Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles talking about LAIRD Apparel and its roots in the fitness lifestyle. Waterman Laird Hamilton and fitness icon Gabby Reece inspired the brand which focuses on functional performance apparel. We spoke with CEO Jennifer Arrache about the brand, the mission, and the launch of the new women’s line, GABBY.
Q: Let’s start with a little background on LAIRD Apparel – tell us about the company’s mission and your unique positioning in the market.
A: LAIRD Apparel was founded for someone who, like Laird, grew up adventuring, tinkering, training, and pushing limits. We create clothing that allows you to feel authentic, while acknowledging your busy day-to-day life. Performance materials and quality fabrication are the cornerstones of our collections. From there, we have built capsules with core, interchangeable items so that you can be ready for anything.
Q: What are some of the ways that Laird and Gabby’s commitment to a fitness lifestyle shows up in your product lines?
A: Laird and Gabby are authentic in their mission to make physical fitness a part of every day. They might not always be able to do a two-hour pool workout, but they always find time to do something. As a busy working mother, that really resonates with me, and we aim to create versatile clothing that allows for functionality and performance.
Q: Tell us about how the men’s assortment has grown to include not just functional performance wear, but also performance-inspired casual wear?
A: While our company was based in board shorts and performance shirts, we have seen that our LAIRD man is working out, going to work, and then coaching his kids’ sports practice. He lives a busy life. Maybe some days, the closest he gets to surfing is watching Surfline on his second screen at work. We want him to still feel comfortable and connected to his performance and sports passions. We also don’t think he needs to be a “different guy” at work. Now he can go to work in pants and shirts made from his favorite board short material. This also captures the spirit of Laird. There is not a version of Laird Hamilton where you find him in a three-piece suit. He is always ready for adventure.
Q: Now, you’re poised to launch GABBY, a women’s line. How does Gabby’s fitness background shape the line?
A: Gabby is an icon. Full stop. She is a wife. She is a mother. She was the first female athlete to design a shoe for Nike. She will out-train anyone who works out with her. Fitness is part of every day for her. She needs pieces that are designed to keep up. Our first collection, which drops this month, is full of authentically Gabby workout pieces that allow her to out-squat, out-lift and out-run anyone.
Q: When and where will we see the GABBY lineup?
A: The teaser assortment “Stolen from the Men’s Collection” launched earlier this month on our website. This collection takes materials from our most popular men’s items – the ISLAND Pro Performance Short and our QUATTRO T-Shirts – and reimagines them for a woman’s fit. The first full drop lands June 23rd and includes performance items such as leggings, sports bras and fitted tank tops. All items are sold exclusively online at lairdapparel.com.
Q: How do you anticipate the GABBY line will grow in coming seasons? And where will that take the company?
A: As with our men’s line, we will grow the women’s line to include apparel that fits all aspects of our woman’s busy life – from her intense workout to her day at the office to her kids’ volleyball practice to her much-needed vacation. Regardless of whether we are talking about our man or our woman, we all want the same thing: to work hard, to train hard, to out-perform, and to look forward to the next adventure.
Q: What do you see for the future of the company?
A: As we grow both lines, I am excited to continue to support the next generation of athletes and adventurers. We have met so many men and women around the world doing fascinating things – in both work and sport. I value their input and hope to empower them as they tackle their everyday.
Click here to learn more about Laird Apparel and the story behind the brand.