Ladies, have you ever had trouble finding the perfect pair of jeans? Well, so had former J.Crew/Madewell colleagues Maggie Winter and Jac Cameron.
Winter remembers hanging out with Cameron, dreaming about the ideal denim brand, which would turn out to be AYR. But the events that followed can only be described as serendipity.
Winter came into contact with Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn, who was looking to break into the women’s clothing world. Bonobos, a primarily online retailer, prides itself on providing great-fitting, quality products and an easy way to shop for them. Winter and Cameron knew Dunn was the guy to help them turn their dream into a reality.
“Fit, fabric and design details set apart a basic from an essential,” says AYR co-founder Maggie Winter. “The essential is the one you can’t live without.”
In February 2014, the trio set out to create a women’s premium denim brand. Named after a seaside town in Scotland where designer Cameron visited while growing up, AYR also stands for “all year round,” which Winter says speaks to the ethos of the brand.
Their goal with AYR was to provide women an easy and effortless way to dress by simplifying the shopping process and by offering great-fitting, high-quality essentials.
Design director Cameron says what separates AYR from other denim lines is the “lasting factor,” the one that ensures the jeans look and fit the same after a day of wear as they did that morning. This “it” factor, known technically as stretch recovery, is what gives these slimming, frame-flattering jeans a leg up on the competition.
“A jean is the first thing I reach for every morning when I’m getting dressed,” Winter says. “The key is how it feels on the body. The skinny jean is absolute magic. The denim is unbelievably soft, but it also holds its shape and snaps back wear after wear.
“It’s the foundation of my outfit five days a week.”
“Fit, fabric and design details set apart a basic from an essential,” Winter adds. “A basic is something you can find anywhere. The essential is the one you can’t live without. A well-made essential lasts forever — wear after wear, trend after trend.
“It’s worth the investment, because you get so much value out of versatility.”
Although it all started with the idea of the perfect pair of jeans, the brand evolved to offer “elevated classics for women,” such as silk blouses, weightless button-downs and cashmere sweaters. The essentials collection ranges from $50 graphic tees to $525 Italian wool coats. The denim ranges from $150 to $225.
You can see it all for yourself when AYR sets up shop in Austin on November 13 at the Bonobos Guideshop (436 W. Second St.) from 5-8 pm. While the pop up is a one-night-only affair, an AYR denim bar will be set up at the Austin Guideshop permanently. All of the products are also available online.