Meet the woman looking to shake up the martial arts clothing industry 

Wicked rose

When Christina Morrow first tried Muay Thai martial arts, she never imagined it would generate a business idea. 

But when she continually heard from her female teammates that they were wearing ill-fitting unisex clothing — or even extra-large kids’ items — she saw an opportunity.

“I really wanted to build something that was high quality and performance oriented in the same way that it is for men,” said Morrow, who, at the time, was still studying at the University of British Columbia. 

“There just wasn’t anything like that on the market.”   

In 2020, that wish became a reality when she launched Wicked Rose, an apparel line specifically designed for women in martial arts.

Wicked Rose

A unique style & fit 

Beginning with the basics, Morrow set out to create a rash guard, a long-sleeved, second-skin base layer worn in jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai shorts, and spats, which are lightweight, thin leggings that can be worn alone or under shorts or a gi. 

“Rash guards are supposed to be fitted, but when you’re wearing a men’s, it’s not contoured to the body,” she said, adding that they would often ride up or get caught on the mats. “We designed ours for women of all sizes and built a rubber waistband into our tops so they won’t move.” 

Wicked Rose

Similarly, when redesigning the spats, Morrow thought about what women needed: coverage. 

“We built a second layer of fabric into the thighs and butt so that they aren’t see-through,” she said, admitting it took years to perfect the balance between the preferable spat material and a fit that worked for women. “We also added a higher waistband because the men’s versions are always low-waisted.”

Ranging from size XS to 5XL, Wicked Rose was not only designed to fit women’s bodies, but the brand has its own unique look. 

Morrow works closely with a tattoo artist to design artwork that she incorporates into the pieces. She combines elements like roses, snakes, and tigers in bold graphic prints. 

Wicked Rose

“Martial arts is a very self-expressive kind of sport,” she said. “I just want women to see themselves as strong, empowered, and athletic when they wear these clothes.”

A Canadian-made, sustainably driven brand

Currently, Morrow works with a local women-owned manufacturer in British Columbia to produce Wicked Rose clothing, making the items both Canadian-made and more sustainable.

“We use a small-batch production model so that we aren’t wasting resources or fabric just to have piles of clothes sitting around,” she said. But, like many business owners will tell you, locally made products also pose some challenges. 

“It is hard to build a business when it’s ‘Made in Canada’ because there is a ceiling to what people are willing to pay for a product,” she said. “I want to make everything in Canada and customers appreciate it, but it’s not always easy.” 

As an added green touch, all clothing tags are plantable wildflower seeds, which Morrow says is just a small part of the brand trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible. 

“I want to be at the forefront of innovating in this industry,” she said, adding that she is exploring and talking to other companies experimenting with compostable or novel fabrics.

And while Morrow continues to think about more martial arts-specific clothes, she says Wicked Rose could extend beyond the niche. 

“I want Wicked Rose to be the next globally recognized, massive activewear brand that is woman-founded and is built on the tenets of self-expression, inclusivity, and athleticism,” she said. “I think it is so long overdue that a brand — specifically for women — listens to their wants, needs, and frustrations and actually takes action.”