At first blush, you might think this concept sounds crazy: Yoga pants specifically made to carry a weapon? Who would need those -- heck, who’s even thinking about a gun? -- when yoga’s typically all about finding your inner zen?
Well, there’s actually a good answer here. And before you scoff at the idea, keep in mind that the creators of these pants are selling out about as fast as they receive their inventory. Demand is through the roof, especially after a well-known political commentator posted a photo of herself in the yoga-type leggings on Instagram in early 2018.
Yes, we’re referring to Tomi Lahren, formerly of TheBlaze, who now works as a contributor for Fox. But we’ll get back to her. Let’s start with Amy Robbins, the 35-year-old co-creator of Alexo Athletica who is the brains behind the operation, alongside her husband.
Robbins, who lives in Dallas, mentioned pretty early on in our phone call a truth about athletic wear: It might be called that, or even “activewear,” but it’s not just for gym-goers anymore. It seems like everywhere you turn, you see leggings. There are thin ones for the summertime and thicker pairs for people who live in places where it gets extra cold. They’re an important part of the new-mom uniform, a staple for college students and they’re easy to throw on fast if you're headed out the door for errands. Women love to love them. One of the best-selling pairs from Lululemon, the Wunder-Unders, fly off the shelves, despite the fact that they cost $98.
Of course, Lululemon boasts a cult-like following and is known for its quality. It’s not as if all leggings are nearly $100 a pair. But it’s safe to say, Lululemon sets the gold standard. And it was Robbins who brought up the point: Leggings and yoga pants (the words are pretty interchangeable in this instance) are no longer just for yoga studios. They’re for everyone, and they seem to be popping up everywhere. For a higher-end brand, people will pay.
It was around 2014-15 when Robbins was training for a marathon. She wanted to be able to run during the wee hours, seeing as she already had a very demanding schedule, and that’s when she realized -- even with a license to carry, which she obtained around that same time frame, it doesn’t do much good if you don’t have comfortable, functional apparel. If Robbins would feel more comfortable carrying a gun on a late-night run, she thought, what’s it all worth if you can’t safely store it on your body?
“(And) there was nothing cute enough,” Robbins said, referring to the apparel on the market. “I lived in Lululemon, but there was nothing the firearm world or the athletic world offered — or nothing that was functional enough.”
Robbins had only recently started thinking a lot about guns in terms of self-defense. She admits, before she started training for the marathon, she had a different idea about firearms. Sure, she’d grown up in Texas with a dad who enjoyed hunting, but didn’t see the matter like she does now.
“(Previously), I thought people who carried guns were just paranoid,” she said.
But that all shifted. Just more than five years ago, while hosting a show on NRA TV, she received what she called some of her best gun training.
“I can remember the feeling of knowing I could pick up any gun and operate it safely and effectively,” she said. “It was one of the most confidence-boosting things in my life. It was a really good feeling to (know I could) protect myself.”
So it was all coming full-circle. The firearm passion, the interest in fashion, the need for more options while out training: She decided to dive in and create a product that would help women carry more safely and effectively.
Robbins has worked in the fashion and entertainment industry since college — doing gigs such as TV hosting, modeling and writing, to name a few. She said she loves fashion, but didn’t have a background in fashion design or anything like that. But she knew what she liked.
“I know women,” she said with a laugh. “Women want pants that will suck it all in, smooth it out (and) make your butt look good.”
This activewear, by the way, which gets a lot of attention for the gun-holstered yoga pants but makes a variety of clothing items, isn’t just for gun-holders. Let’s say you’re on a college campus, where oftentimes, even with a license, you can’t carry. But if you wanted to keep pepper spray on your body, the leggings would be just as effective.
“It still sounds better than having to dig around in a purse or a backpack,” Robbins said.
She added, “People hear (the word) ‘carry’ and think of carrying a gun. But we wanted to make the word more inclusive to whatever a woman wants to carry. That’s what builds (someone’s) confidence. We want to make sure women know we support their right to defend themselves, however they want.”
The pants are known for their multifunctional pockets -- and a reinforced waistband, meaning they won’t fall down and you won’t have to keep tugging at them. There’s space for you to tuck a form of identification or even a credit card, and trigger-guard protection, so anyone who’s carrying a gun doesn’t have to worry about protecting the trigger. This prevents it from discharging.
There are seven different places to store belongings in the waistband, and two more on the sides. The goal is keeping your essentials on your body, as close to you as you can, Robbins said.
The company started with pre-orders “just to test the market -- and then we sold out of our first batch,” she told us.
Alexo Athletica has been insanely popular ever since. Lahren’s social media shoutout certainly helped when it came to visibility for a young company. Robbins mentioned she knows Lahren personally, but had no idea she was planning on putting up the Instagram post.
The brand is an online-only retailer, meaning you can't buy the apparel in stores. At this time, there are no plans for a similar line of men’s products, but Robbins said it’s not out of the question, down the line.
Graham Media Group 2019