THE STORY OF COROA: A yoga studio, two men, two countries

One Down Dog - Echo Park - Coroa First Workshop

 One Down Dog - Echo Park - Coroa First Workshop

 

Coroa was born at our favorite place: the yoga mat.

4 years ago Coroa’s founder, Santiago, attended his first yoga class at our favorite yoga studio in Los Angeles, One Down Dog. That’s when the idea of creating a comfortable and stylish yoga line for men started.

Follow us on this three-way interview, a journey where we will explain the inspiration behind the brand, you will get to know our founder, discover Coroa’s creative director, and get a glimpse at the future we have envisioned:  a future where we see more men on the mat.

 
One Down Dog yoga studio talks with Santiago, the founder of Coroa:

 

Tell us about yourself

My name is Santiago and I am a proud immigrant from Spain. I first moved to Los Angeles back in 2009, time when my University in Spain offered me a scholarship to come to our city of angels and work as an intern in a production company.

A few years passed, I had several jobs, and finally in 2013 I opened my boutique public relations company focused in the arts. And now, I am proud to announce my second business endeavor: Coroa – a yoga line for the modern male yogi.

Santiago wearing Coroa

Why did you decide to create your own yoga line, and why specifically for men?

The idea of creating my own yoga line for men started, of course, on the mat. That day at my favorite yoga studio in town. I am talking about you guys, One Down Dog.

I have been practicing yoga for the last 4 years and from the get-go I had a main question: what should I wear? That’s when I started researching and looking for clothing options for the yoga practice in combination with stylish garments I could see myself wearing  at the market or when I am having a beer with friends after the yoga practice.

I was quite surprised to see how limited the market was. Indeed, there are some brands out there, but really none of them resonated with my fashionable inner self, and that’s when the idea arose.

Simultaneously, and before jumping into this adventure, the marketing professional inside of me pushed me to research about the yoga market: the brands, their messaging, their offers, and of course about the men tendency to do yoga. The moment I saw that the % of men has increased dramatically in the last couple of years I decided to give Coroa a go.

 

Coroa initial designs

Your first time designing a clothing line, and we assume this is your first time producing anything textile related. How was the entire process? Did you not feel intimidated or scared?

I do have to admit at first I was feeling intimidated, but honestly not for the entire process ahead but mostly because I did not know where to start from. Ok, my ideas are cool, now what? That’s what I asked myself.

I talked to some people around me, experts in the fashion industry. In combination with my own research, I found my first step would be creating the patterns – back in that time I didn’t even know about what they even meant! 

I googled several companies and found the perfect one for me in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles: Patterns World.

They were the ones guiding me throughout the entire process and the ones creating the final samples.

After the initial thoughts on taking the manufacturing process to my homeland in Spain, I decided last minute to produce the collection on the city where I am currently based: Los Angeles, my home away from home. I feel honored and proud to be on the position of helping my city by supporting other businesses.

There have been several challenging moments during this entire process, times when I felt I couldn’t do it any longer. But 4 main parts kept me going (and I am so glad they did): my partner, the yoga community, Coroa creative director and consultant Xhico, and the strength gained after moving from one continent to another.

Santiago at Patterns World - fitting final samples

 

What’s the main inspiration for this first collection?

This current collection is inspired by two major personal experiences: the culture where I was raised and the yoga practice itself.

I am a person that, for some reason, is obsessed with geometrical shapes and lines. Back since I was a little kid I was constantly drawing interconnected lines, which can be seen on the physical garments.

Simultaneously those lines are pretty much present on the original cultural expressions of Galicia, my home state in Spain. Inhabited by the Celts, the region and its cultural web are filled with arrows, copper colored scents, and of course lines.

Applied to the pieces, those lines represent the energy that flows from our body: a constant immense steam that travels from the head and shoulders all the way to the hips and knees. In some other garments, like for instance Celta muscle shirt, we are using our designs to highlight very important aspects of the yoga practice. Specifically, on that model, we are highlighting our beautiful hearts, while on the case of the muscle shirt ‘Florence’ we are honoring our core.

Celtic ruins in Galicia - Spain 

 

And the name?

Coroa is a Galician word which means crown in English. Crown is one of the 7 chakras, and it is the one referred to each individual connection with the universe and all parts that conform it.

What does differentiate your collection apart from the rest of yoga brands out there?

First of all, the nature of the brand.

The big majority of yoga clothing companies were first catering to women, and then they decided to offer products for men. However, they did it because they had to more than because they wanted to. On this regard Coroa was created by men for men, and we understand the challenges and needs from fellow male yogis.

Secondly, our patterns.

All the pieces are made keeping the yoga practice in mind: extra-length of the shirts for sun salutations, above the knees shorts to measure the muscle engagement, and sweat resistant fabrics suitable both for yoga & hot yoga.

Lastly: our designs.

Unique designs you can enjoy on the mat, and stylish pieces you can wear off the mat while buying kombucha at the market or going for a hike with your dog.

 What do you expect from Coroa?

Coroa is truly committed to bring more men on the mat, raise awareness of the yoga practice among the male population, invite more men to do some yoga, and nurture the community.

We tested this idea of bringing more men to the mat and supporting the male yoga community early last May. In collaboration with One Down Dog studio, we organized an exclusive pre-launch workshop only for men. The result was magical and super inspiring: at first men were not interacting with each other, but as the class progressed every single individual ended up talking to each other. It was delightful. 

Yogis also had the opportunity to get access to Coroa prototypes, and they provided us with an amazing feedback, changes that are being reflected on the final product.

As the brand is preparing for the general release, and after the success of the last event, Coroa is throwing a second workshop!  On July 27 we are partnering with One Down Dog again and we will be offering a free, men only workshop which will be focusing on the most challenging parts for men: joints, hips, and shoulders. Fellow yogi and influencer Teo Chapelier will be the instructor of the class. NYC is our next goal.

I feel a better person since I started my yoga practice, and by Coroa offering unique styles, I am hoping we bring more men to the mats and make this world a better place.

 

Santiago talks with Xhico, Coroa’s creative director:

 

First of all, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background

I’m a creative director and artist from California with decades of experience. Currently, I’m living between Mexico and Guatemala now working with indigenous communities in textiles. I’m working on a fashion and houseware line of my own.

Xhico in Guatemala

When I talked to you about Coroa and his goals, what did you think?

I was thrilled for you when I first heard about your idea for Coroa. I first encouraged you to create your  own PR company, Pazos Media. Evidently, you have a knack for entrepreneurship. In addition to your business skills, you always looks on point with your own style and you are very passionate about yoga, so I had no doubt that you would find great success with a yoga line for men.

Have you ever worked in another fashion related project? And if so, which ones?

My career spans over 20 years and I have worked with fashion in many capacities. In the early days art directing photo sessions, I was my responsibility to select the stylists and direct the expression of fashion for each project. No matter what the design challenge, I find fashion informs much of my work. Fashion is a touchstone to incorporating imagination into my work. My experiences as a make-up artist and designer surface often in my visuals. I continue to work on projects always incorporating my previous experiences into my current work.

 As I mentioned before, I am currently working on my own fashion project @xhico_a_mano working with indigenous communities to develop a line of accessories and housewares while empowering them individually.

Tell us about the logo: the inspiration, the shapes and the entire meaning behind

When you first approached me with ideas, we had a meeting in your office in LA. As you told me the story behind your vision, I began to take notes and doodle sketches in my notebook. It was apparent that the driving concept of your brand was the pride of your homeland – Galicia, Spain. Even the name “Coroa” means crown in Galician. You talked to me about the region, the Celts and other local lore that I could use to draw inspiration from.

We talked a lot about the Tower of Hercules, a lighthouse in yourhometown of Coruña. In fact the tower is represented on the region’s coat of arms which depicts the tower above a skull and crossbones (supposedly the head of Gyrone whom Hercules slayed is buried below) along with seven sea shells.

 Tower of Hercules in Galicia, Spain

 

After taking in this information, I began to synthesize the information and create parallels between the legends of Galicia and the concepts of a contemporary yoga fashion brand. I began to study the lighthouse but didn’t want to have a logo that was a literal representation. I considered different approaches to the architecture and started looking at old architectural renderings and floor plans find other hidden geometry. I also realized that there was a significance with the number seven. There were seven seashells on the coat of arms and seven chakras in yoga. I then connected the idea of light emitting from a source and how it could relate to a silhouette of a seashell. This was the catalyst for the final logo you ended up choosing. In a few words, the logo is a light source, a thrid eye of sorts, emitting seven rays of light and energy, while creating an inconic shell design.


Why copper colors?

This line of yoga wear is luxurious, yet casual enough for the street. I didn’t want to be overly ornate with gold and black. Also, I had to consider the spiritual and natural side of the yoga market. This brought me to copper – accessible, yet affluent.

You are also the designer behind the hangtags and the entire packaging. What was your vision?

Well, the project has been step by step. So after the logo and color direction was done that helped inform the rest of the design. Also, we were targeted on creating packaging that was minimal and could serve multiple purposes in the beginning.

What’s the most challenging part while creating an entire branding proposal and how you achieve to portray the company’s values into a visual representation?

Each project is unique. I approach every challenge with visual and competitive research to understand the story behind the brand and the audience. Often clients have many ideas, some great, some not-so-great, but they don’t know how to visualize and build the brand story cohesively. It’s my job to weed through all of that information and hold on to what's important to the brand and what's not. The biggest challenge is always coaxing the client in the right direction. Luckily, you and I have great trust after working together for several years.

 

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Coroa pictures by Lauren Lemon

 

 

 

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