Weeks ago, I was bopping around The Shop at Equinox in SoHo. A selection of vibrant, bright tops and shiny, texture-y tights caught my eye. Amidst familiar garments of activewear giants like Nike, Lululemon and Puma, this kicky little brand, Electric Yoga, had something more that ignited my yoga-fashion-love: neon!!! Lightning bolts!!! And seamless, compression-style high-waisted tights!!! This is not your typical yoga fare. EY has total studio-to-street appeal. So L.A. So amaze.
Michele Bohbot, creator and designer, was nice enough to chat with me for a minute about her inspirations, values, family, and one totally relatable secret desire.
SARA: Quick! Off the top of your head, list your top four favorite things of today.
MICHELE: Vitamins with kiwi, brown rice cereal, chocolate biscotti, and green tea.
S: Prior to founding Electric Yoga, you were a fashion designer. Was there a “lightbulb moment” when you knew you wanted to design yoga clothing?
M: The past few years I’ve had lots of moments when I thought of actually doing an activewear line. I remember I had been working on developing this brand for about 12 months. It was December 2011; I had finished a hot yoga class at Hot 8 Yoga in Santa Monica. I was so inspired by the class and the girls in the class that I just knew I was doing the right thing by venturing out on my own and creating Electric Yoga.
S: Sounds like hot yoga is your current preferred yoga practice. What about it speaks to you?
M: I love the deep stretch and focus that the body undergoes when practicing in medium to hot temperatures. The past few years I’ve realized that there is a need for structured and engineered clothing that caters specifically to hot yoga classes. There’s already activewear available that integrates CoolMax and Dri-FIT fabrics. What I found is that these specific garments are great for running and cross-training, because the breathability is at a maximum level when you are in motion; however, often the fit and the bodies are not as conducive to hot yoga.
S: And the styles are not nearly as cute! So this need obviously influenced your fabric and design for Electric Yoga.
M: The comfort, functionality, and aesthetic of the piece are my main concern. It took months of my time researching fabric yarns, different compressions, and body styles when I came up with my special patented ELOY wicking fabrication for Electric Yoga. The most fundamental and IMPORTANT difference between my ELOY fabrication and the CoolMax and Dri-FIT fabrics is that the yarn allows the body to be free and nimble with specified compression at certain areas of the body. Instead of my garments holding on to the perspiration, it is immediately evaporated into the air.
S: What’s been your greatest achievement, professionally and personally?
M: My family is my greatest accomplishment. My seven children and my husband are the biggest blessings. I feel very accomplished by my ability to create meaningful brands such as Bisou Bisou and xoxo for the everyday woman. I am excited to see where we progress from here with Electric Yoga.
S: You’ve been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and have traveled the world, learning many different styles and many masters, from Iyengar to Ashtanga, Anusara to Bikram. What, if any, is the universal lesson that spans all traditions of yoga?
M: Stay present and true to your own practice and journey, whatever level you may be.
S: Based on Electric Yoga’s offerings, you clearly dig bright, dazzling colors! What’s your favorite?
M: I don’t like to say that I am partial to any one color. However, I truly believe in empowering women, and the empowerment color is PINK. With cancer awareness, PINK is the focal point. I feel that it is so feminine and holds a lot feminine power and energy! You’ll see that in my line, I always carry that color.
S: Who most inspires you?
M: Everyone has a story. The beauty of life is the story of resilience. Right now I am so inspired by the story of Somaly Mam. I committed my monthly classes to her foundation, in the hopes to abolish sex trafficking and raise funds for sex-enslaved women in Cambodia and raise worldwide awareness. I got her book, The Road of Lost Innocence, and I was immediately enthralled. I work with the Yoga Freedom Project as much as I can for her cause. She has such an amazing story to tell, and she has committed her life to something that is a memory of her past, with drive for a brighter future.
S: You’re a whiz in the kitchen and like to share your recipes. What dish are you most excited about right now?
M: I am obsessed with spicy brown rice with tofu! Check it out on my blog. I think I’ve made it for my family three times this week already!
S: What’s something that no one knows about you?
M: I secretly want to be a ninja!
Me too! Thanks so much for sharing, Michele. xx