The ‘beautiful tough’ philosophy behind Respect Your Universe

Athletic apparel brand RYU opens its flagship store in Kitsilano

November 25, 2015

By Ashley Sparrow

This Friday (Nov. 27), RYU will open its flagship doors in the heart of West 4th Avenue’s stretch of active lifestyle shops. Formerly an MMA apparel brand, RYU’s new ‘beautiful tough’ philosophy found its inspiration on the shores of Spanish Banks. While out for a run, Juliet Korver (RYU’s product and design director) was inspired by a fellow runner who stood out from the sea of uniformly dressed athletes. “She was beautiful, tough and disruptive,” recalls Korver. “Wearing what looked like her boyfriend’s t-shirt and a pair of loose-fitting university gym shorts. She looked so cool and confident. She was running to run. Not to fit in.”

Thus the concept behind RYU was born: an anti-uniform that isn’t cluttered, overbuilt or in jellybean colours. The engineers behind the brand have translated the cool, relaxed style of their Spanish Banks inspiration and added technical features for kick-ass athletic performance. Fabrics that wick sweat and hold their shape are constructed into garments with clean lines and modern cuts. “We’re making it tough enough for your hardest workout and beautiful enough to fit your life outside of training,” says Korver.

Helping steward the brand’s reinvention is its new CEO and president Marcello Leone, who comes with serious sartorial street cred as the offspring of fashion royalty Maria and Alberto Leone. While RYU may not sport the same crystal chandeliers and designer handbags found in the family’s eponymous boutique, RYU’s Kitsilano emporium promises a two-level, 5,700-sq.-ft. knock-out featuring a nutrition bar and community space along with reams of comfy clothes that promise to give the other lifestyle contenders in the hood (we’re looking at you Lululemon and Reigning Champ), well, a run for their money.

RYU Grand Opening, November 27
1745 W 4th Avenue, 1-844-535-2880,



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