My first interview with the founder and head designer of Le Fash®, Arianna Vastino, took place in the spring of 2015. I had recently purchased a pair of breeches and two long sleeve shirts and found that not only the design of each piece, but the level of detail and fit was unprecedented from any item I had previously owned from an equestrian label. The quality rivaled more of what I would find in Saks. Arianna's look had preserved tradition yet pushed the barre of delivering a more fashion forward style. Additionally, she had forecasted the longevity of the “athleisure” trend that was gaining acceptance and popularity from studio to street (thank you Lululemon!) and was an innovator in designing a collection that was appropriate for stable or street. As a personal testament, my timeless Le Fash breeches are now four years old and have yet to see a horse as I save them for dinner's out or important meetings.
Recently, I was surprised when Le Fash announced via social media that the brand was launching a curated Lifestyle collection featuring designs and products with other labels. My first thought was, “How can a talented designer with such a strong label diversify into starting a boutique featuring other brands?” My second thought, was “I have the book in the photo, this could be great…but I hope Arianna is not ceasing to design!”
Upon clarification from Arianna, The Lifestyle collection uses her skillset developed during many years as a stylist to curate special equestrian influenced home and accessory items that compliment Le Fash's primary clothing line. For my other fellow Le Fash lovers, don’t worry…. Arianna has additional Le Fash styles in production and the brand only continues to grow in strength!
Read below for this week's interview with Arianna discussing her vision for Le Fash Lifestyle, her collection for 2019 and insight into the future of her popular label.
ENTREPRENEUR (INNOVATOR) TO ADMIRE
Name of Company: Le Fash®
Entrepreneur: Arianna Vastino
You are known as the fashion designer in the industry that introduced the “Stable to Street” look to fashion. What inspired you to fulfill this needed niche in the market and how have you seen it evolve?
I wanted to create equestrian lifestyle clothing for my brand. As equestrians, we live and breathe horses and women today wear many hats. It was an essential need in our market to create clothing that would fit into both of these types of lifestyles. Working in the high fashion industry for many years, I saw what a huge influence equestrianism has in the fashion world. It was even more apparent to me that creating clothing that could be worn not only to ride, but also as every day wear, was much needed. I also liked the idea of wardrobing yourself in products you can wear many places, not just one.
The athleisure trend in the entire fashion industry has made a huge impact over the last several years. I like to think that in our market “stable to street” wear is our type of athleisure- clothing that looks great, is comfortable and can move with you in all aspects of your life. Our newest Paulo Alto Collection we are now selling for golf and tennis, as well as riding.
I am very happy to see this movement catch on after our launch 7 years ago and am excited to see how equestrian clothing has evolved into performance wear for in and out of the ring.
Le Fash NY has had tremendous success, specifically in its iconic color/pattern blocked short and long sleeve shirts. What do you attribute their popularity, too?
When we launched our brand, there was a much needed update and desire for something new. Riding clothing was very basic- cotton shirts and fits that didn’t allow for performance or movement.
Our color blocked shirts were the first to give the traditional look for the show ring but with comfort and performance fabrics underneath. People also liked how they were fitted without constriction and looked slimming when their jacket was off. I like to think I helped to make riding clothes cool again.
The plaids and patterns were something we brought back from older show shirt styles- and were very much doubted for a come back- but fashion is cyclical and now the patterns are what we are known best for. I love that.
I also pride Le Fash products on being innovative - we don’t just copy what we see from other brands which, unfortunately, is what we see a lot of in our market. I think people like to buy from us because we generally love our products, test them on ourselves, who are riders, as well as top riders. We listen to the needs of the industry. We don’t just make things look pretty- we are functional wear that is engineered for riders first and foremost.
The big question many of your customers have been asking is “Why you started an equestrian lifestyle boutique that features and welcomes other designers?” Can you explain what prompted your diversification?
Le Fash Lifestyle was an idea I was concocting for about a year. I always like to reinvent the brand and keep things fresh and exciting. I was a fashion stylist for years and many people love how our campaign shoots are styled with accessories from other brands. I thought this could be a great opportunity to bring that idea to our customers- accessories for the home and the equestrian lifestyle that can compliment our clothing.
It also is a great way to have different price points for every budget- right now one of my favorite items is a gorgeous gold plated mini rhinestone horseshoe necklace for $29.00.
It looks really expensive and it’s adorable with our shirts or even with a dress. A great gift.
Another reason I chose to launch Lifestyle was to bring newness faster for our customers. For me to create a product from scratch, from initial concept to customers hands, is about a year. With our Lifestyle concept, we can launch new products faster and serve our clients better with exciting, fresh items that are all still vetted by us for quality and have our stamp of approval.
I thought it was perfect to launch for the holiday season to create that one-stop-shop vibe. Lefashny.com now is a place where you can not only purchase our in house clothing but also to find great gifts, accessories and home products for all of your gift giving needs. We are also offering Holiday Gift Bundles this season, pairing Lifestyle accessories with our clothing for super simple gift sets that are 10% off the retail value.
Additionally, I chose Lifestyle products from companies that give back. As an example, our cashmere blankets and scarves come from a factory in Nepal dedicated to providing jobs for handicapped workers, who are normally shunned in their society.
This factory allows them a place to learn a skill, earn a living, become independent and create positivity in their life. These products are not only great to give a gifts, but also to give to others in need. That is so important to me to support.
Do you have a favorite holiday bundle from your lifestyle collection?
The Horseshow Hangover Bundle is one of my favorites- I think everyone can relate to that feeling in our industry. A cozy cashmere blanket and a champagne inspired candle to relax is the perfect end to a long day at the horseshow.
I also really love the Snowbird Bundles- our Crystallized Merino Wool Sweaters perfectly matched with a Merino Fur Pom Hat. Both come with our crystallized embellishments that are not only adorable but so versatile for so many climates for traveling Snowflakes.
Recently you were injured at a horse show (not riding), how is your rehabilitation progressing and will we see you in the ring soon?
My PSA for the day is to always follow Horse Rule #1: Never stand behind a horse! I got kicked really badly at a show by a friend’s horse and broke the top of my tibia in August.
Its been very difficult being that I am such an active person with a busy lifestyle but I definitely learned my lesson that sometimes juggling too many things can backfire. At that show, I was a sponsor, vendor and competing- I think it was just too much and I let my guard down for a second. Sometimes we forget how powerful these animals can be and if we don’t follow the basics things can go wrong. I feel really lucky it wasn’t worse.
I thankfully am doing very well and hope to be walking 100% normal by the end of the year and back in the saddle by early next. I have a very quiet, saintly horse who will be the best rehab partner! I am exited to get back on but I know it will be some time before I am riding at my normal level. For now, I just enjoy grooming him and being the treat fairy.
Any additional information you would like to share with the Street to Stable community about Le Fash NY and what we can expect in the future?
We are excited for the launch of our new products and to end 2018 with a bang. We just dropped several new 2019 colors of our best selling Paulo Alto shirts online- so to get everyone in the newest styles for the start of the new year.
New 2019 Paulo Alto Long Sleeve Shirts $138
We are also offering Free Shipping & Easy Returns all holiday season. Plus stay in touch with our social media pages, or sign up for our email list, for weekly flash sales over the holiday season to save on some great items!
I am also very excited to bring Le Fash Lifestyle products on the road with us to all of our pop up shops starting with WEF, opening February 6. So look out for a great new luxury Lifestyle Boutique experience from us.
Website/Online Boutique: https://www.lefashny.com
T: 212 634 7146 opt 1
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