LukaFit Is A Black-Owned Fitness Brand Empowering Women Of Color To Workout
By DeAnna Taylor
Mbali Ndlovu was born and raised in New York City. After starting on her own fitness journey, she realized there weren’t many brands out there that catered to curvy women.
About a year and a half ago, she created her brand, Lukafit. We had the chance to speak with her to learn more about the company and the meaning behind the name.
Travel Noire: How was Lukafit born?
Mbali: When I became more serious about my health a few years ago, I created a meetup group called Black Health & Fitness Sisters for women like me who were looking for workout buddies and accountability. It started with a few members in Brooklyn but eventually, over 1000 women joined from all across NYC.
As I spoke to group members over the years, I noticed everyone kept saying that they felt overlooked and excluded by bigger fitness brands. I realized so many of our needs aren’t being met by the health + wellness industry, which affects everything from your experience being the only Black woman at your yoga class to trying on leggings with measurements that don’t take your hips and thighs into account.
So, I slowly built up the courage to do something about it. I wanted to create a “for us, by us” activewear brand that truly celebrated and supported all the fabulous women of color I’ve met along with my own health + wellness journey.
TN: What does Lukafit mean?
Mbali: As an ode to my South African heritage, the name Lukafit is partially derived from the Zulu word juluka, which means to sweat. Sweating releases “feel good” endorphins, detoxifies the body and gives you a healthy glow, so we encourage women to sweat a lot!
TN: Why is it important to have a brand like this for Black women?
Mbali: When it comes to our health and fitness and body goals, it’s incredibly important for us to see a diverse range of what “healthy” and “fit” look like.
Black women are also very loyal customers, but a lot of brands we support don’t support us back. It’s important for us to be acknowledged when we play a significant role in the success of a lot of companies we patronize. So if the other brands don’t want to offer up a seat at the table, we should bring our own chair. It actually presents a big opportunity for us to support more Black-owned brands, just like Blavity, Travel Noire, and Lukafit.
TN: What’s next for you and Lukafit?
Mbali: We’re designing more unique workout clothing that women can workout confidently in and look amazing in. More specifically, we’re launching shorts this summer and new designs later this year!
TN: What’s your most popular item?
Mbali: Our coral leggings, also my personal favorite, are selling out really quickly right now.
TN: Where can we find you online?
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.