Prabha Rathinasabapathy of System of Motion shares her vision for designs that keep up with modern women on the move without compromising on fashion.
What’s the best idea you’ve had on your bike?
To create a line of clothing that was ‘made for movement’. As a busy female professional who loved biking around the city, I was painfully aware that women’s fashion had not evolved to keep up with the way that the modern woman moves – at high speeds, on foot, on bike, from meeting to meeting – that beauty always took priority over comfort. I thought it was time that fashion followed the lead of great product design to combine form and function seamlessly in every piece.
Tell us about what your business does?
We are reinventing women’s wardrobe classics using performance fabrics, with cuts that have better fit. Our first collection is a series of tailored shirts for women, with our own cotton poplin that is quick-dry, odour-free and wrinkle-free. In our pieces, women can be stylish and comfortable at the same time – whether you are on or off the bike.
Why do you do this?
I want to empower the modern woman, to give her products that allow her to achieve her many ambitions in life – in all her roles, professionally and personally. Products that make her life more efficient, that allow her to move more quickly. Products that mean she doesn’t have to think about what she wears, that are effortless yet stylish. And products that make her feel confident, whatever the scenario.
With the business, I want to encourage environmentally sustainable behaviours – like biking or walking in the city, investing in fewer pieces that perform to higher standards, that are more versatile and robust, whose technical properties mean you can ‘wear more, wash less’. I want women to change the way they think about what they wear, to expect more from their clothing, to not settle for ‘fast fashion’.
Above all, I want the women who wear System of Motion to feel like they themselves can be the engines of change and growth; to feel that they too can set a new standard.
How long has this business been running for?
I started developing the concept while on the MBA, in May 2014. I started working on it full-time from June 2015.
What bit of advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t ride the ups and downs. Don’t get emotionally involved. Just observe and accept them for what they are – part of the process. Stay focused on the long-term goal.
We’ve started with womenswear – because I’m a woman! But I would love to expand into menswear, when the time is right…
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