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Vivienne Tam Teams Up with Li Ning for Fashion Yoga

The designer has extended her passion for yoga into a new activewear business.

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NEW YORK — Vivienne Tam has extended her passion for yoga into a new activewear business.

This story first appeared in the September 12, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Joining forces with Chinese athletic brand owner and Olympic gold medalist Li Ning, Tam will launch a fashion yoga collection for spring 2012.

“I’ve been practicing yoga since the early Nineties, as it provides me with a sense of peace and focus,” said Tam. “With my crazy schedule, regularly flying back and forth from Hong Kong to the U.S., yoga has been the one thing that not only keeps me focused, but provides me with a sense of peace and better energy.”

What has frustrated her over the years was that she couldn’t find athletic apparel in fashionable styles and colors that she could wear to the yoga studio and then to the office. “Because of this, I decided to create a fashion yoga collection,” said Tam. The line is based at her showroom at 260 West 39th Street here.

The 20-piece collection, made of organic cottons and Lycra spandex, runs the gamut from shorts, tops, pants and sweatshirts to blazers, catsuits, shoes, towels, mats and bags. Colors include green, hot pink, purple, orange and aqua. Most of the tops have built-in bras, and the fabrics have such qualities as moisture-wicking, anti-bacterial, UV protection and deodorization. The apparel line will wholesale from $36 to $120, while the bags range from $100 to $150. The line is designed with all body shapes in mind. Tam will offer a spring collection and a fall line, updating the designs, prints, patterns and colors each season.

Tam said she first met Li Ning during the Eastern Asian Games in Hong Kong, where his company was doing all the production for the uniforms worn by the torchbearers, official staff, referees and volunteers at the event. They asked Vivienne Tam to design all the apparel.

Li Ning, based in Beijing, manufactures footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for sports and leisure activities under the Li Ning brand.

The yoga collection will be presented during fashion week in the form of a “live sculpture garden” on Tuesday at the Barclays Capital Grove in Lincoln Center. During the presentation, 20 leading female yogis, dressed head-to-toe in Tam’s new line, will perform choreographed yoga led by international yoga experts Rodney Yee and Colleen Yee.

The collection’s logo is the “om” symbol made up of expanding layers to represent the ripples of sound, an ancient symbol of harmony between universe and life.

The line will be carried in 133 select Li Ning stores in China. The company is also in discussions with department stores to have one store launch it exclusively. Tam said the line will be carried at her own boutiques in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and New York.

Beginning in February, Tam plans to host yoga classes at her 40 Mercer Street store. Tam also has a deal with Monster Cable for iSport headphones which will be donned by the yogis. Tam’s yoga collection will also be carried on her Web site beginning in February.

Tam said she expects the yoga line to generate sales of about $2 million in the first year.

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