Esby Apparel: Designing Womenswear With A Menswear Mentality
A New York expat is bringing fresh perspective to that capital city's apparel scene
Prior to launching her line, Esby Apparel, North Carolina native Stephanie Beard spent 10 years in New York City as a menswear designer for brands like Levi’s, Tommy Hilfiger and Converse. These experiences were formative for Beard, and prompted a lifelong passion to create a look all her own. “I always wanted to start my own line,” says Beard, who opened Esby in February 2014, following her move from New York.
The line is lifestyle-driven, with an emphasis on comfort, wearability and quality. Furthermore, Beard designs womenswear with a menswear mentality, meaning that with each collection, the pieces therein are quality made for endless wear and versatility. Esby’s all natural fibers and fabrics are sourced from around the world, be it a hand woven, hand dyed ikat from India or a buttery soft jersey stripe from Japan. The fabrics are pre-washed and shrunk so that customers get a true fit, and the line is produced in New Orleans and Dallas.
In Beard’s eyes, Esby is a true lifestyle brand, and one that she hopes will continue to grow as years pass. Pillows and other home goods are being introduced and eventually she will launch menswear and childrenswear. “We’re trying to outfit our customer from head to toe,” she says. For the retail shop, Esby found a sunlit home in an old auto body shop off of South First. The space has since been converted with white painted walls, a glass garage door, and a back partition where the line is designed. “It’s just as much of a workspace as it is a boutique,” says Beard.
Throughout the space, there’s a mix of vintage and new furniture, with raw elements scattered here and there, including a glass-topped table that sits on cinderblocks. “Everything is kind of unique and interesting aesthetically,” she says. This clean, neutral showroom is a fitting backdrop for Esby’s lovingly-made merchandise, which hangs from striking copper hangers, waiting to be taken home and worn for years to come.