Get fashionably fit? No sweat
I t wasn't enough for Mstira Weeks to design a line of workout wear.
She had to look the part.
Joining the gym didn't just improve her fitness — sales increased after they started stocking Mstira Selassie, her line of leggings, tracksuits, sweatshirts and T-shirts.
“It's good to invest in things that you love, and I love to wear tights because they hold in my belly,” she laughed.
In one design, the island's silhouette is emblazoned across the legs; the Bermuda flag marks the knees of another.
“I see a lot of Bermuda pride — everyone representing our country,” she said.
“Being an entrepreneur at heart, I saw a niche. There's no one doing a workout line of Bermuda gear.”
Though she regularly wears leggings to run between her two businesses, Mystique's and FryDays, the 36-year-old only started exercising less than two months ago.
“We made the pants so I would look good in them, but when you take those tights off, you've still got to look fit,” she said.
She kept spotting the Beyond Fitness training programme on Instagram. Her husband, Shane Weeks, encouraged her to sign up.
“The first class killed me — for three days,” she said.
“This is my first gym membership. I didn't know anything, but they don't make you feel uncomfortable. I love it. I go two to three times a week and I've never done the same thing.
“Since then, it's gotten easier and easier.”
She designed her gear both for exercise and to wear casually.
“I'll wear them twice a week. They wash really well. I can't wait for the new releases so then I can wear them every day,” she said.
Her husband was involved throughout the design process and encouraged her to give the collection her first and middle names — Mstira Selassie.
She got “really good feedback” after showing her new collection at the City Fashion Festival.
The styles will be available for sale in time for Christmas; a men's line will debut next year.
She said the new tights are an improvement over the original, with a black under-layer that doesn't become transparent as it stretches.
“We thought about the thicker women” said the designer, whose styles run from small to 2X.
“We have redesigned them and made it more flattering for a plus-size woman.”
While she has had no formal training, she believes her love of drawing helped create the designs.
She got her fashion sense from her father, Allan Furbert.
“He used to travel a lot and would always buy us clothes. We were always dressed, out of style, out of season.
“He would say, ‘Wait til next year, everyone will be wearing this', but by then we were on to the next thing.”
Becoming a mother pushed Mrs Weeks to go into business for herself, she said.
“I always wanted to own my own business, but my daughter is what started it,” she said of Trinity, aged six.
“I did it for her, to be able to show her money-management skills, entrepreneur skills. And when she gets older she'll have somewhere to work or a business to take over.”
• Mstira Selassie clothing is available at Mystique's and Beyond Fitness. Instagram: @mstiraselassie