Within the yoga-loving and outdoor-living nirvana of Colorado’s Front Range, Be Present is a stand-out, with founders who embody the dream and clothes that encapsulate the lifestyle. Their innovative designs and signature BreathWeave fabric are a must for yoga and beyond – we see people wearing them everywhere – from trails to planes, coffee shops to art openings. And of course, doing Downward Dog.
Founded a dozen years ago by Amy Lopatin Dobrin and her husband Jon Dobrin, Be Present is a testimony to comfortable, breathable yoga and lifestyle clothes. For Amy, starting Be Present was a natural, even organic, progression. Like so many, Amy and Jon had moved out to Colorado to work at the ski resorts; Amy studied fashion and hoped to design ski and snowboard apparel until an interview with one of the large apparel companies made her long for something quieter and less corporate. Something smaller, more present and more her style, something almost like the yoga studio Amy’s brother had recently opened down in Scottsdale, Arizona. The only thing she didn’t need smaller was her yoga pants. She wanted something with that ski apparel pizzazz, something that allowed her to move without clinging to every curve.
“At that point, I was going to yoga every day in Thai fisherman’s pants and it seemed that most of the women were wearing black leggings, and the men were wearing speedos. I wanted to make something I would be comfortable going to and leaving yoga in.” At the time, looser, brighter options simply weren’t available. And so the hope, and the concept of the Agility Pant was born. (And this pant makes the rounds – Julia Louis Dreyfus wore them in the movie Enough Said, even calling their office herself to talk about it.)
But knowing what she wanted and actually creating it were two different concepts entirely. Thousands of fabrics were considered and discarded. Amy wanted something with stretch and great mobility. Something that wicked moisture effortlessly. Something lightweight that held its shape without squeezing hers. Something comfortable. Something woven. After seemingly endless searching, she found a family-run company that made something close to her vision. So, she set about bargaining: not only was she looking to make an order 1/20th of the supplier’s regular order size, but she needed a little more cotton, a slightly different finish, and everything in chakra colors. Violets, blues, yellows, greens, and reds to open up the world of color into their yoga practice!
The supplier agreed and Amy and Jon named their proprietary fabric BreatheWeave. Its lightweight, 62% cotton, 34% nylon, 4% spandex blend has been the staple of Be Present ever since. “I find it incredibly unique,” says Gina Caputo, yoga instructor and Be Present All-Star, one of their brand representatives chosen for how she embodies the Be Present lifestyle. “And I love that it has just the right amount of stretch, so you can move freely, but isn’t a typical stretchy pant that has so much lycra it’s skin tight. I love that you can wear them anywhere and they translate so well out into the world. But my favorite quality, because I’m an outdoorswoman, is that they dry so fast.”
Perfect fabric in hand, Be Present introduced their first line in Spring 2002. Amy’s brother began carrying them in Arizona, as did the studio in Amy’s Denver neighborhood. Be Present grew organically from there, through word-of-mouth and traveling yoga instructors. It took a full two years (and some quite vocal New York fans) to introduce black into the line-up and start producing yoga clothing for men with the ever-popular Practice Pant. Amy’s husband Jon laughs: “Until then, I wore the girl’s pants!”
Soon, production moved out of their basement and across the street. Even now, Be Present clothes are still made in the neighborhood: the cut and sew manufacturing facility is a mere two miles from the Be Present office, screen printing a mile, embroidery just two miles away. This proximity is part of their philosophy and commitment to local sustainability. Be Present’s purpose, Amy explains, is “one of continual education, both of our clients and ourselves.” This includes incorporating feedback from their friends and customers for new designs and adding some eco-friendly fabrics to the mix.
All this feeds into their larger purpose: to live fully and presently. “It’s about embracing all aspects of life, about being active, certainly about being healthy and mindful,” continues brand ambassador Gina Caputo. “It’s tuning into every little aspect of the moment, from embodying each asana to really listening to what someone is saying and never just going through the motions…. So for me, they’re not just a yoga clothes company, but a lifestyle company.”
That lifestyle embraces yoga, certainly, but also community, being active and mindful, and traveling. Be Present styles have traveled the globe, gone surfing and skydiving and trekking in the Himalayas. Chalk it up to the versatility and extreme comfort of their designs, whether you find yourself perched on a ledge in the Rockies or scrunched into economy on a five-hour flight. And they bounce back effortlessly, always ready for the next adventure.
This, too, is part of the life that Amy and Jon were hoping for when they first moved to Colorado. “We love the lifestyle that Be Present provides. We’re here every day, traveling to yoga conferences, etc. It’s not work, it’s a lifestyle studded with dear friends and passion. We’re a small, family company,” Amy says. “It’s a great business to be in and we don’t want to grow too big or too fast.” They’ve created a special niche and a little piece of paradise with their unique clothes that act as daily reminders to simply Be Present—to sink into the moment, to embrace each aspect of life, to create space for meaning—and to enjoy.
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