(NEW YORK) Double the beach boys, double the fun! Identical twin brothers Mike and Alex Faherty are the brains (and brawn!) behind new eco-conscious swim line Faherty Brand, debuting today. And the dynamo duo have got some major street cred to back up their new venture. Mike spent seven years on the design team at Ralph Lauren while his brother took on Yale, later becoming vice president at Cerberus Capital. Plus, designer Tory Burch has already signed on to be an unofficial advisor. (Not too shabby, fellas.) The colorful, printed bathers will be available on FahertyBrand.com starting today and at their charming showroom-store next week. Expect price tags marked $85 to $95 for women’s mix-and-match tops and bottoms, and $140 to $165 for men’s board shorts and trunks. AND! Later this summer the brothers will be branching out to beach dresses, sweatshirts, sarongs, and faded tees made from organic cotton. Ready to dive in?
BY JENNIFER MULVEY
Mike: We grew up in a big family; we’re the youngest of seven! We spent our vacations and our summers at the beach, enjoying great summer moments like bonfire barbeques. We were surrounded by cool, beach girls, including our three older sisters and our amazing mom. One day we thought, ‘wouldn’t it be amazing to build a lifestyle company around the sunrises and sunsets and the sand between our toes?’
Was starting your own fashion brand a pipe dream?
Mike: I always sort of knew I wanted to do this. Even since I was a little kid, I was interested in clothing. My mom tells this story about me making Alex change all the time and laying out his clothes for him.
Alex: [laughs] That hasn’t changed!
What’s your take on the swimswear industry today?
Mike: Growing up, I was stuck buying crusty clothing from surf shops. I feel like swimwear fashion is just not that great, especially in regard to eco-conscious swim. Many fashion design companies put swim on the backburner and don’t concentrate on it. We want to create the world’s finest swimwear.
Who is the Faherty woman?
Mike: She’s a cooler, sexier version of a tomboy, between the ages of 25 and 40. She likes to travel, and she likes the weathered spirit of the beach.
Alex: Mike and I just turned 30, and a lot of our collection is just an extension of us, to some degree. We like casual, beach clothes with a premium quality.
How did you test drive the new women’s line?
Mike: We had a great group of 30 or so friends and family that we used as our focus group. We had these girls recommending favorite styles and colors, and made sure all the fits were perfect. Alex’s wife, Kerry, was the ultimate sport. She was our guinea pig and probably tried on 50 different prototypes over the past year!
Would you describe this company as a surf brand?
Alex: It’s more about the beach. We want to bring that amazing beach lifestyle to everyone with casual, high-end quality. And all of our swimwear is made out of polyester recycled from plastic bottles. On average, we recycle about seven bottles per piece.
Have you always been environmentally conscious?
Mike: The beach is my favorite place in the world. We’re both surfers, so keeping the oceans clean is a top priority. Over the past five years, I’ve been involved with the NYC Paddle, which is a 26-mile stand-up paddle board race around Manhattan to raise funds for SEA [Surfer’s Environmental Alliance].
What’s it like to work with your sibling?
Mike: It’s the best! As identical twin brothers, we have such an awesome friendship and bond. There are no downsides!
What’s your daily uniform?
Mike: In the summertime, it’s board shorts, a pocket t-shirt, and flip flops. In the winter, it’s a pair of RRL jeans with a Henley or a chambray shirt.
Any plans for beach-worthy accessories?
Mike: We have some great accessories launching in the next couple months, including our ultimate, reversible beach tote that incorporates one of our great swimwear prints. We’re working with artisans in Guatemala to create sarongs, too, in beautiful ikat and striped indigenous prints. That will also be followed up with some beautiful printed silk scarves, handmade in India.
What are the details behind your Faherty Brand store?
Alex: We built an appointment-only storefront in our showroom at 54 W. 21st St. in New York, complete with changing rooms. It sits next to our design studio, so you can see the work in progress, try on the swimwear, have a drink, and watch some surf movies. We’re also working on a store on wheels, decorated by our mom, which will debut by the end of May. It’s a custom designed trailer with a beach shack. Our plan is to stop through cities and great beach towns and allow people to see our collection, buy if they want, and get to know Mike and I.