Bench founder Ben Chan with SM Supermalls chief operating officer Steven Tan.
Not just athleisure: Bench Active energizes the everyday
Marbbie Tagabucba (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2019 - 12:00am

Just a week before she flies off to London to compete for the title in Miss World 2019, Philippines representative Michelle Dee is browsing yoga active wear choices at Bench Active’s first standalone store in SM Megamall.

Michelle Dee

In perhaps the most controversy-free reign in Philippine beauty pageant history, Michelle, daughter of Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez, has always been athletic, horseback riding even as a child, growing up in her family’s ranch in Utah. Unlike the strenuous sports she favors like weight lifting, surfing, and motocross biking, yoga differentiates itself as a calming discipline, beneficial not only for one’s breathing and flexibility but also for one’s state of mind, especially amid the chaos and pressure of bringing home the crown after another Benchsetter, Miss World 2013 Megan Young. Wearing breathable clothing that does not restrict your movements is one less distraction from centering yourself.

The Bench Active standalone concept store is 230 sqm. of urban style meets functional activewear.

“Sportswear is something that we have had as a lifestyle brand,” says Bench founder Ben Chan during the launch. “We see more Filipinos are interested in fitness. Opening the Bench Active concept store is our way of encouraging more people to have healthier and more active lifestyles.”

Without straying from its fashion roots, Bench Active looks good beyond the gym and the tracks. Athleisure, the trend of combining sportswear pieces with more casual pieces and wearing it to relaxed settings, is the defining fashion look of the 21st century. But Bench Active caters to modern-day lifestyles, made for transitioning from a workout to meeting with this season’s urban-meets-preppy style. Michelle’s sportsbra and leggings are party-ready when topped off with velvet block-heeled boots and a striped denim jacket. Actor and racecar driver Dominic Roque is in gym shorts and a tee under an army green jacket with trainers, yet connotations of sportswear being sloppy are debunked with its tailored fit and minimalist design. Best of all, they’ll be the comfiest anywhere they go because it is still active wear and designed with functional freedom. My favorite pieces are a velour tracksuit, updated from the 2000s with its tailored fit that I have recently paired with stilettos and jewelry, and a ribbed halter crop top that’s totally flattering and looks great either with leggings for a Lagree class to a silk midi skirt for any one of this hectic season’s events.

Dominic Roque Photos by BOY SANTOS

Sportswear is typically a section in Bench stores with underwear under Bench Body. In the 230 sqm. space is an expanded offering. Featuring Olympic gold medalist Conor Dwyer on its counter and motivational phrases in neon lighting, active underpinnings, outerwear, tees, trainers and casual sneakers, and accessories like gym bags and belt bags, sweatbands, and water bottles with a look and functionality designed for efficiency for every sport are separated into different sections. Personal care items are also available to keep you fresh and clean after breaking a sweat.

The concept store opens with the #BActiveMNL campaign. Bench Active partnered with several boutique fitness studios to hold community classes around the metro.

* * *

Bench Active is in 3F SM Megamall Building A. Shop online at shop.bench.com.ph and in select BENCH/ stores. Follow @benchtm and @benchbodyph on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

BEN CHAN MICHELLE DEE
Philstar
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