If credentials alone guaranteed the success of a new label, Faherty Brand would be sitting pretty.
This story first appeared in the April 8, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The casual sportswear and swim brand, which launches Monday via an e-commerce site, was founded by Mike and Alex Faherty, identical twin brothers with résumés tailor-made for a fashion start-up. Mike, who heads up the creative aspects of Faherty Brand, racked up seven years of experience at Ralph Lauren, most recently as a senior designer at the Double RL division. Alex, who heads up the business side of the new company, was a vice president at private equity firm Cerberus Capital and a financial analyst at Greenhill & Co.
The duo, who are avid surfers and athletes, conceived Faherty Brand around their love of water and the beach. To that end, the brand is first launching with swimwear for women and men. In June, the offering will broaden to T-shirts, polo shirts, flannel shirts (called “the bonfire shirt” in the brand’s beach-centric parlance), sarongs and a reversible beach bag. Summer dresses will be available by July, and pants and sweatshirts will be added in the fall, all with a laid-back coastal vibe.
“We are happiest and most content at the beach. It’s a lifestyle that we love,” said Mike Faherty. “Our vision is to have a full range of categories from head to toe.” For spring 2014, the brothers plan to begin wholesaling the collection to retailers.
The women’s bikinis are sold as separates, so that customers can mix and match styles and sizes, with bottoms and tops each retailing for $85 to $95. There are solids and ethnic prints, such as Indian tie-dyes, an Indonesian plangi design and a Japanese-inspired indigo motif.
Men’s styles, also in prints and solids, include a boardshort and trunk, retailing from $140 to $165. The designs feature side pockets with drainage, a zippered back pocket and fully finished interior seams. Both the men’s and women’s swimwear, manufactured in Taiwan, are largely made from polyester materials incorporating recycled plastic bottles for an environmentally friendly impact.
Women’s is expected to account for about 70 percent of sales, and men’s is targeted at 30 percent.
The brothers, now 30, have always had the goal of creating a brand. Mike, who is more the fashion enthusiast of the two, wrote his college admissions essay to Washington University in St. Louis — where he studied design and played on the varsity basketball team — about his ambition to launch an apparel company. Alex graduated from Yale, where he played football, and left his job in finance last month to focus full time on Faherty Brand.
The brothers are bankrolling the company themselves, with a handful of small investments from family and friends. Tory Burch, who sent her three sons to the Allen-Stevenson School in New York, which the Fahertys also attended, has served as an unofficial adviser to the Fahertys, introducing them to industry contacts and connecting them to packaging and warehouse fulfillment companies.
The brothers also put their interior designer mother to work, decorating a mobile pop-up shop on wheels that will make the rounds of beach communities across the country this summer.