In a world where the phrase “metrosexual” has been all but normalized in the world of male grooming, up-and-coming label Y,IWO (Yeah, I Work Out) is here to cut through all the fluff and bring male dress back to place of raw, meathead masculinity. Channeling the sartorial sensibilities of iconic bodybuilders and gym rats from the 70s and 80s, Y,IWO aims to revive the somewhat lost, yet not forgotten energy of bodybuilding through their collection of workout gear with an unforgettable brand motto: “Work hard, feel great, have fun, get laid.” L’Officiel USA had the opportunity to chat with the creative mind behind the label, Jason Thome, and pick his brain about the development of the brand and what he hopes to achieve as Y,IWO continues to grow and expand. Read on to get a glimpse into Thome’s worked out mind, and get a taste of the high protein, high-calorie flavor that is Y,IWO.
For Thome, the main inspiration behind Y,IWO stemmed from a long-time interest in the world of bodybuilding—particularly the sport’s imagery and culture during its American heyday before the turn of the century.
“I collect books on bodybuilding from the ’70s and ‘80s, books like “Pumping Iron”, “Heavy Duty” and “One More Rep” are some of my favorites. A lot of the magazines from the era have this punk aesthetic,” said Thome. “That spirit was super evident at Muscle Beach in that era—a simpler time. Barbells, beach, babes and smoking bud.”
Y,IWO’s first collection, which is comprised of workout apparel like t-shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants, feature bold graphics like “Squat Till You Puke” or “Pull Up or Shut Up”. Thome pulls references from books and images from the bodybuilding era, preferring to keep his designs anchored and true to the starkly aggressive backbone that underlies the sport. “The punk aesthetic inspired by our media references played a big part in the debut collection. There is a strong punk element in the culture of Venice Beach going back to the ‘80s, and there is also a strong love for hardcore in the world of lifting,” said Thome. “Really, the collection is just a cut-and-paste look and feel, mostly black and white photos and big bold typefaces and graphics.”
Despite the notion that the niche sport of lifting may come off as intimidating or hyper-masculine, Thome stresses that Y,IWO as a brand is not meant to be exclusive nor is it restricted to solely to those who bodybuild. After being given the opportunity to retail in partnership with Dover Street Market, Thome has been able to get a deeper understanding of the brand’s audience—a consumer base which notably seems to span the whole gamut.
“You don’t even have to be in shape, you can be chasing other dreams and still relate to sayings like ‘stay pumped’, ‘stay hungry’, or ‘build, build, build!’” said Thome. “Even in the past six weeks since we launched, we see our customer ranges from serious lifters, personal trainers, and athletes to folks like creative directors, artists, musicians, and models. Male, female, etc. All of them seem to relate to it feeling authentic—it’s a vibe and state of mind that seems to transcend gender and everything else.”
With the mark athleisure has made on the current fashion scene with new sportswear-meets-fashion brands popping up left and right, Y,IWO stems from a place beyond a fervor for simple fad and trend. “We are a non-technical, lo-fi brand at the end of the day,” said Thome. “Simple shorts, shirts, and sweats that hopefully people like the look of. And really, all you need in the gym or the street.”