Electric & Rose Shape A New Kind of Activewear Brand {Spotlight Interview}

Electric & Rose is a yoga and surf lifestyle apparel brand created by Erin Chiamulon and her fiance, actor Eric Balfour. The brand reflects the vibrant lifestyle and eclectic surroundings of their home town, Venice Beach, California. Electric & Rose apparel is made with premium cottons, french terry, and technical fabrics with quick dry and wicking properties, as well as their patent pending 4-way stretch fabric seen in some of our pants and shorts.

After discovering the line on Instagram and following their inspiring message, we just had to know more about this dynamic brand and the people behind it.

Electric and Rose

Electric & Rose Spring / Summer 2015 photo by Scarlet Mann


THE BODY BOOK [TBB]: “Electric & Rose” immediately brings to mind the Venice Beach scene here in Los Angeles, full of sand, surf, and a diversity of people and styles. Can you tell us about how the line was developed, and the story behind the name?

ERIN: Venice is this amazing city full of endlessly creative people, art, music, culture, color, and a distinct lifestyle. When it came to designing our collection and naming our company, we were able to pull inspiration from our surroundings. Eric and I live very close to the two iconic streets where we got our name, Electric & Rose Avenue. 

Erin's favorite Spring / Summer 2015 leggings 'firework print' by good friend Tao Ruspoli

Erin’s favorite Spring / Summer 2015 leggings ‘firework print’ by good friend Tao Ruspoli

TBB: The aesthetics of the line are edgy and punk-inspired. Does that reflect your personal style or is it an aesthetic you saw missing from the activewear industry? 

ERIN: I’d have to say a little bit of both. I love to shop, and I couldn’t find functional activewear anywhere with any edge. I loved the way my super old leggings looked from being washed a million times, but elastic never lasts forever, and each pant has a certain life span. I saw a hole in the market, what was missing for me personally, and created on that.

TBB: Eric, do you have a favorite piece from the line? 

ERIC: Yes. The Venice boardpant. The idea had literally been brewing in my mind for years. I was on a surf trip with friends in The Maldives where we spent three weeks living on a boat and surfing eight hours a day. Everyday each of us would have a new bruise or cut from the reef but none of that bothered any of us because we were just so happy. The thing that did however catch up with me was the rash on my inner thighs from skin rubbing against my surfboard, cherry red sun burnt calves, and the endless knee bruises from duck diving all day. That’s where I first had the idea of a surf pant.

Something I could live in on any adventure. Of course I had no idea how to turn my idea into a reality at the time so I just tucked it away in the back of my mind. As we started working on the original concepts for Electric & Rose I knew what I wanted stylistically in terms of colors and prints but I also knew we needed to create something unique to really stand out.

The light bulb went off for me when I rode my bike to the beach with a friend for a surf near our home break in Venice. It was one of those amazing hot summer days in L.A. and I rode to the beach in just a pair of boardshorts. I didn’t even have a towel. At some point during our surf, my boardshorts ripped from seam to seam, front to back, doing a maneuver on a wave. It was beautifully embarrassing! My ass was hanging out and I had nothing to cover it with so I rode home with my split shorts and my butt hanging out. It did make me realize that boardshort design hadn’t changed much in almost half a century except for the updated fabrics manufacturers now offer.

Eric Balfour 'Venice Boardpants' (skull print) Photo by Scarlet Mann

Eric Balfour ‘Venice Boardpants’ (skull print) Photo by Scarlet Mann

I immediately thought it would be cool if boardshorts had a gusset that would prevent them from ripping and offer more flexibility and range of motion. That was when I remembered my idea for surfing pants and explained the idea to Erin. She totally got it and knew exactly how to execute making them. From there we took components of traditional board shorts and my jujitsu gi to create the “Venice Boardpant.” We quickly realized you could do so much more with these pants then just surf. They were perfect for yoga, hiking, paddle boarding, and pretty much any adventure you could get yourself into.

It took a long time to get them just right. Creating something that has never existed before is actually just as hard as you would think. There is no reference point or right or wrong. There is just this feeling when you put them on and suddenly realize you got it right. I love them and there are moments when I’m actually afraid to share them with people because I’m scared that somebody might come along and take them away from us or copy them but for now they are the thing I’m most proud of in our collection. It’s going to take some time, especially in the surfing world, for them to truly catch on but I can’t wait for the day when I paddle out at some amazing spot and see another surfer wearing our them.

TBB: So often we think of stylish activewear targeted at only women, but your line has a very masculine feel to it as well. What made you take on styling both genders?

ERIC: Erin was already in fashion and looking to for a new project, and although I was always interested in fashion, I just didn’t have the time or knowledge to pursue it. The idea of creating something together as a couple, and as cheesy as it may sound, made from our love of each other and our environment was incredibly exciting to me. It’s not always easy balancing love and work but on the other hand it creates a whole new game in our lives to battle through and for together.

Eric doing handstands in the Electric and Rose booth at a trade show.

Eric doing handstands in the Electric & Rose booth at a trade show.

As we started designing the collection it was just a natural extension of our union to create both men’s and women’s clothes, but specifically for the men’s styles, there was a personal desire for something that I just couldn’t find in the activewear market.

I grew up surfing and playing sports so being active has always been and is an integral part of who I am. I love the ocean. I love being outside in the sun and in nature, and when I discovered yoga it too became a part of who I was. I was constantly having to tweak existing designs from traditional athletic wear, surf companies, and street fashion to create the outfits that not only satisfied my functional needs but also expressed who I was as an individual. I was constantly cutting off sleeves, ripping apart shorts, etc. so when we designed the men’s collection it started as a means of satisfying my own selfish athletic and stylistic desires.

Electric and Rose

Menswear Spring / Summer 2015

From a creative stand point I wanted to create an athletic line for guys who weren’t jocks, who weren’t obsessed with how much they could bench press. I wanted to create something that my favorite musicians, surfers, and artists would want to wear. Clothing that was made to be masculine, made for adventure, and that reflected everything I love about growing up in Los Angeles and living in Venice.

Electric and Rose

Menswear Spring / Summer 2015

TBB: Building a business from the ground up can be both scary and thrilling. What motivates you to keep going?

ERINIt is so exciting and rewarding to see people in class or on the street wearing Electric & Rose. I think this is one of the biggest things that give me the confidence to keep going.

Having Eric as my business partner has also been such a gift. I’ve found when one of us is scared the other is thrilled and vice versa so we really have a great balance and can be there for each other when one of us gets a case of doubts.

TBB: Erin, did you grow up with strong women role models?

ERIN: Absolutely. My grandmother was actually a yoga teacher and later on got a PHD. Strong is an understatement. My Mom is definitely her Mother’s daughter. Equally as strong, fearless, and undoubtedly one of the most talented and creative women I know.

Electric and Rose

TBB: Erin, can you describe your relationship with your body? Have you always been so nurturing to yourself?

ERIN: I have an ever-evolving relationship with my body. Have I always been nurturing to myself? Probably not. As I’ve gotten older what I’ve learned is to really listen to my body’s needs. For example, I love yoga very much and have learned to modify many poses for my body so that I can protect my lower back and consistently practice without discomfort.

Electric and Rose

Erin Chiamulon & Coconut, Elle Japan, (Electric & Rose hat and Dudley l/s dip dye tee) photo by Chika Okazumi

TBB: Erin, what are your current nutrition or fitness challenges?

ERIN: Biggest challenges? The mornings when I literally want to do anything else but workout. Or the days when all I want to eat are muffins on the go!

TBB: Erin, what do you love about your body, as it exists now?

ERIN: I love how strong I am. How I can play basketball with the guys. Surf. Hike. Adventure. I ask a lot of my body and it never let’s me down.

Shop Electric and Rose on their website. Connect // Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

You can catch them next week in New York City at the AXIS Trade Show next to some amazing other brands.