I fell in love with yoga & meditation when it brought me the richness of healing.
In 1993, I created the 1st yoga collection to honor these practices.
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Meet Annette Dale Kramek — a veteran designer who pioneered the first yoga apparel line. Long before Lululemon launched their brand in 1998 and became a household name, Annette had the idea to create her own yoga apparel line. When yoga was just starting to emerge, it helped save her life. She wanted more people to experience the benefits of yoga and saw the vision of it being practiced worldwide.
It was in 1993 that Annette launched her yoga line, naming it Chaffins Yoga Collection, after her mother's maiden name. Her brand was inspired by her own healing journey, for it was yoga and meditation that helped her recover from a life-altering brain surgery.
When creating the yoga line, Annette was no novice to apparel design. Annette came from a lineage of milliners, so sewing was in her blood. She remembers first sewing around the age of six. Growing up in a low-income home, she made her own clothes to replicate the clothes she saw in store windows.
Before her health crisis, Annette was the lead skiwear designer at Warnaco — one of the biggest distributors of underwear, sportswear, and swimwear worldwide at the time. Their products were sold to brands like Calvin Klein, Speedo, and Chaps. Under her design leadership, the skiwear division grew from 8 million to 28 million in just 2 years.
As a talented designer with connections in the industry, Annette pitched her yoga line to big brands like Prana, Speedo, Patagonia and Adidas. She got rejected by all of them, but she didn’t let this stop her. If these big brands weren’t going to help her, she knew she had to take it upon herself to launch her yoga brand.
At the time Annette learned of Kripalu, a renowned center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. She arranged a meeting with Terry Shatz, the shop's buyer. During this meeting, Annette shared her vision and sketched some designs and outfitted their beginner's yoga video. To her delight, the buyer saw the vision right away and handed Annette a $4,000 check to get started on the line.
In Annette’s first year in business, she did $250,000 in sales from her yoga line. She continued to grow her line by attending Yoga Journal Conferences where she had access to the world’s top yoga teachers. Over 24 years later, her luxurious soft custom tees and hoodies are still inspiring people to this day.
Her mission behind her designs is to inspire people to reach their full potential, to heal, and to grow. You can find her timeless designs in wellness spas and yoga centers throughout the United States.