Tully Lou was just 14 years old when she was diagnosed with anorexia. Searching for solace, the Melbourne native turned to yoga to help her with her recovery. But even with her medical condition, Tully stayed keenly aware of herself and her surroundings. Spending hours in shalas, she studied those around her and, subconsciously, what they wore. This was in 2011 when activewear wasn’t a “thing” and people frequented gyms in baggy, sometimes holey and often ratty clothes. Then she had an idea.
Two years later, that idea resulted in the launch of her own luxury activewear brand, Tully Lou. It’d been a journey — and a very personal one at that — by then, so it felt natural for her to give her name to her enterprise. From the outset, Tully wanted her designs to be different. Introducing piping and colour-blocking to the table set her brand apart, making it easy for girls to spot her pieces and tell their friends about it. Word spread. And now, five years later, Tully Lou is a cult activewear label that the fashionably active have embraced.
With so many activewear brands in the market these days slapping on buzzwords like “luxury”, “fashion-forward” and “day to night” on their marketing campaigns and glitzy press boxes, it’s become harder to determine the ones which are truly functional and made with quality materials versus the ones that are simply not. Tully Lou, on the other hand, sends all their pieces through quality control checks at least four times before they are shipped out. Her designs remain distinctive, like her jumpers that feature an oversized silhouette for breathability and comfort; and tank tops that bear the brand’s signature mesh for maximum ventilation.
Today, Tully is the creative director and designer of her own company. She also became a full-fledged yoga instructor. How’s that for being an empowered woman?
Where did the name “Tully Lou” come from?
My first name is Tully and my middle name is Louise so I created the label name, Tully Lou. I always wanted the brand to be a little more personal so I loved the idea of using my name.
How has the luxury activewear industry evolved since you started Tully Lou in 2013?
I think it’s definitely become more of a lifestyle, which is amazing! You can incorporate activewear with high-end sneakers and a luxury bag. It’s become acceptable and cool now to wear activewear.
What is the quality criteria for each piece that Tully Lou sells?
That all our leggings are squat-proof! I work out often so I see a lot of leggings that are see-through and it truly blows my mind. This should be one of the things that designers and the people in charge of quality control should think of. No one loves being able to see your thong through your pants right!? We have all our items go through our quality control four times before being shipped out to us or the customer.
What is your fitness regime, and how do you motivate yourself to work out on days when you just don’t feel like it?
I work out about six to seven days a week. Sounds a little crazy, I know! However, I am a better person when I move my body — even if one of those days is a light walk or yoga. I am more motivated, get more work done and generally have a lot more patience. My work out time is kind of like my meditation. So the feelings after a workout is my motivation.
“The quality criteria for each piece that Tully Lou sells is that all our leggings are squat-proof! I work out often so I see a lot of leggings that are see-through and it truly blows my mind.”
As a Melbourne native, which yoga and Pilates studios would you recommend for a unique work out experience?
For yoga, I love Yoga 8 in Prahran. They have all types of yoga styles which I love. For Pilates, I would say K-Kore in Bay Street Port Melbourne. This is my locale and I am so obsessed with Lagree. I find it a lot more challenging than reformer Pilates and it always leaves me super shaky and sweaty.
What are your favourite beauty, health and wellness stores in Melbourne?
I love going to The Skin Boutique in Elwood to get all my facial treatments. The girls there are so good and experienced and always know what my skin needs. I also love going to Elk & Me in Thornberry to get all my acupuncture and cupping. It’s a beautiful wellness space.
Besides Tully Lou, what are your favourite activewear brands, and why?
I am probably more inclined to say brands that I look up to are like Alexander Wang, Stella McCartney and Off-White. These are more street style brands that I love to wear and take inspiration from.
What is your current go-to piece for working out?
The Shinjuku Crop
What is your daily skincare routine and some of your favourite products?
I always make sure I cleanse, apply serum and moisturise every morning and night. I have always been pretty strict with my skincare regime as my mum taught me at a very young age to always look after my skin, so I started to cleanse when I was about 12 years old. I also massage my face with a jade roller at night and get facials at least once a month.
We have wanted to partner up with a charity and give back for some time now. It was always a challenge trying to find the right company or charity to align with, and one that we knew the money was actually going to the cause. i=Change approached us and we instantly knew that they were serious and passionate about what they were doing.
Basically what happens is we select three charities we are passionate about and when you place an order with us, Tully Lou will donate $1 on your behalf. All you need to do is select one of the three charities that you connect with. You also have the opportunity to add more than $1 from your own account. It’s just a nice little gift from us for shopping with Tully Lou and while you are shopping, you are also giving back.
“I am a better person when I move my body — even if one of those days is a light walk or yoga. I am more motivated, get more work done and generally have a lot more patience.”
What is your idea of conscious living?
I think being mindful and having the ability to be fully present. How I achieve this is by spending at least 10 to 20 minutes a day meditating, listening better to others when they speak and just being fully aware of what’s going on around me. Instead of always living on auto, try paying attention with kindness and compassion to the daily choices you make.
Images courtesy of Tully Lou