Empowerment Pants Cost Less than Lululemon

The Northwest’s best feminist line might not stay here long. They want to go bigger.

Empowerment looks like Tao Porchon-Lynch, a yoga instructor who turned 98 last week.

Empowerment looks like PV Sundhu, the first-ever Indian woman to win an Olympic medal—for badminton.

Empowerment looks like sticking your ass in the air in downward dog. Because you know your leggings aren’t see-through.

That’s where Mpowher Apparel is clutch. The new women’s activewear line is hitting West Coast markets hard this year, featuring all-purpose sporty basics like basic black leggings, flowy tees and quarter-zips. Their mission is just as streamlined, and just as useful.

Hannah Bowden and laurel Kasel played on the same college basketball team at Colorado Mesa University, where they bonded over the fact that most women feel like shit.

“We witnessed so many women who weren’t empowered,” Bowden says. “Where do we start? What vehicle do we use?”

Both lifelong athletes, Bowden and Kasel decided that spandex leggings might help the feminine plight. When done correctly, they’re right.

If we compare Mpowher gear to other yoga brands, it falls closer to Lululemon than Target basics and closer to Under Armour than Prana. It is made for high function and women who sweat.


(Inspire Pant//Flex and Flow Yoga, Portland)

The best thing about the Inspire Pant is its edges: The seams are soft and flat, the top says “eat all the muffin you want,” and the legs are long enough to be true capris even on me (I’m almost 5’11”).

The downfall of Mpowher’s inaugural line are its casual tops. Like the performance gear, the loose tanks and tees are minimalist, black or white, basics. Branding is the problem here. The words “others” and “strength” are printed across the chest in a font that looks like Lucinda Handwriting in Microsoft Word, cheapening what would be a great gym-to-street collection.

You can’t fault the brand for wanting to broadcast its message.

Mpowher apparel gives almost a quarter of its earnings to female-centric non-profits, like Days For Girls, a Washington-based group that started by giving African women hygiene products so that they wouldn’t miss months of school.

Now, Mowden and Kasel are touring the Pacific Northwest, blogging about empowering women they meet along the way and doing free fitness events. In five years, Bowden says they want to go national. In seven years: Mpowher international.


(photo from Mpowher Apparel)

Mpowher Apparel will be at: Friday Night Yoga Party (Be Luminous Yoga, Seattle. 7 pm Friday, Aug. 19), Flow and Glow (Days for Girls, Edmonds. Sept. 17) and Revocycle (Revocycle Portland, Oct. 21-22).

You can also share your empowerment story for Mpowher’s blog.