Alissa Benishai, designer of Phat Buddha yogawear.
A dressing-room mishap led designer Alissa Benishai to create Phat Buddha, a line of activewear that includes the popular glitter workout capris. Taking what could have been just an embarrassing moment, Alissa turned the experience into a brand that fuses design and function, perfect for the studio or on the go. We chatted with Alissa about how Phat Buddha came to be.
SHOPBOP: Tell us about how Phat Buddha got its start.
ALISSA BENISHAI: Upon completing my Bikram Yoga training in Hawaii, I returned to NYC as my thinnest self ever. Excited to begin my training as an instructor, I needed a new wardrobe to go with my new svelte status! It was this shopping debacle that launched Phat Buddha. You see, when I attempted to remove a size small top that I was trying on at a retail store, I got stuck in the garment! Taking matters into my own hands, I tapped into the expertise of those who had already built greatness, including real estate mogul Jack Guttman, and my mom, a fashion genius. Phat Buddha was born, a one-size-fits most, seamless, fashion-forward luxury brand, with affordable pricing.
SB: Describe your personal style in three words or less.
AB: Homeless chic.
SB: What is the most rewarding part of your day?
AB: Giving back. My mentors, including fashion tycoon Elie Tahari, have taught me that to achieve fulfillment, one must give back what was so freely given to them. I wake up every day loving what I do because I know, in the end, it is ultimately helping people. I always find time to mentor young entrepreneurs and do charity work because it makes me feel grateful for what I have. I struggled along the way, and there have been those who have helped me become what I am today. I couldn't be more grateful, and the only way to repay them is to help those in need.
Shopbop Exclusives: Phat Buddha Jane Glitter Workout Capris and the Phat Buddha Lafayette Tank.
SB: When you’re your own boss, it can be hard to strike a balance between work and play. How do you do it?
AB: Well, I've already played. I grew up in NYC and enjoyed that part of my life already. Today, I thrive on surrounding myself with family, good friends, and the knowledge that my "day of rest" comes at the end of each week. I do enjoy music and singing, which engage my creativity.
SB: If you could design anything other than yoga wear, what would it be and why?
AB: I would not design anything else. Phat Buddha is an extension of me.
Shop Phat Buddha.