varenna activewear
varenna activewear

So long baggy jogging bottoms: Meet the brand that’s all about sophisticated sportswear

22 Apr 2021 | Updated on: 27 Sep 2022 |By Hannah Lemon

VPLs and see-through leggings are a thing of the past. Italian brand Varenna is bringing Lake Como sophistication to the gym.

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Exercise gear has taken over our wardrobes. For over a year, we’ve all been working from home and walking in the park in our favourite leggings and sweats. And don’t pretend you haven’t sat on a work Zoom call with a vest top underneath your shirt.

It’s a welcome relief to be honest. What could be more comfortable than living your best life in activewear? But is yours really up to scratch? As gyms reopen and we can start going back to our favourite Pilates and yoga classes again, you’ll need a sleek wardrobe ready for when you see people for the first time. Those cheap leggings you got in the mad rush at the beginning of lockdown aren’t very breathable. And we bet that most of your clothes are made from synthetic fibres that don’t do a world of good for the planet.

That’s where Varenna steps in. The sustainable Italian brand was founded in 2020 by founder and creative designer, Arantxa Gandini. The brand takes Lake Como as the inspiration for its elegant line of activewear that is consciously made.

If you’ve never been you must really add Lake Como to your bucket list. It’s a place Gandini has visited throughout her life, ever since she went there on family holidays.

The azure water is surrounded by attractive villages with terracotta roofs and abundant nature. Ancient paths wind through the houses towards the epic mountains in the background. It has both a fascinating history and plenty of glamour. You’d half think that James Bond is about to come hurtling round the corner in an Aston Martin. And you’d be right. Parts of the 2006 Casino Royale film were filmed here and there are some seriously impressive five-star hotels with jaw-dropping views across the lake.

Gandini says: “Como has always been the maximum expression of the Italian worship of beauty. An inspiration for the world’s most famous designers, that reminds us about the beauty that our planet Earth offers us and the duty we have to preserve for future generations. Varenna is probably one of those unique places that really represents this way of understanding life.”

Nordic floral print tank top, £77,
Navy tech jersey, £70,

Every piece at Varenna is made with love in Italy, merging the latest fashion trends with the finest fabrics. The brand is passionate about making all the collections from fully recycled and recyclable fibres. There’s no compromise on style though. Each piece offers high-end fabric technology that allows you to feel comfortable while exercising, but also celebrates sophisticated and feminine shapes.

Varenna has handpicked a host of talented craftspeople for the collections, with an attention to detail and quality that is second to none. And every step of the way, the brand takes great pains to work with the lowest carbon footprint possible.

Leggings come in a rainbow of shades from petal pink to a deep night-time blue. They’re a classic wardrobe must-have and come with matching sports bras in the same hues. You can also mix up the pieces with the more playful flower and leaf collections. The orange leaf set adds a punchy exotic feel that’s perfect for the summer. As do the delicate tropical prints in white, for a more relaxed feel.

Tie-dye print leggings, £87,
Shades print leggings, £82,

As you might imagine, Varenna is expanding rapidly. The brand’s collections are stocked in four different showrooms all around the world: Milan, New York, London and Dusseldorf, each delivering chic fashion mixed with sporting prowess.

Wherever you shop for Varenna and whichever set you choose, you can be safe in the knowledge that every garment is designed to allow you to move freely whether you’re doing a sun salutation or jogging around your favourite park. Or perhaps even taking a work call…