Q & A with Celestine Cheong, Founder of Just FIT Activewear
There is something completely perfect about a rugby player developing an activewear line. These ladies rank up there with the toughest groups of female athletes so they certainly would be able to spot what underwear and fitness pieces really can stand up to sweat and a grueling workout.
Celestine Cheong has been a rugby player for 20 years and currently plays on England’s Touch Rugby team. After years of settling for activewear options that did not fit properly and were just plain ugly, she decided to develop her own line. Just FIT launched in 2017 with the intention to deliver undergarments that can be worn all day and are actually attractive garments you will want to put on.
You’ve read about the technical aspects of her collection. Now, we’re chatting with Celestine to learn what inspired the line and how it developed.
Q & A with Celestine Cheong
What were the main problems you were finding with activewear brands?
Many fitness companies typically use low-grade nylon and other cheaper synthetics in their undergarments and activewear. This results in making you very uncomfortable when working out. The fabric can feel soggy or rough against your skin and can cause abrasions and chafing. Even when brands use terms that claim to manage perspiration, they can sometimes end up using a finishing spray that lasts up to five washes. They also often use a hydrophobic material that fails to mix with water. Your sweat has nowhere else to go but to evaporate from your body.
What inspired you to start your own line?
In 2010, while I was playing on the national Touch Rugby team, we were sponsored by a well-known sports bra brand. The garments we had to wear were supportive but were wholly unattractive. After I started to look into sports underwear brands that ticked all the boxes in terms of fit, quality, versatility, and attractiveness, and there weren’t many around at all. It was evident there was a gap in the market for an underwear brand that could provide a seamless, invisible finish, whilst using technical fabrics to manage perspiration during workouts and last all day.
What was your goal from the start?
I wanted to build longwearing, comfortable garments that are versatile to suit the “performance professional.” These women need intimates to meet her entire daily demands, that are synergistic with her body, do not hold her back, and allow her to do everything she needs to from a hard day in the office straight to a gym class or evening function after.
Your garments are made with the same technology that was developed by NASA. And one of the unique hallmarks of your brand is that the pieces are named after space flights and missions. What gave you the idea to incorporate space materials into your garments?
I knew that phase change materials could help to manage the body’s skin temperature before you even begin to sweat. I applied this knowledge to textiles and it became a part of the brand’s story.
Celestine set her brand apart by meeting scientists to help her produce these sustainable, premium fabrics. You don’t have to be a NASA engineer to understand how they work though.
“Think of it like ice in a drink; it changes from solid to liquid, it absorbs heat and cools the drink, keeping that drink at the desired temperature for longer.” – Celestine Cheong
What was your proudest moment since starting the line?
I have three – being approached by Dragon’s Den (which is a show similar to Shark Tank) to appear and pitch on the show as a budding startup, being approached by British Vogue to consider displaying the range across their platforms, and of course, the heartfelt and genuine reviews from customers about Just FIT making the best underwear to workout in.
Celestine hopes to expand the capsule collection currently in the line and would consider partnerships with other brands where relevant. It is clear that her pieces speak for themselves: they are just the sleek and polished pieces any athlete would want to sweat in.