A local clothing line reinvents athleisure
By Toi Creel
With styles ranges for men’s clothing, from suits and work wear to full workout clothes and athletic gear, it can be hard to find common ground. That was the idea when the founders of Willy California, Charles Nelson and Jeff Sockwell, created a clothing line.
We started Willy to keep the modern guy on the move and feel comfortable all day. The world is changing faster and the line between work and play is getting blurred every day. We recognize this trend and realize that men need a wardrobe that prioritizes versatility and comfort, Nelson said..
Juggling with business meetings, kids’ soccer teams and the desire to be both professional and comfortable, they founded Willy.
We recognized the need for clothes that could go from the gym to the office and then to train our kids soccer games. We’ve made it our mission to create simple, stylish and comfortable clothes that say they come together well without a huge price tag, Sockwell said..
The company itself combines the best of both worlds. It’s an athletic brand at first glance, but seeks to bridge the gap between workout wear and everyday wear by providing a comfortable mid-range of pants and tops that can be paired in multiple ways to create a fully functional closet.
We saw an opportunity to build a brand the guys could trust, from early morning practice to noon board meeting to dinner night. We make simple clothes with incredible attention to detail and an emphasis on all day comfort. We think guys aren’t looking for fancy features and flashy logos – they want simple, stylish clothes that feel great and work when they need them, Nelson said..
Antimicrobial and moisture-wicking performance fabrics have the comfort of stretch garments like their athletic polo shirts and standard tees. For those who want to dress it up for more formal occasions, the most beautiful tee and polo shirts Still exude a relaxed vibe, but take the fit and clothing up a notch for more formal settings.
So, what is it that gives Nelson and Sockwell a better understanding of athleisure? They don’t both come from traditional clothing design backgrounds.
We met at the University of Virginia. You can probably guess how we dress. From there, we both got into investment banking. You were sure you knew that uniform too, said Sockwell.
Even though their paths went in different directions, the founders both ended up in Los Angeles and came together to combine their love for clothing.
It took us three years of development to create our main collection. All of our equipment is based on extensive research, rigorous testing and obsessive attention to detail. We choose our materials based on performance and feel, sourcing textiles from a handful of factories we trust, Nelson said.
While the founders thought of comfort, they also recognize the impact of the business. The idea for Willy was created in Los Angeles, but the clothes are also made here, which provides something very important to the founders.
Local manufacturing is very important to our country – maybe, now more than ever. But it’s not easy to do and we’ve been through its ups and downs over the past couple of years. You don’t have to go to Asia or South America to make great, high-quality clothing, but you should carefully select the manufacturing partners and invest in those relationships. As well as being the right thing for the country, the local manufacturing allows Willy to obsessively focus on every detail. The fact that our warehouse is a few miles from our factory gives us the ability to stop by regularly for quality checks, Sockwell said..
While most businesses have faced obstacles related to the impacts of COVID-19 and have even been forced to shut down, Willy California has experienced the opposite by citing local production as a key factor in maintaining its customer base.
Suddenly the very busy guy is trapped in his house, focused on training and transitioning his wardrobe to more casual and casual clothes for the whole day. In addition, the fact that all of our factories are local was essential. We never slowed down on our order fulfillment and were able to work closely with our factories to make sure everyone was safe in this new environment, said Nelson..
For more information visit WillyCalifornia.com.
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