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Behind the brand: the duo creating on-trend and customisable ski gear

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After living in ski resorts for ten years and becoming frustrated at the lack of clothing that worked for them, Lesley and Stewart decided to set up We Are Horizontal and produce their own functional but on-trend ski gear. 

Behind the brand

The brand’s whole ethos is about taking practical skiwear and giving it an urban twist so it’s wearable every day. Their tag line is “so laid back” and this is evident in the designs; everything has a chilled, long, and baggy feel. Huge believers in the positive power of being outdoors, Stewart and Lesley have designed We Are Horizontal’s gear with the whole day in mind: they call it a “hybrid” as they’ve made sure it’s equally as suited to activity as it is to taking time out – “from the hill to enjoying a laid back chill”.

 

Images courtesy of Lesley and Stewart at We Are Horizontal

Business and leisure

It’s clear then that We Are Horizontal is a brand infused entirely with its founders’ personalities and preferences. With a background in printing and design and a clear love for an adventurous lifestyle, we couldn’t help but wonder if the decision to combine their professional and recreational lives was an easy one. Yes, says Lesley, it was a natural step. As mentioned, they were frustrated by the lack of clothing suited to their lifestyle, “be it not having zips to keep things in pockets to jackets not being long enough to stop sneaky snow getting in your pants!” Designing and printing had always been a hobby for Stewart and being able to take this to the next level and actually produce something wearable was great fun.

 

Images courtesy of Lesley and Stewart at We Are Horizontal

We Are Horizontal has always been hands on; Lesley told us how, as they lived in the mountains, they were able to test all the samples themselves and continue to alter them until they worked. They even used to hand crochet their beanies, so a night in with a movie and a crochet hook became a way of life for them! Now, their spare room is a design space and evenings are spent in there, creating mood boards and bouncing ideas off of one another.

 

But isn’t it hard to wind down after a long day at work if your favourite recreational activity is now your business? Not at all, according to Lesley. She finds that spending the evening working on the creative side of the business is like a release after a day of dealing with emails and admin and, whilst it can sometimes be hard to switch off, because they enjoy it so much work doesn’t overlap into recreational time as it’s what they would’ve been doing regardless.

 

Images courtesy of Lesley and Stewart at We Are Horizontal

Conscious conduct

Recently there’s been a massive surge in interest regarding visibility in apparel supply chains, and given how hands on Lesley and Stewart are in the design process of their garments it comes as no surprise that they’re also heavily involved in all stages of manufacturing. Stewart almost obsessively checks seams and zips and if there is a chance anything will cause water to get in he keeps designing and researching materials until it’s right. They often print orders themselves using their own heat press, sublimation printer, vinyl cutter, and screen print carousel. For larger orders, they use a manufacturer who sends daily updates and pictures of the process whenever they ask, and there are also live video feeds of the factory so they can ensure workers are being treated well. What’s more, they’ve just found a new fabric company who they’re working with for their next range to incorporate more ethically and environmentally friendly materials into the line. 

Images courtesy of Lesley and Stewart at We Are Horizontal

Sensible and stylish

With so much emphasis on technicality, We Are Horizontal could easily have fallen into the boring-but-functional category that they were founded to avoid. Fear not, though, because they have a fool-proof formula for ensuring their designs are never dreary. They start by ascertaining what they need the garment to do and sketch it out, then they assess future trends to see if they can be incorporated in any way. They attend a lot of shows about colour, texture, and trends for upcoming seasons so always have an acute awareness of what the market demand is likely to be, and also do a great deal of market research to find out what people want from their clothes which in turn influences the design. 

 

As their whole ethos is based around how laidback they are, their clothes always need to have an edge to them.  The recent surge in demand for “steezy” clothes - that is, style and ease - has really enabled them to appeal to their younger customers who always like something a bit quirky and different. Their USP captures this desire to be unique perfectly; they offer an interchangeable face mask which can be customised and is unsurprisingly very popular!

Images courtesy of Lesley and Stewart at We Are Horizontal

A word of advice...

Given their expertise in their industry and their awareness of current trends, it’s no surprise that they’ve forged links with so many university snow sports societies. Outside of snow sports, though, what advice can they offer to students hoping to break into the notoriously tricky fashion and apparel industries? Lesley sums it up perfectly:

 

Please don’t give up! It is hard and there will always be a hurdle to jump over but persistence pays off. We have had so many dodgy designs that failed but we learned from it and turned into a positive for the next design”.

 

If Lesley and Stewart’s passion for snow sports has caught your attention, you can check out their products here, and if you’d like to read about more up-and-coming brands then please take a look at the rest of our Behind the Brand series!

Lead image credit: Pixabay




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