There’s workout clobber and then there’s Steel Monkey. It’s the real thing, and when you don it, you can work up a sweat. The range is designed for the gym, but it looks equally as good when hitting the sidewalk catwalk.
Until now, you had to be in the know to find Steel Monkey. It’s a gem of a brand that’s been pumping its iron under the radar, to great success. But for owner Shawn Killian, the time is now to take the business to the next level.
What is Steel Monkey?
Steel Monkey is a South African brand that specialises in athleisure and workout clothes for men and women. The brand was established in 2009, by founder Steven Carrick, who noticed a need for better workout clothes and decided to jump at the opportunity. He later exited the rag trade and sold to Shawn Killian, who now owns the company.
Killian joined the company, first as an associate, after he needed some custom workout clothing done and discovered Steel Monkey. It was the perfect fit for him and he plans to grow the brand in leaps and bounds.
Every item in the Steel Monkey range is manufactured at the company’s Benoni factory.
Since taking over the brand in March 2022, Killian and his team have worked hard to grow Steel Monkey’s presence in the athletic and gym scenes. The Steel Monkey range is concise, and practical. And there is also a collection of personalised and customised designs that cater to individual needs, rather than mass-producing generic items. This has been a successful strategy for the company, especially given the rise in popularity of athleisure and practical gym clothing in recent years.
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Challenges when creating workout clothes
Killian says one of the biggest challenges in creating workout clothes is ensuring a good fit, and that is one of the most important aspects of athleisure. Comfort under all circumstances.
But athleisure designs are about more than just good looks, too, and pleasing customers in this area of fashion, that demands durability, comfort and confidence can be challenging. Some people prefer tight-fitting outfits, he said, while others want looser options.
Then there are other challenges, too. Chafing and discomfort are serious challenges when it comes to figuring out the perfect workout clobber.
On trend for the treadmill right now is grunge infused workout garb, said Killian. It’s subtle, but the look is there, and it’s not just practical, it’s very sexy with shape and form silhouettes perfectly dramatised and body-enhancing.
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Athleisure wear is trendy
Athleisure is expected to sustain its popularity as every-wear. “People are wearing comfortable workout clothes in their daily lives, whether they’re running errands or grabbing a drink with friends. And it’s not just women who are embracing the trend, men are also getting in on the athleisure game,” says Killian.
He adds that athleisure offers both comfort and versatility. “The clothing is designed to be stretchy, breathable and lightweight, making it ideal for a range of activities from yoga to running errands. Additionally, many athleisure pieces are designed to be stylish and fashionable, with details such as mesh inserts, cut-outs, and prints.
“Its association with a healthy and active lifestyle is attractive. Many people view wearing athletic clothing as a sign of being health-conscious and fit,” Killian adds.
There is also the growing popularity of wellness and self-care, with people placing greater emphasis on taking care of their physical and mental health. The clothing provides a comfortable and stylish way to incorporate or manifest the illusion of physical activity into daily routines.
More to come
Killian says Steel Monkey is in the process of expanding its range and we can expect to see even more innovative designs and new ways of incorporating athletic wear into everyday fashion. And on that note, he believes that the brand is on the verge of making it big.
“Soon we will be right up there with all the big boys.”
For now, Steel Monkey is focusing on expanding its online presence and building on its bricks and mortar retail presence. There is presently a showcase store in Kempton Park with a new store planned for Benoni soon.