Fashion Features

Koral: Ilana Kugel Brings Sophistication to Activewear

Photo Courtesy - Gabriel Sweet

Chances are high that you’ve seen your favorite celebrity donning the designs of Brazilian-born Ilana Kugel in the past few years. Her pieces have been worn by Hailey Beiber, Halle Berry and Jennifer Lopez on and off the big screen, just to name a few. She revolutionized the athleisure industry with her innovative fabrics and designs, highlighting both functionality and fashion in a way seldom achieved by others.

An entrepreneur, designer and athlete in her own right, Kugel began her fashion journey at a young age. Influenced by her family’s history in the fashion industry, she inherited an interest and passion for creativity early on. Inspiration for her own line struck while living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. While working in the city during the week and spending weekends at the beach, she began to design pieces that both complemented her own lifestyle and filled a void in the vast fashion market.

Upon moving to Los Angeles, Kugel began to create fashion-forward, premium activewear pieces and sophisticated swimsuit styles — and thus, Koral was born.

Launched in 2014, Koral debuted with a stellar collection of premium activewear in sophisticated hues and figure flattering silhouettes. The collection was created for high performance activity without sacrificing style or quality; the brand is an elevated, luxury activewear brand for the trendsetter.

“I wanted to make women feel powerful by making them feel good about themselves,” said Kugel. “Clothing that you wear gives you that excitement and makes you feel sexy. Sexy and fashionable with quality performance that also doesn’t cut corners. Koral is about functionality, quality, performance and fashion.”

Kugel takes a design-with-purpose approach to each Koral collection. She creates contemporary styles for the season, including sports bras, tanks, jackets, pants and the brand’s iconic jumpsuits that pioneered the ever-present athleisure trend. Her industry-standard-setting work allowed Kugel to be inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2019.

As good for the planet as they are for your closet, each Koral item is made with high-quality fabrics, echoing the notion that living an active, healthy lifestyle is just as much about our bodies as it is about our community and our planet. The brand’s Koral Infinity and Koral fabrics use 53% less electricity, 29% less natural gas and 71% less water than its competitors, and its Koral Blackout fabric is made to last — but just in case, know that you can edit your closet guilt-free since this fabric won’t clog the landfills! Koral Blackout fabric is made up of a biodegradable polyamide yarn technology, meaning it will decompose within three years instead of the 10-plus years that it takes other garments to do so.

Koral customers care just as much about the planet as they do about their style, education, families and ambitions. They spend their time working out, traveling and they know that wellness is not just skin deep.

“[The Koral girl] is adaptable and multifaceted. [She] loves all types of different workouts. Our clothing is versatile and can work for women in all cities from London to New York City to Los Angeles,” said Kugel.

Much like the quintessential Koral girl, Kugel spends her time traveling to garner inspiration from the very cities she visits. Sourcing the finest technical fabrics from around the world, Kugel then designs fashion-forward pieces with an international air: luxurious, effortless, long-lasting. She believes deeply in curating a community of like-minded tastemakers who share in the Koral mantra: “In a world where you can be anything, be unstoppable.”

When she couldn’t travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she drew inspiration from what was around her. “My inspiration became more localized within the SoCal lifestyle. From the beach to the mountains to the desert,” said Kugel.

During the pandemic, Kugel also says that she missed in-person meetings and trade shows, being able to feel the fabrics for consideration and creation. “Being Brazilian, I also just love seeing people. But we pivoted and adjusted. As a triathlete, being home [and] not being able to go to the gym was also a challenge. Working from home pivoted the company, where we introduced at-home Wednesday workouts. Adapting to everyone working from home was an experience for us,” Kugel said.

Though confidential, Koral has quite a few collaborations lined up for 2022 and 2023, further solidifying the brand as a leader and trailblazer in the fashion industry. Connecting with like-minded brands allows Koral to continue to grow and for Kugel to flex her creativity for a larger audience.

Koral doesn’t believe in chasing fast fashion trends. Instead, the brand embraces individuality, encourages creativity and creates the highest quality performance fashion to compliment an active lifestyle. As Kugel says regarding her career and her success, “Anything is possible.”

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