Sasha Exeter is a long-time runner and friend of iRun. A mother, an athlete, an outspoken voice in the media world, Exeter breaks down barriers and speaks her mind and improves every world she inhabits. When we heard she was launching an affordable running line with gear in all sizes, we wanted to hear from Sasha about her goals, her future plans, and her inspiration.
iRun: For how long have you felt like there was a gap in the market that needed to be filled?
Sasha: I’ve been an athlete my entire life, so I’ve spent many years wearing activewear. That being said, I’ve noticed gaps in the market for as long as I can remember, especially when it comes to size inclusivity and affordability. So when I got a chance to create and co-design a line of my own with Joe Fresh, making pieces that are accessible to a wider demographic was high on my priority list.
iRun: Where did that come from? Do you have any personal experiences with your run gear? Had you heard anecdotally that we had to do more?
Sasha: It came from my online community truthfully. I have listened to their concerns and feedback for so many years since while engaging with them on social media platforms. So many women felt inspired to get up and move, be active and start their wellness journey, which includes running, but SO many felt they held back on their goals because they were unable to find apparel that fit or felt confident in.
iRun: When did the Joe Fresh linkage begin?
Sasha: I have been working with the Joe Fresh team for six years now. It almost sounds crazy to say. That is a really long time in this business. Currently they are my longest brand partner to date and I am so proud of how far we’ve come and what we’ve accomplished together.
iRun: What was essential as you began building out your line?
Sasha: Well, there were several things I thought were essential for me to include in all my co-designed collections. With wanting women to feel confident and comfortable in my pieces, I knew that the right fabrications were going to be critical. Materials that would be moisture wicking and provide support in all the right places, while still allowing for mobility was the goal. But functionality, although very important, it isn’t the only thing that has been a key factor. Making sure the design details on the pieces look great on all sizes of women and making sure that we provide the most quality performing items at an affordable price point.
iRun: We talk affordable, and inclusive size-wise. Do you feel like the major existing sports brands don’t do enough in this market?
Sasha: Oh my gosh – YES, most definitely. Most of the designs in women’s activewear and running apparel don’t take larger sizes and curves into consideration. If you take a look at e-commerce and marketing from many of these major brands, they are geared towards women who look like the models wearing the clothes, which are sample size. Clearly missing the mark and a substantial demographic of women.
iRun: Where do you see yourself fitting in in the world of sportswear and design?
Sasha: I never see myself fitting into anything. I like to say “I stand out” or at least I hope to anyways. I see the collections I co-create with Joe Fresh changing the game of fitness apparel in Canada. Pieces that can perform without compromising style. That look ultra-luxe at the fraction of the price point of the key players in the industry.
iRun: Also: take us up to date with you. Both with you professionally, and personally – how is your running?
Sasha: HA, well things have been real busy both professionally and personally. This year has been a really crazy ride so far and we are only just half way through it. I have spent the bulk of my time working on product development, which has become my favourite part of the job. As for my personal life, I have my hands pretty damn full with the most active, precarious four year old I’ve ever met. Keeping up with her is a workout in itself. After a pretty bad foot injury a couple years ago, which forced me to take a break from running, I finally got back into it last year and was a big part of why I wanted to ensure this summer capsule collection included some pieces to run in this season.
iRun: Now that the brand is launched. Are you hungrier to do more? Where else do you see your collection going? Would you ever do shoes?
Sasha: “I didn’t come this far, to come this far!” That’s how the saying goes, right? Anyone who knows me knows that I am always striving for something bigger. Something to challenge me. Being stagnant is literally my worst fear. Joe Fresh and I have produced three successful collections to date, with the fourth out this Fall, but I do see room to do something I haven’t done with the brand before. Maybe a winter focused collection. I’ve actually done shoes for women and kids in the past, but they were more on the athleisure side. It would be fun though to challenge ourselves to make something a little bit more technical in footwear.
iRun: Lastly, and thanks for your time and it’s great catching up with you: what do you want your legacy to be in sportswear?
Sasha: I want people to remember my advocacy for size inclusivity. When I first started in this line of work, my goal was to inspire and encourage others to get active. That was my “why”. Over the years I had done a good job getting people to open up to the idea of wellness and movement, but I feel like now I am able to close the loop by giving more women out there apparel options to help them commit to their journey.