Making a statement with bold-printed activewear isn’t exactly a new trend, but what about a collection of leggings, sports bras, and gym tops created by digitally manipulating micrographs of human cells and muscle tissue? Yeah, that’s pretty different.
Founded by medical student Lizzie Cochran, Dallas-based Epidemia Designs is a mission-driven women’s activewear line created to encourage women and girls pursuing education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“I love science, and I wanted to come up with an interesting, creative way of showing the world how beautiful and awe-inspiring science can be,” Cochran says. “As the idea for Epidemia developed, I quickly decided that I wanted the company to have a philanthropic aspect to it, and supporting women in STEM is something that is incredibly important to me.”
Celebrating the human body on a cellular level, the collection, called She’s Got It, includes three patterns: She's Got Heart, based on heart tissue; She’s Got Nerve, based on nerve synapses; and She’s Got Brains, based on, yes, brain cells. The leggings retail for $49, sports bras sell for $39, gym tops are $29 — all can be purchased online.
“My hope is that Epidemia can be a vehicle for showing young women that science can be cool and feminine, and for celebrating the innate beauty of the human body that is completely overlooked by societal beauty standards,” Cochran says.
The idea for the line first came to Cochran while she was an undergrad living in New York.
“I spent a lot of time working out and even more time wearing workout clothing,” she says. “I started noticing during my senior year of college that tons of activewear companies were starting to feature bold prints and bright colors, and I loved how it seemed to be a genre of clothing that women felt comfortable standing out in.
“When the concept behind Epidemia, the idea of putting scientific images on everyday apparel, came to me in early 2015, using activewear as our canvas just felt like a natural fit.”
Cochran spent a year raising money via Kickstarter for her new business venture, and by mid-2016, she was ready to launch the collection.
In addition to being American made — the fabrics are printed and the clothes manufactured in Chicago — Epidemia also has a charitable bent, contributing to Dallas nonprofit Girlstart, an organization that provides summer camps and after-school programs for young girls interested in the sciences.
“I believe strongly that summer camps and programs like the ones [Girlstart] offers can play a huge role in giving kids the confidence and support they need to pursue their dreams, especially when they might not be getting that kind of support at home,” Cochran explains. “So far we have donated $5,000 to Girlstart to fund scholarships for their summer camps, and I hope to continue to expand our partnership as Epidemia grows.”