Meet three Atlantans who are making women’s fitness apparel more accessible

Blue Mood leggings, $72, and sports bra, $49, from Rochelle Porter

Photograph by Ben Rollins

Fit by Ro
Artist Rochelle Porter founded Fit by Ro this spring as an evolution of her popular decor line. The brand features her joyful, bold patterns on fitness apparel. Each order is printed on demand, which is more sustainable and opens up sizing. Leggings, for example, go from size XS to 6X.

Three Atlantans are taking women’s fitness apparel into their own hands and making it more accessible
Rochelle Porter

Photograph by Ben Rollins

“Our prints are vibrant—there’s a type of woman that buys my product. She’s a superhero, running errands, marathons, and empires,” she says. “It’s for someone who values sustainability and wants to look good while doing all the things.” Porter’s positive feedback fuels her. “My designs hug their bodies because I know their bodies. I am my customer.”

Three Atlantans are taking women’s fitness apparel into their own hands and making it more accessible
Donna Burke

Photograph by Ben Rollins

High Street Sporte
Donna Burke and her sister opened Atlanta Activewear, one of the city’s first fitness wear boutiques, 12 years ago. While the store is gone, Burke’s passion for stylish, practical apparel has remained, and grew after she gained weight during the pandemic. “I struggled to find a size-inclusive boutique,” she says. “Most stop at size eight. Many stores don’t stock plus sizes, and a lot of the industry just doesn’t make it.”

She knew that many lines are still designed and helmed by men, partly accounting for the difficult fit of some brands. For example, she says, men might not intuitively know the most comfortable way to construct women’s leggings.

Disheartened but not discouraged, Burke launched High Street Sporte, a mobile pop-up boutique, earlier this year. Currently, she carries brands like Alala, Beach Riot, and IVL. In 2024, she’ll debut her own size-inclusive, fashion-forward line.

Three Atlantans are taking women’s fitness apparel into their own hands and making it more accessible
Jacqueline Dow

Photograph by Ben Rollins

J. Dow Fitness
In her former career as a doctor of public health, Jacqueline Dow focused on maternal and child wellbeing among African American women. That experience inspired her to make an impact not just through policy, but through more on-the-ground change. In 2018, she founded her apparel line, J. Dow Fitness.

“I wanted to talk to women directly about the importance of our health,” she says. “Instead of quoting a fact or a stat, I wanted to explore something more palatable for the average consumer.” Dow’s goal is to give women the confidence to take their fitness seriously. “There’s a direct correlation between what you wear and how confident you feel,” she says. “Ensuring a woman feels beautiful and that her clothes are made for a body type like hers—I hope that inspires a journey to explore what a healthy lifestyle looks like.”

In 2022, Dow participated in Target’s Black Beyond Measure Collection for Black History Month, when her collection—available in sizes XS to 3XL—was featured in 1,200 Target stores nationwide.

This article appears in our June 2023 issue.


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