Portland Athleisure Brand Sania Marie Is Inspired by Women’s Strength

Alaina and Laphael Knight’s clothing line is designed for the do-it-all boss lady who loves to laugh.

By Jagger Blaec December 29, 2020 Published in the Winter 2020/2021 issue of Portland Monthly

Alaina Knight is no stranger to balancing the demands of life with self-care, and her luxury women’s line, Sania Marie, is living proof.

Alongside husband Laphael Knight, she founded the Portland clothing brand in 2019 after she decided to leave a corporate position in finance to give her daughter, who has an anxiety disorder, more one-on-one time.

Knight suddenly found herself in the newly minted position of being a full-time stay-at-home mom and homeschool teacher. It was then she realized she needed cute, comfortable clothes that could fit into the lifestyle and aesthetic of a busy homemaker as well as her fitness routine. (Little did she know how many other people would suddenly find themselves with homeschool duties one year later.) After being disappointed by bland designs, the couple began creating their own apparel line and named it after their 9-year old daughter. Knight calls the company her daughter’s “legacy.”

“I wanted to create clothes that were empowering to women, clothes that accentuated a woman’s curves, that a woman could express herself,” she says.

Sania Marie’s wares include high-quality leggings, hoodies, athletic wear, dresses, swimwear, accessories, and loungewear.

Like the real Sania Marie, the designs are eye-catching and cute, including floral patterns, gradient colors, and abstract portraits inspired by femininity.

Knight describes Sania Marie’s typical customer as someone who, like Knight, loves to laugh. She would also consider her to be a boss lady who is “doing it all,” whatever that may mean. For Knight, that includes impromptu fashion shows with her daughter by day and brainstorming designs at night with her husband.

“You know, if you ask my husband, he may say some of his designs he draws from looking at me,” she says. “My daughter gives me inspiration. The beauty of a woman, especially a Black woman. There’s just so much empowerment in that Black woman—in her face, in her body. Just the strength of a woman—all of that draws inspiration.”

As she continues to juggle her roles as a stay-at-home parent, homeschool teacher, and now as an owner of Sania Marie, Knight says setting aside time for self-care is more important than ever. Her schedule also includes mommy-and-daughter yoga time, decked out in Sania Marie apparel.

“Every day is demanding,” she says. “The time I take for self-care provides a moment for me to just relax and refocus all of my energy internally, revitalizing and rejuvenating myself to create that perfect balance.”

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