Q&A with Lori Florio and Emily Vitale, Founders
PRISMSPORT is the brainchild of Lori Florio and Emily Vitale, strong women in publishing and marketing, respectively, who created a line of athletic wear that embraces vibrancy and passion, and also carries you from the gym to anywhere the rest of your day may take you. PRISMSPORT is made for women, by women — fitness wear with one-of-a-kind prints that fit just so, designed to empower you in your workout and beyond.
With Lori's success in the publishing world, and Emily's success in sports marketing, PRISMSPORT was destined for success from the start. What sparked the original idea to design fitness wear?
The spark originated with the combination of two passions we have always shared, athletics and fashion. The original idea of PRISMSPORT was created from our personal desire to wear new types of clothing to the gym — we were bored with all of the options available at the time.
How did you come up with the name PRISMSPORT?
We were looking for a name that would express color and movement, while at the same time, express to the world that we are in the activewear category and sports apparel market. Performance is the absolute fundamental part of what we do. The entire idea is that we can stand up to the toughest sport and perform, while also appearing fashionable and appropriate on the streets.
What makes PRISMSPORT pieces so versatile?
A few things! 1) The Fabric: It’s a very dense weave that gives slight compression without being thick and heavy, and it also has a silky feel that is comfortable and meant to be worn all day. 2) The Styling: No camel toe for ladies here! The leggings and capris have a discreet seamless front that will not bind at the crotch, thanks to the front seam design and inside stitching. The seams on the side of the pants give the leggings and capris a ‘trouser feel,’ making it stylish and easy to transition from a gym outfit to grabbing a coffee or drinks with friends. 3) The Sophistication: The prints are on-trend and look appropriate for streetwear.
PRISMSPORT is well-known for its memorable prints — each season, you design 6-8 fresh, new printed fabrics, always beautiful and vibrant. How do you dream these up?
We don't dream these up (although we do love our prints!), we strategically choose them. We shop thousands of prints before deciding which ones work best for the brand at that time. Every print has to meet the following criteria:
● Pass the thigh test
● Obtain a high level of sophistication
● Be of the moment, feel current and modern
● Compliment a woman’s body
● Be intrinsically attractive
● Print is personal, it must appeal to a high level of a variety of preferences
What is the thigh test?
The thigh test means exactly that, it has to pass looking attractive on a woman’s thigh. Linear prints do not look good on a woman's thigh! Everything has to enhance a woman’s body.
You pride yourself on allowing people to "Live in Prism.” What does that mean to you?
Living in Prism means a variety of different things. It means living in color and energy, being present, standing out, being exuberant, feeling empowered, being comfortable getting noticed, and not wanting to be the black wallflower. It’s having a voice in print. Living in Prism takes you from the gym to every aspect of your life; you are allowed to be and should be comfortable in your own skin, expressing all individuality and creativity.
Why do you think fitness fashion has become as much of a phenomenon as it has?
Because people are living more casual lives, and are more health conscious than ever before. They’re seeing and experiencing the benefits of living healthier lives. And it’s comfortable! People dress more casually at work and for life. There are plenty more people who work out, and yoga in particular is booming and certainly driving this category. Fitness fashion appeals to people of all ages and habits; it compliments almost everything you can possibly do. (Lori has a teacher that says, “You are as old as your spine!”)
Also, the innovation in fabric has allowed fitness fashion to create better designs and product performance benefits that were not possible before. You used to workout in cotton, and be dripping. Also, in order to print a garment, there used to be very high minimum quantities required — technology has changed all that.
As a female-owned company, what would you tell other women looking to start their own business?
Follow your passion, and talk to everyone that you can think of who is remotely related to the industry that you want to launch in. Do an abundant amount of research, and ask a great deal of questions. Don’t think too much about it or you won’t do it. And don't be afraid to change the rules, at home or in the workplace!
Any advice for readers or final words?
Make it fun! Have fun with whatever it is you choose to do. Because that’s really what it’s all about.
What to shop for:
Prior to founding PRISMSPORT, Lori Florio earned an MBA and was a highly successful publisher at Seventeen, New Woman and New York Magazine for several years. (Her husband is Tom Florio former publishing director of Vogue, Teen Vogue and CEO of major event management company Advanstar, making them a power couple in the world of publishing).
As a tennis player, it's no surprise that Emily Vitale was Director of Marketing in her early career for fitness brand Ellesse, an early pioneer in global active wear. Her expertise in sports marketing, promotion, and advertising combined with her passion for sewing, allowed her a unique understanding of garments that meet the requirements of both performance and style.