Nadia and Stevie, in AT singlets, pictured with models in Active Truth gear.

Queensland mums changing the face of plus-size fitness wear

News Corp Australia

MEET the Queensland mums changing the face of exercise gear.

It's a fashion industry dominated by flat stomachs and posed photos that are meant to be all about #fitspo and #healthyliving.

But the industry's popular image has been accused of locking out women who don't fit the toned, taut Instagram ideal - and it's on that premise that Active Truth is gaining fans across Australia. 

The Brisbane business was founded less than two years ago by Stevie Angel and Nadia Tucker.

The fitness fans created Active Truth while they were both on maternity leave because they saw a major gap in clothing as simple as fitness tights - there was nothing for pregnant women and little to nothing in larger sizes.

So, they decided to make their own. Active Truth stocks gear in sizes 6-26 and makes specially-designed exercise tights for pregnant women.

"We make it for everybody and it's really important to us that we have included everybody," Nadia said. 

🌸 Turning heads in Full Bloom 🌸

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The no-brainer business idea has touched a nerve among Aussie women and put the former corporate workers years ahead of their small-business growth goals.

"When we speaking to women, we knew there was definitely a need," Nadia said. 

"But when we were speaking to professionals about starting up the business...even speaking to different manufacturers... they were all so dismissive."  

Stevie said the need for inclusive, well-designed activewear was obvious. 

"We always thought 'well no-one else is doing it, are we missing something?

"We started on a super, super small budget

"Really quickly, we saw that there was a response.

Both women have now left their old jobs to work on the business fulltime and one Brisbane factory manufacturers exclusively for them.

It's a long way from the two tub of tights that Stevie and Nadia began with in May 2016. 

The company worked with plus-size and pregnant models to show off their gear and their social media pages are full of models who aren't represented on other fitness wear pages.

The inclusive sizing has had some unintended, if not entirely unexpected, effects.

"People write to us and say their life has changed," Nadia, a former lawyer, said.

"I still get blown away every day by the emails we get."

Stevie, who previously worked in communications, said feedback from women buying their tights had blown her away. 

She said the popular image of picture-perfect models wasn't necessarily motivating for busy women who are trying to be active in a busy life. 

"I've always, even as a teenager I guess, been bothered by the way that women put themselves down."

"Not just about how they look in size, but about how they're performing in their life.

"Women don't give themselves enough credit for what they're doing."

Aussie celebs have helped boost the brand. Zoe Foster-Blake gave them a shoutout in Instagram in a round-up of her favourite things that got her through her second pregnancy. Mia Freedman also recommended them in a podcast earlier this year. 

I didn’t wear overalls last pregnancy and I feel like such a friggen dunce. They’re the best! I live in them! Waistbands can suck a doz! Because A) I always want recommendations and therefore assume everyone else does, and B) maternity attire, generally speaking, sucks, here’s some other preggo clothing I thrash: 🤰🏻Active Truth tights - over the bump, with thick, flattering fabric. Bought in first tri and they're growing happily with me. Nice maternity active wear is impossible to find: why? Come on Lulu/Nike et al – preggos exercise too 🤰🏻Bendon crop top - the classic not-super-flattering-but-very-comfy-crop top (I tried the CK one to be cool but it cut in and pissed me off) and Bonds maternity bras 🤰🏻Bras N Things Lucile Bralette because the last thing these tatas need is padding. And all wire-free bras are padded. Why? Bought one in each colour 🤰🏻Seed denim (the elastic waist ones but in a size up, they're a good ankle-skimming length and skinny shape, and also the drop crotch soft denim ones) and also Ripe Maternity denim, the black skinny leg ones 🤰🏻Overalls - mine are Hatch x Current Elliot, which I bought online with some other Hatch stuff that I’m yet to wear, in honesty 🤰🏻ASOS maternity and ZARA for basic tees and little cheapie fun smock dresses 🤰🏻Bassike tees and soft cotton pants 🤰🏻Kookai for stretchy tight dresses - cotton for summersies; wool for wintersies – great as a skirt over tights, or with heels HA HA AS IF, on toast etc etc 🤰🏻 Horrible dressing gown from the fiery depths of hell ✋️Bah! That'll do. Worth noting only a couple of these are dedicated maternity items. Hey, maternity fashion, be better! (You too, wedding shoes. You were AWFUL.)

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The high-quality tights get orders from across the country, including to plenty of regional shoppers. 

"We have a huge regional customer base," Nadia said. 

Stevie said word of mouth had helped get their tights out to small towns. 

"You'd see someone buy a pair from Wodonga, and then like a week later there'd be three more orders from Wodonga," she said. 

"We be like I think that person's just gone and told all their friends'." 

Last month the business signed on as a corporate partner with the charity Share The Dignity. 

They recently also took out the Retail Business Award at this year's AusMumpreneur awards in Sydney. 

Their growth has been so rapid that what comes next is still is an exciting unknown. 

"I think we both had the realisation that yep... people want this," Stevie said. 

"We actually can take this so much bigger than we originally planned."