Style Spotlight: Zanna van Dijk & Sports Philosophy Founder, Stella Heng

Zanna van Dijk has been a friend of Active in Style’s for well over 2 years now, and in that time we have watched her go from an incredibly in-demand personal trainer who manages a nut butter addiction, to a household name in the UK fitness scene.

But don’t be fooled to think this all happened over night. Here is a girl who moved to London after graduating with a first class degree from The University of Sheffield to work 12-hour days training clients back to back – mainly other girl’s wanting to learn to love their bodies through mindfulness, and surprisingly, strength training (the very thing that jolted Zanna into the spotlight: a girl who had rarely exercised in uni, to a proud female lifter who wasn’t afraid to gain muscle).




Zanna then gained a following via Instagram and shortly after so too did her blog-come-lifestyle-website. Now she is working with the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, and busy being a Co-Founder of the incredibly popular #GirlsGains movement with her two best friends, Tally and Vic.

Yet when you strip it all away, Zanna is still the same girl who’s determined to inspire others to chase their dreams and maintain a balanced lifestyle. So, when we first caught wind of a potential Zanna van Dijk x Sports Philosophy collaboration, we instantly put our hands up to be one of the first stockists. Not only are we excited to support her on this venture, we are equally excited to support the ethos of Sports Philosophy, and their vision to manufacture and produce activewear ethically. Additionally, their Freedom of Children Foundation  shares a percentage of profits from each garment sold to raise awareness as well as research and implement projects in communities affected by child labour.

Just before the launch of the collection, I was lucky enough to catch up with Founder of Sports Philosophy, Stella Heng, as well as Zanna, to get the 4-1-1 on the collaboration, how it all came about, and what to expect from the exclusively Limited Edition ZVD X SP range.



Yay, congratulations on the amazing collaboration and the official launch of the Zanna van Dijk for Sports Philosophy. It’s official, the ZVD x SP capsule collection is about to be worn by amazingly inspirational women all of the country. Can you believe it? 

Zanna: Not quite!! It is so surreal to think that something which we have been working on for so long is finally going be available to the public. Half of me is excited and half of me is terrified. I can’t wait to see people wearing the kit; I think that is when the whole thing will really hit home.


Stella: Thank you! It’s pretty unbelievable – we’ve been working on this for about 6 months and to see the whole collection come together is incredible. We hope everyone will love it as much as we do and we can’t wait to see it in the Active in Style store!

When did you start the thought process around the collaboration? How did the partnership with Zanna come about? 

Stella: After launching our first collection, I started thinking of our next collections and exciting projects for the brand. That’s when I thought about doing a collaboration and who better with than someone who lives and breathes activewear. Zanna has supported Sports Philosophy from the start, even before we launched the brand and has been a great brand ambassador. So I approached her with our idea as she truly embodies our brand values – beautiful, stylish and inspiring; and to our delight she said yes!

What was your reaction when you got the call from Stella saying, “you could have your own activewear collection coming out?”

Zanna: I couldn’t really grasp the concept. Of course I said yes, but it took a few weeks for the reality of the situation to sink in. I soon became super excited about the whole thing and everywhere I looked I was gaining new inspiration and ideas for the pieces. I couldn’t wait to get sketching!




Who did you design the collection for? Was it more from a perspective of what you wanted to wear, or did you have a ZVD x SP wearer in mind? 

Zanna: I designed it based on my own experiences. As someone who lives and breathes fitness and quite literally wears activewear every single day, I wanted to create something which was wearable, comfortable and flattering. Something I could go to work in for a full 12-hour day and feel great. I wanted the pieces to be wearable by a whole host of women, from Yogis through to weight-lifters and any age. The simplistic and streamline design means that the pieces work for pretty much everyone.


In 3 words, can you describe the process in Portugal, and then maybe elaborate a bit on it… I can imagine a few unplanned things happened? 

Zanna: Fun, stressful, delicious… A bizarre selection I know, haha! It was fun in the sense that I got to have new experiences like going to a factory, working on the designs and trying on the prototypes.  It was stressful in that deadlines don’t seem to exist in Portugal so we were in the factory until late at night, literally eating and sleeping at the desk as we worked. It was delicious as we ate some incredible local foods and the family who owned the factory showed us all the foodie highlights!

Fun. Stressful. Exciting. We had a great time in Portugal but production is never a smooth process, with many hiccups along the way. As Zanna will agree, we spent days and nights in the factory working on the fit and cut of the pieces, so unfortunately for her, no sightseeing whatsoever. Maybe except for the owner’s farm and his humongous pig! But finally seeing the pieces slowly taking shape was extremely exciting.




What’s the biggest thing you can take away from this experience as an activewear designer? 

Zanna: I now look at activewear in a whole new way. After spending time looking into fabrics, stitching and production I have to admit that I have become bit of an activewear snob, haha! I know how to spot good quality pieces. I am now much more willing to fork out for quality over quantity when it comes to my fit kit, as I know the pieces will be comfortable and stand the test of time.

Tell us more about the Freedom for Children Programme and how Sports Philosophy are doing their bit to fight child labour and raise awareness of these hazardous conditions in the manufacturing industry around the globe?

Stella: Fighting child labour is at the core of Sports Philosophy, so this year we set up the Freedom for Children Foundation to raise awareness as well as research and implement projects in communities affected by child labour. We have kicked off our impact consultancy programme whereby we send individuals to carry out on the ground research, such as speaking to families and NGOs in the region. Following that, we will look to implement projects that we feel best deal with the issues and at least 10% of profits from Sports Philosophy will help fund those. We will also be hosting a variety of fund raising events, so keep an eye out for those!


Where to from here for Sports Philosophy… 

Stella: It’s been a crazy few months since the launch of Sports Philosophy and it’s unbelievable to see where the brand is at now, especially with this new collection. So we just hope to continue on this path, offer beautiful and exciting collections, as well as encourage and promote conscious living and corporate responsibility towards the communities we affect. And who knows, maybe another collaboration with Zanna in the near future, as we’ve really enjoyed working on this together!



If you haven’t already, you can follow Zanna on Instagram here, checkout her blog here, and also watch her weekly YouTube videos here. Yeah, you basically just follow her around the internet. Snapchat is a must too @zannavandijk. To also learn more about Sports Philosophy, be sure to checkout their full range here as well as all the information on the incredibly inspiring Freedom for Children Foundation. 
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