The Yak interviews Maria-Rosa Vyskocil, the Amsterdam born and raised owner behind athletic-wear brand House of Gravity. Images: Marieke Rizvi.
Maria-Rosa, how did you came up with the idea to start your active wear brand House Of Gravity?
The life of the modern woman today is all about multi-tasking – and athletic wear fits that life, whether it’s morning yoga, meetings or having coffee with friends, right up to a run in the park at the end of the day. We are living a more conscious and healthier lifestyle and you see this influence in fashion.
High heels and dresses are being swapped for athletic wear. I was looking for a high quality athletic brand that I could also wear outside the gym. This was so hard to find that I decided to start one myself. An athletic fashion brand with high-end fabrics and feminine designs. At the end of last year, I started with the plans and ideas and this year House of Gravity was born.
You obviously workout can you give us a quick insight into your daily/weekly routine?
I started to adopt an active lifestyle when I was living in Hong Kong. Every workday I started with a yoga class followed by an hour of kick boxing or muay thai. During the weekends we always went for a long and intensive hike in the nature around Hong Kong. Now I’m back in Singapore I love to start my day with a run. I live next to a park full of tropical flowers and there is no better way to start my day than with a run under the palm trees. I combine this with a few hot and Hatha yoga classes a week. I’ll do the same when I’m traveling to my hometown, Amsterdam. I get a lot of energy from a city run through the Vondelpark. This feels like home for me. When I’m in a workout routine I feel so good but I struggle to get back to a routine after traveling or during hectic times. For me in terms of a workout it’s all or nothing.
Dietary regimes. What are yours?
The first thing I do in the morning is prepare half a litre of celery juice with fresh lemon and ginger in the slow juicer. I’ll take this together with my supplements. This gives me energy to start the day. I feel good when I eat healthy and clean but I like to stay away from anything dogmatic so I am not going to preach about my healthy lifestyle. I believe that healthy eating is a relative term and I do what feels good for me. I believe that balance is the key. One of my favorite things in life are dinners with friends, good conversation and lots of wine. I love a fresh baked croissant on a Sunday morning, to make homemade pasta and treat myself with French fries when I feel like it. Balance is the key for a happy and healthy lifestyle. When I decide to go for an unhealthy option I do it consciously, then I will enjoy it even more.
What does the name House of Gravity stands for?
A holistic lifestyle isn’t a quick hype any more and the interest is growing among many of us. Due to our fast and digitized life we are always “on” and we are getting more need for a balance in the gravity between body, mind and soul. A lifestyle that is much more than a healthy food regime and exercising alone. The taboo on a spiritual lifestyle is breaking open. When we are not constantly stressed we are in better contact with our intuition. There will appear a power of vulnerability from where we can really connect with ourselves. We are “checking in” with ourselves. Then you can embrace all aspects of yourself. Making time for self-care is becoming increasingly important for a happy and healthy life style.
Did your life in Asia inspire you to set up House of Gravity?
It is no coincidence that we find greater rest and inner peace through mediation and yoga, which have their origins in Asia. As humans, you are not only physical but also energetically and spiritually in contact with the greater whole. Asians believe in the wholeness of the universe. The well-known Ying (female energy) and Yang (male energy) are Chinese concepts that refer to two opposing principles. They are not contradictions, but primarily complementary (mutually complementary) values. They believe that there are no absolute poles such as good and bad; both values have only a right to exist in relation to each other and this beautiful way of thinking actually says that everything is good as it is.
And your own personal development in mind and spirit?
I’m happy when I feel content and connected to myself. It’s not always easy to reach such a feeling. Especially when you have to face your own struggles or when you are in survival mode. I have a restless mind and this combined with a hectic life makes it even more difficult for me. I think you always have to be open to soul searching and living in awareness. I find it a constant struggle of pulling myself back in the here and now and finding (and keeping) my balance. It helps if I meditate. Once a week I go to the spa for a massage and I’ll go for a long walk along the beach by myself. I really need this to recharge and stay connected to myself. By pausing and focusing on just me I stand still by who I am, what’s going on and what I need at that very moment in my life.
What is your connection with Bali?
I feel so good when I’m in Bali and there is no other place where I feel more connected to myself. I visit Bali at least four times a year and it feels like a second home to me. The beauty of the island goes way deeper than the tropical appearances and idyllic beaches. The island is home to many cultural traditions and it’s the most artistic and spiritual place. It has such a cool and creative vibe. The Balinese create art wherever and whenever possible
‘When I’m in Bali …. ‘ describe your ideal day.
My ideal day in Bali starts with a sunrise run or walk through the rice fields and breakfast at Café Organic. This is also my favorite place to work from with a view over the paddy fields. Then it would be a yoga class in Canggu and a coffee stop at Coffee & Coconuts (set up by a Dutch couple). For a good massage my favorite place is Eden Holistic & Lifestyle spa. In the afternoon, I hang out at the beach of the Alila resort or pool at Planta Villa (both my favorite places to stay). For lunch, I always go to Bali Buddha and my favourite dinner spot is Sardine, which has the most stunning view. For cocktails the best place is the Rock Bar at the Ayana resort.
How do you see your brand developing?
My dream is to make a well-known international athletic brand. Last month I started with wholesale of the first collection. It went so well that everything was sold earlier than expected. I’m happy and it’s a luxury problem but now I need to work on a second collection earlier than planned. We will launch at high-end department stores and the beginning of next year we hope to open our first brand store as well. Overall you can also expect a lot of collaborations with self-care and lifestyle brands.
Describe your brand House of Gravity in under 15 words.
Athletic fashion with a feminine design that you love to wear all day long.
Lastly, do you have any words of advice or tried-and-tested quotes that you live by that you would care to share?
It’s a quote from Rachel Brathen. “Balance is key. In everything you do. Dance all night long and practice yoga the next day. Drink wine but don’t forget your green juice. Eat chocolate when your heart wants it and kale salad when your body needs it. Wear high heels on Saturday and walk barefoot on Sunday. Live high and low. Move and stay still. Embrace all sides of who you are and live your authentic truth! Be brave and bold and spontaneous and loud and let that complement your abilities to find silence and patience and modesty and peace. Aim for balance. Make your own rules and don’t let anybody tell you how to live according to theirs.”
Pictues by Marieke Rizvi