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Fashion Ambitious

In a Different Way

Lydia Janko is a fitness model and bikini competitor. She is also the mastermind behind the brand Luxe Lady Fit, which is coming out soon. Lydia was inspired by her background in fitness, her love of fashion, and her overall desire to live a healthy lifestyle. When it came down to finding appealing gym outfits, she had a hard time as she could never really find an ultra-luxurious brand, so she decided to create her own- something more high-end, fashionable, but still functionable for performance, designed for those who want a step above basic fitness attire. What’s even more special about her brand is that everything is locally made.

Since Lydia is a fashion enthusiast, we pulled her away from the spotlight for the day to create this fashion editorial and to talk with her about her brand and her history in fitness in more detail. Her interview is below.

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Photography: Deja Jordan / Hair and Makeup: Katarina Van Derham / Model: Lydia Janko / Jewelry: Amlé

Lydia, what inspired you to enter the fitness world?

I became passionate about fitness a few years ago. Before that point, I never really cared much about how I ate or going to the gym, and it started not only affecting the way I looked but also the way I felt physically and mentally. As I grew to focus on my health and fitness, the more I educated myself, the more I fell in love with it as a whole until it eventually became a part of my everyday lifestyle. It’s never easy in the begging; the key is to focus on smaller goals and work your way up. Consistency is key with any success. Personally, I started out only wanting to grow my glutes because I wasn’t satisfied with how they looked, then I became interested in proper nutrition and how I should be eating to achieve my desired results. I started focusing on other muscle groups, and it happened just like that, one thing after another after some trial and error. Eventually, it became part of my everyday lifestyle.

What’s it like competing in fitness competitions? What are the challenges of competing?

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Photography: Deja Jordan / Hair and Makeup: Katarina Van Derham / Model: Lydia Janko / Jewelry: Amlé

Competing has its pros and cons. Some people love and live for competing and become obsessed with the sport; others find it dangerous because if you don’t go about it with a healthy approach, it can lead to eating disorders and distorted self-image issues such as body dysmorphia. I personally enjoy this sport and find it a great challenge and something to look forward to or to have a goal towards. However, it is all about balance. As long as you have a good coach and you go about show prep in a healthy way, it can be fun. I use IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). In the past, I have tried the traditional dieting approach but found that counting my macronutrients (which are fats, carbs and proteins) works better in the long run. This is because it allows you to enjoy and pretty much eat whatever you desire within reason. I prefer this over sticking to a bland diet for a long period of time, which is eating pretty much the same thing every single day up until the competition. The IIFYM approach is much safer, as you aren’t as restricted and are less likely to binge during or after the competition or develop eating disorders.

How do you prepare for your competitions?

As far as show prep, for myself, it is about a twelve-week period. I choose a coach, because regardless of how educated you are on training and diet, it is extremely important to have a coach if you are planning to compete. I train 5-6 days a week, which is typically the same as I normally do; oftentimes, the training is just a little bit different as it gets closer to the date because I incorporate more cardio. As far as diet, like I mentioned before, I count macronutrients. These get adjusted every week up until the show depending on body changes and fluctuations. I also practice posing because there are specific poses you are expected to do for the judges. Sometimes, show prep can be isolating because during this time period, it is extremely important that you are referring your body and taking proper care of yourself. This may mean going to bed earlier for better sleep and recovery, waking up earlier than usual to ensure there is time for the additional training and cardio sessions, and even saying no to social events that include alcohol or food that isn’t on the plan. It’s important to understand that these little decisions add up over time and, ultimately, decide how you reach your goals. This is tough but you have to learn to find willpower and motivation within yourself, stay determined, and not give in to temptations. This is ultimately what sets you apart from other competitors.

Tell us how you feel about modeling. Do you prefer fitness shoots or fashion shoots?

I love fitness shoots, but I also love fashion shoots! This is tough to choose from as being an avid fashion and fitness enthusiast, I think it’s so fun to differentiate between the two. They are both amazing and can be expressive and creative in their own ways. I am excited to launch my line as it is a combination of the two, so a little bit of both will be represented within the branding and marketing.

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Photography: Deja Jordan / Hair and Makeup: Katarina Van Derham / Model: Lydia Janko / Jewelry: Amlé

What inspired you to create Luxe Lady Fit?

There are many workout brands out there that are very nice and high quality, but I ultimately wanted to create something fancier- bougie if you must- for the women who prefer more than just basic looks and styles. My fitness couture is handmade in Los Angeles using the most exquisite materials, resulting in sophistication with a sexy allure. Many pieces include embellishments such as Swarovski crystals. They will be elegant and glamourous yet still functionable. I strive to provide the highest quality, most fashionable couture in activewear, performance and lifestyle, as there is no other workout brand I could find that lived up to the expectations I had in mind.

What are the struggles of starting your own line?

There are a lot of challenges when creating your own line; a lot of these challenges also go hand-in-hand with having your own business, in general. Some of these challenges include deadlines not being met and issues with products and manufacturing. There are so many different types of issues that can occur along the way. You pretty much learn as you go what works and what doesn’t. I have learned that it is very hands-on, as there is no exact route or method to follow. You have to really be aware of every little thing that is going on, checking in with people and making sure to follow up with everything and everyone constantly in order to get things done. Also, I have found that everyone has opinions on how you should be doing things. Everyone has different business advice, but the truth is, you cannot copy another person’s method 100% simply because it has worked for them. It’s great to listen to advice from others and soak up useful tips and information and to continue to network and connect with others, but ultimately, I think you just have to truly find what works for you and your brand. There is definitely a lot of trial and error, and there are many mistakes you learn from. The journey is all a learning and growing process in many ways.

Why only local merchants?

Many people choose to use sources overseas because it can be a lot less expensive. You often get more for your money; however, it often isn’t as high-quality. Things are generally done sloppier and at a much quicker pace in result. I chose to do all of my manufacturing locally because I want to ensure the brand’s quality and standards are met 100% within every garment. Everything we use is sourced and produced locally. I visited many manufacturing places before deciding on the perfect one for the beginning of my journey.

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Photography: Deja Jordan / Hair and Makeup: Katarina Van Derham / Model: Lydia Janko / Jewelry: Amlé

What’s still to come before Luxe Lady Fit Launches?

Right now, we’re finishing up the remaining samples for the first launch. For the very first launch, I’m planning on having 4 different sports bras with matching leggings and a top with a built-in sports bra. There is a lot that is still going on as far as production for some of the garments before they are ready. We have recently done a lot of fittings with different sized models and made a few more adjustments based on comfort and fit. When the manufacturing process as a whole is finished, we can move on to marketing. Then, we will finally launch the product and have garments available for customer purchase.

When are you planning to have Luxe Lady Fit officially launch?  

The goal is to have the first launch out by the middle/end of Summer! There are so many exquisite designs and pieces coming as well in future collections! I am more than excited for everything that is to come!


R E T R O, a Fashion Editorial

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