For New York-based Ansea, a new direct-to-consumer surf-inspired lifestyle brand, the ways they are swimming against the current of the male-dominated action sports arena mean a number of things.
Sustainability, timeless style and simply — more women in charge.
“From an aesthetic point of view, we wanted something a little more elevated, more timeless, not trend-driven, not too juvenile,” said Abigail Lorick, cofounder and designer of Ansea. This warrants a partiality for timeless designs to be worn longer, over again and anywhere. Reversibility is a guiding theme in its 80-sku collection, created at its New York City and Los Angeles design outposts.
While marking a departure from seasonal calendars, to keep colors and styles rotating for its customer base, the brand will follow a drop cadence.
As with many in the business of selling swimwear or women’s intimates apparel, Ansea is building a narrative of inclusivity, speaking to all women as potential customers and counting a majority of its team as women. “We are definitely female-focused,” reiterated Lorick, who finds that the surf apparel market, and action sports in general, is still male-dominated.
Ansea currently produces in up to size XXL with plans to expand its size range further. All of its swimsuits are made of Econyl, a regenerated nylon fiber from the Italian firm Aquafil Group that uses waste material like fishing nets to produce the fabric. Yulex, a natural rubber alternative to Neoprene, is another sustainable fabric development.
But it’s not entirely a new feat, as brands such as Roxy under its pop surf collection, Australian brand Salt Gypsy and Tropic of C have produced swim with Econyl. But as for Yulex, a natural rubber material that replaces Neoprene, Lorick said: “Not many are using it. A lot of factories don’t know how to work with it,” she added. The first Yulex wetsuit was made by Patagonia in 2016.
Lorick sees the brand as filling a “white space,” which is why the opportunity drew in Solera.
The firm’s investments include Calypso St. Barth (relaunching in 2020), Latina Media Ventures LLC., and Annie’s — a company best known for organic macaroni and cheese and helping to mainstream the taste for organic.
“We really build leaders in growth sectors,” said Molly Ashby, who heads Solera Capital, a women-led private equity firm in New York, pointing to the early investment in the organic food space as an “analogy” to Ansea.
“A lot of the times, we have to do really tiny things, because often the world is not ready yet,” said Ashby, speaking on the firm’s strategy in taking very large ownership stakes in new brands. With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics being a global stage for the debut of the surfing sport, the timing seems right.
The brand is already taking a sustainability stance in little ways, too, in everything from fabrics to panty liners, having rejected the use of polybags and opting for compostable packaging.
Brick-and-mortar is part of the plan with Lorick saying that “pop-ups [are expected] towards the end of the year,” as a test in coastal cities.
“We’ve been thinking about the where, when, how,” said Ashby. The investment firm is also relaunching Calypso St. Barth this year and will work alongside Ansea’s executive team, which includes alumni from Nike and sustainable luxury brand Maiyet.
For More Sustainability News, See: