yoga and fitness boutiques, including Equinox, Exhale, Canyon Ranch and Kripalu, with $5 million in first-year volume projected.

After graduating from Harvard in 1998, Hanna worked in merchandising and sourcing for apparel companies including Gap Inc. before taking time off for motherhood, yoga practice and teacher certification, while living in Hong Kong, from 2000 to 2003. The line is produced in Taiwan, with a sourcing office in Hong Kong.

As a yoga teacher, Hanna noted both a lack of variety and a lack of expression of yoga's beauty and grace in the apparel offerings.

"The yoga market is huge, but fragmented, with very few big players," Hanna said. "There are lots of mom-and-pop lines, there's yoga-inspired streetwear, and there are the traditional Nikes and Reeboks, who have just put their toe in it. What's needed is an approach to yoga as more than a trend."

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