Koral Expands Into Men’s Activewear

For several years now, Los Angeles designer Ilana Kugel has been the creative drive behind the Koral label, which has been producing high-end, stylish activewear for women who value quality and design.

The label, launched in 2014 with the help of Ilana’s brother Marcelo Kugel as chief marketing officer, has been carried by fitness chain Equinox as well as other retailers.

The women’s label was so popular with women who work out that about one year ago Equinox’s buyers suggested that Koral take that same high-fashion edge and transfer it to menswear with a line that could go from the gym to work or be worn on weekends. “They wanted something that is exciting for men,” said Ilana, who grew up in Brazil and studied art and design at the Universidade Anhembi Morumbi.

This more fashionable outlook on men’s activewear goes hand in hand with the growing trendiness seen in men’s fashion as your everyday guy is more conscious about the way he dresses and looks. Even in the gym, men are donning well-made leggings worn under shorts and sporting sweatshirts that go beyond the standard hoodie with a drawstring. “The male consumer is becoming more fashion conscious, like women,” Marcelo said.


Ilana and Marcelo Kugel standing alongside the pre-Fall collection

The Spring/Summer menswear line, with 18 SKUs, shipped with mostly basic colors, but the more expansive pre-Fall line with 70 SKUs has brighter neon colors integrated into it plus camouflage fabric for bomber jackets and joggers.

The No. 1 seller in the past for the women’s side of the business has been a shiny black legging, which can be worn day or night. That same legging is being integrated into the men’s line with a wide band at the top and retails for $120.

Ilana said she is using high-end Italian polyester for most of the menswear line as well as a thin scuba-like fabric made of polyester and spandex that is seen in the label’s sweatpants and sweatshirts. There are also shorts with a stretch short underneath built into the garment.

The camouflage bomber jacket and matching joggers are made of polyester, which is soft to the touch. Then there are the puffer sweatshirts that have a crew neck and can be paired with slacks or jeans for a more day-to-day look.

Everything is machine washable, which is ideal for people on the go. “I’m aware that we are all busy,” Ilana said. “I try to make it as easy as I can.”

The pre-Fall line will launch April 30 and be carried exclusively by Equinox for three months as well as at Then the Fall line, with plaid bomber jackets and shades of yellow, will kick off July 30 and be carried on a wider scale, with Neiman Marcus as one of the first department stores to stock it.

The line, whose retail prices range from $80 to $300. If the Koral name sounds familiar, it’s because Peter Koral, a co-founder of the 7 For All Mankind premium-denim brand, is a partner.

Koral and the Kugels got together after Ilana launched a resort and swimwear line called Koral Swimwear. At the time, Peter Koral had a denim line called Koral Los Angeles that he started in 2012 with his son David Koral.

The Koral Swimwear name caught Peter Koral’s attention, and he connected with Ilana Kugel. He loved her designs, and instead of hashing out who got to keep the name the two decided to join forces.