An Interview with Charli Cohen

As someone that plays basketball and also blogs about fashion – I know that fashion and sport can sometimes be seen as opposite industries. What inspired you to combine fashion and sport as one?

For a long time, I saw them as two very separate industries as well. I decided at a young age that I wanted to be a fashion designer and then during my mid-teens, I became very interested in the fitness industry as well. I knew I had to find a way to pursue both, so I began my fashion degree and personal training qualifications at the same time. About a year into this, I had my epiphany and realised the logical way to combine both my passions was to specialise in sportswear. Stylish activewear is still a fairly new concept and relative to the rest of the fashion industry, there’s a huge gap in the market – a lot of the premium fashion retailers and big established brands are realising this and starting to integrate ‘lifestyle’ and ‘wellbeing’ concepts into their businesses. Launching my own label at the start of this movement is really exciting!

Your collection is really unique for gym wear. Do you see your collection as something that can be worn during exercise or in one’s spare time?

Both! All the garments are optimised for performance and have been thoroughly tried and tested – but it’s also important to me that each design is suitably stylish to wear for leisure as well. It’s great to hear this from you as a question, as it indicates that I’ve achieved the combination of fashion and function that I set out to!

Take a look at some of Charli’s Collection below (Photo Credits – Tom Laurance http://tomlaurance.squarespace.com ):

I noticed that your collection uses geometric cuts and bold colours – would you say that you have developed these as motifs for your collection. Or do you think your motif, if any, is something else?

Definitely – clean lines and colour blocking are both key to my aesthetic, so these will continue to appear throughout my future collections.

When you’re not designing, I know you are a personal trainer. During this time of year, many have a goal of getting fit. What do you advise to ensure that they stick to their plans?

Set realistic, achievable goals and importantly: Write These Down. Break everything up into small steps: work back from your ultimate goal into smaller monthly goals and weekly goals. This prevents you from getting overwhelmed, making it far easier to keep focused and stay on track. There’s also a great deal to be said for accountability: buddy up with a friend, start blogging about your progress or join an online forum or support group. Finally, don’t put unrealistic expectations on yourself – you’re only human and it’s unlikely going to stick to a 100% perfect diet and training regimen day-in, day-out for the rest of your life. Don’t let a slip discourage you and don’t try to compensate for it by overtraining or under-eating – get straight back to the plan and remember it’s consistency that gets results: if you’re on track 90% of the time, don’t stress about the other 10%.

Although, I love my exercise… I seem to love food too! What diet do you recommend for people exercising. For weight loss? For weight gain?

I also love food, which is why I promote balanced ‘lifestyle’ eating rather than rigid diets. Whether your goal is weight loss, weight gain or sports performance, the first thing to focus on is meeting protein, healthy fat and fibre requirements. After that, it’s about the overall calorie needs to meet your goals: weight loss requires fewer calories, so by default, you end up eating fewer carbs after meeting protein/fat/fibre minimums. With sports performance and weight gain, you need to consume more calories, so adding quality, wholegrain and starchy carbs to each meal helps with that. And importantly, whatever your goal, there’s always room to include the odd treat and still meet your optimum nutrition requirements! I’m addicted to dark chocolate, so whatever body goal I’m working towards, I ensure that I can squeeze in a couple of squares every day. If anyone would like to read more about calculating calorie needs and minimum requirements, I have a detailed article on it here: http://charli-cohen.com/calorie-calculator

Spirituality seems to play a large role in the fitness and well being side of things. What are your thoughts on this?

I think of spiritual wellbeing as being in tune with oneself. Recognising and understanding the body’s needs is incredibly important. We all function differently, so listening to our own bodies is key to getting the best out of our training and nutrition efforts – no generic book or fad diet is going to be perfectly suited to your individual needs.

What are your fashion and exercise resolutions for the year, if any?

A long time ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to not make New Year’s resolutions – I set new goals all year round! – but 2013 marks the start of an exciting new phase in my life, so if anything, I’m resolving to keep pushing forward and working hard, to not get discouraged by the inevitable setbacks along the way, and to take on board all the great advice I’m receiving, but ultimately listen to my own gut feelings.

What are the future plans for your sport and fashion business… is there anything exciting you are looking forward too?

This Autumn, I’ll be launching my first collection under the Charli Cohen brand – Lycra are sponsoring me with some amazing performance fabrics, which is really exciting.  I can’t wait to watch my drawings transform into the finished product and to see people actually wearing my designs!

Where can people find you if they want to find out more about what you do? 

My website is charli-cohen.com, Twitter: @trainwithcharli and Facebook: facebook.com/CharliCohenOfficial. I always respond to questions, so should any of your readers have fitness, diet or activewear queries they’d like to run by me, they’re welcome to drop me a line!

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Charli Cohen

Achieving her Fashion BA in 2012 at Kingston University London, sportswear designer and personal trainer, Charli Cohen, has already made a splash with her graduate collection. A finalist for numerous awards including the prestigious Lycra Future Designers Award at the WGSN Global Fashion Awards, the Gold and Womenswear Awards at Graduate Fashion Week and the Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award. The Wiltshire-born designer is now developing the first commercial collection for her eponymous activewear label, Charli Cohen. Snapped up by a high profile Italian sportswear company immediately after graduating, Charli also works as a freelance fashion designer in addition to her own endeavours.

Pursuing ventures in both the fashion and fitness industries from a young aga and adamant that she would continue both her passions simultaneously, charli qualifies as a personal trainer alongside her degree. using her background in sports science to create ergonomic, high performance sportswear, the fashion designer in her refuses to sacrifice style for function, resulting in garments that not only feel great to train in, but look great too! the young designer also demonstrates concern for the future, using eco-frinedly fabrics, sustainable production processes and insisting on UK-based manufacture

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1 Comment

  1. January 15, 2013 / 1:51 pm

    Look at that Charli, a Jane of all trades if there ever was one! I am drooling over those hooded styles….

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