African prints influence new fitness wear

Rachel Genthe, A&E Editor

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Fitness apparel is not just for the gym. Women have been on the yoga pants train for quite some time and the trend continues to grow.

Fashion icons Kylie Jenner and Kayne West glamorize sportswear. Shoppers look to stylish brands like Lululemon and Nike for well-known logos. But while these brands offer a wide range of options, both are mostly manufactured outside the United States.

Santa Rosa Junior College student Georges Monatin and business partner Yema Kahlif have an answer for trendsetters who want locally-sourced products— a workout clothing line called YEMA LLC. Monatin believes that producing YEMA in the United States keeps product quality high.

Khalif is the founder of YEMA and designs the clothes. He brought Monatin on board to focus on social media and finding brand ambassadors after the two met through a soccer club at Dominican University of California. Khalif has had a long journey to becoming a business owner. He was raised in the Kibera slums of Kenya before making the Bay Area his home

and studying communication and media at Dominican.

“[Khalif] was thinking about workout clothes that interpret more African style and he started sketching,” Monatin said.

Kahlif’s passion for fitness wear came from his love for exercise and fashion and a desire to help people feel empowered. The logo combines the strength of a man and the curves of a woman.

He incorporates African prints by creating colorful combinations: yellow for richness, purple for passion, green for growth and blue for opportunity. A portion of YEMA’s revenue goes to girls in Kenya through a scholarship program called Road to Freedom.

Currently, YEMA has two styles available for women, with more to come. The company recently showcased its fitness attire at the Oakland First Fridays event and hopes to come north to Sonoma County’s active community.

Learn more at www.yemacalif.com.   

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