Terrae's sustainable activewear is modelled after its partners’ love of form, function and community

The home-grown clothing brand is making strides in comfort, mindfulness and inclusion.

Azalea (left) and Chia (Photo: Shahrill Basri/ The Edge Malaysia)

All grey clouds have a silver lining. If there is one good thing that has emerged from the pandemic, it would be an increased interest in health and fitness. These trends are reflected in all aspects of life, from the food we eat and content we consume to the clothes we wear. For reasons of practicality and comfort, athleisure has never proven more popular. Helmed by Azalea Marzuki and Jenn Chia, local label Terrae encapsulates the primary appeal of activewear while paving the way for sustainable wearables.

Launched in July 2020 by Azalea and her previous business partner who has since left the company, Terrae was born out of a love for fashion and a desire to redefine the role clothing plays in daily life and environmental upkeep.

Activewear became Terrae’s focus for its versatility and usefulness in everyday life.“It’s something everyone can wear,” Azalea remarks. “Fashion can be tricky. Not everyone will want to rock a really complex top, for example. With activewear, people of all body types and style preferences can don and live in it.”

“I’ve always been interested in creating wearable art for people,” says the former fashion design student. “But when I started working for big brands, I realised the reality of the industry was so different from what I had imagined. I also didn’t like how they treated the people making the clothes and how much waste was produced in the process. I thought, ‘Why do we have to create clothes at the expense of people and the planet?’”


Terrae was born out of a love for fashion and a desire to redefine the role clothing plays in daily life and environmental upkeep (Photo: Terrae)

Operating an eco-conscious brand is by no means an easy feat. Azalea notes that pricing and sourcing for materials have always been a challenge for the creatives behind the brand. “People often compare us to fast fashion corporations and question our prices. I think there’s a huge disconnect between the brand and the product in these cases.”

Sourcing materials that perform as well as they look is another tedious part of the creation process. “We work exclusively with recycled fabrics for our activewear,” Azalea explains. “It’s really hard to find that perfect balance of compression, breathability, comfort and stretch.”

Great obstacles are usually followed by great achievements. For Azalea, one of the most notable has been the new partnership with Chia. Forged in 2023, it all began with a white tennis dress. Dubbed the “Yes Dress”, it had initially been sent as a PR gift to Chia, who many may know best for her entertaining and inspiring social media content on @soimjenn, much of which is related to health and fitness.

“During the pandemic, I really got into activewear because I was working out a lot and it became part of my daily wardrobe,” says Chia. “My friends suggested I start my own brand, but I didn’t want to do it alone. So, I sat on it for a very long time. I didn’t want to slap my name on just anything. I wanted something with meaning.

“When I first saw the Yes Dress, I thought it was really cute, but then I worked out in it and fell in love with how it fit and looked on me. I felt like there was something really special here that I wanted to be part of.”


For Azalea, one of the most notable has been the new partnership with Chia (Photo: Shahrill Basri/ The Edge Malaysia)

Now, you may be wondering, what makes Terrae unlike any other activewear brands on the market? To answer the question, it would be the label’s materials, namely TerraForm, TerraFlow and TerraFlex. Crafted from fibre waste, recycled plastic bottles, discarded fishing nets and landfill-bound fabric scraps, these textiles are designed to be lightweight, buttery soft and enduring. For very active individuals, especially those who practically live outdoors, activewear can have a relatively short lifespan compared to regular clothes which undergo much less wear and tear. Terrae’s mission to turn existing waste into high-quality products meant to last longer with the help of ethical suppliers makes the clothing truly guilt-free and eco-conscious.

Additionally, as the current mindset towards fitness becomes more holistic and wellness-oriented, Terrae’s core values reflect the direction of this changing landscape, clearly seen in the brand’s dedication to body inclusivity and community engagement.

“When we started, all our models were our friends,” Azalea reveals. “They represented regular, real-life people. When people see campaigns featuring body types similar to theirs, they can actually envision themselves in the clothing. It was never a decision we had to consciously make — it just felt right to feature our loved ones at the centre of our campaigns.”

Chia agrees, adding that these values are “the core of [Terrae’s] creative process. Inclusivity is something we truly believe in and, hopefully, we can keep pushing these boundaries”.

This expands beyond just clothing design. As Terrae continues to grow, the partners look forward to consistently innovating with a human-centric approach.


Unafraid of being at the forefront of this shifting environment, Terrae remains committed to cultivating a brighter future, starting with its own products (Photo: Terrae)

“Our responsibility as a brand is not only to educate customers but also give back to society,” Azalea comments. “We hope to host more community events and collaborate with non-profits to foster greener lifestyles.”

The age of the quick fix is coming to an end in fitness and fashion realms alike. Unafraid of being at the forefront of this shifting environment, Terrae remains committed to cultivating a brighter future, starting with its own products.

“Our long-term goal is to evolve our current linear production model and make it more circular, wherein we collect our old, lesser-worn pieces and remake them into newer ones that can be loved again,” says Azalea.

This steely determination does not have to mean compromising on design and aesthetics, which are key to ensuring modern customers love and feel good in what they wear. In fact, several exciting projects are on the horizon — fans of the brand can expect flared Y2K-style leggings and a never-revealed-before bag soon.

That said, every article of Terrae clothing is made to accompany wearers through their personal fitness journeys and stand the test of time.

“Even though we love trends, we aren’t trying to chase and keep up with the latest fashions,” Chia states. “We love that when it comes to wellness and exercise, things are becoming more sustainable. As a brand, we really support this because ultimately, our goal is to empower people to move more while looking and feeling good at the same time.”


This article first appeared on Feb 19, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.

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