The beach lifestyle – its sights, sounds, colors and culture – has been steadily woven into Mike Faherty’s life, so it seems fitting that he and his twin brother would create a clothing brand that reflects that endless summer experience.
Comfort, eco-friendly values, quality and a relaxed philosophy – these are the ingredients they poured into Faherty. They also happen to be the elements that shape the ideals of summer for many of us, cultivating that longing for the shore.
We recently caught up with Mike to hear more about what led them to launch their sun-soaked label, and what it is about beach culture and the rhythms of the ocean that gives us that sense of tranquility.
Beginnings And The Beach
“I was raised about an hour from New York City in a quiet beach town in Jersey. Summers were always a big deal to our family – I was the youngest of seven kids and everyone was home – the house would be packed. We lived in that culture of BBQs, going to the beach, surfing – it was such an integral part of growing up.
At the same time, my dad commuted to New York and worked on Wall Street. When I was young, I was always fascinated with his clothes and how he looked sharp. I still wanted to wear my clothes from the surf shop, but I was learning about better quality clothing, fabric, construction – and the combination of both elements just didn’t exist.
I thought a lot about that kind of clothing company. One that would have a beach vibe, but offer well-made clothes. So I went to school to learn about fashion. Then I worked at Ralph Lauren for eight years gaining experience. During that time my twin brother went to Yale, then Wall Street, and he learned the business side. We were young professionals living in New York, but about three years ago we started putting pen to paper and began developing the brand.”
Ethos And The Ocean
“You can’t be a part of the beach culture and not care about protecting the natural beauty of the shore. The first thing I decided was that we were going to use sustainable materials. We were all touched by Patagonia’s example because they care about ecology and they are also functional as a brand. I learned about making clothing out of recycled polyester from plastic bottles sitting in a landfill. It’s pretty amazing. We figured out a way to mess with yarns – taking a tiny portion of cotton and lacing it with poly. Eight-five percent is poly, but it has this natural feeling to it and dries really fast, which is great at the beach.
Then we focused on organic cotton. In general, regular cotton is harmful for the environment – it’s a dangerous crop and so many pesticides are used to spur growth. Organic cotton is a way to clean up the process. Some of the sustainable clothing movement so far has been seen as more of a hippy thing – it hasn’t felt like the real thing. So we want to bring that element into contemporary clothing. Sadly, not everyone cares enough yet. But for us, that’s what we are sticking by.”
Creating Endless Summer
“No matter what season it is, when you put on these clothes it transports you to the beach. The colors, the patterns – they instill the beach in others. In the summer you live in shorts, and so I wanted that feeling of being at the beach.
When you think about the beach you think about comfort. You just feel good. For our clothing, a big focus is on the feel, the touch and the tactile experience. When you walk in our store, you’ll stop and feel the clothing. Also, the way I use color is to have a sun-washed feeling. When you see a sunset, those colors aren’t primary – they are faded shades of red, orange and blue. It has a weathered spirit and has a timelessness to it.”
Escaping To The Shore
“So many people are obsessed with the beach. For me, so much of our lives are spent trying to be in control. The beach is the ultimate distraction. There’s nothing like seeing waves break, the relaxing sound of the oceans. I just have to see it and let it free me. It’s this amazing thing that is so close to us. It’s the ultimate connector. When we say, “meet me at the beach,” it’s a way to have a day together with others, to chill and connect. So many people just need it – it’s a meditation spot to cure life’s stresses.
The beach culture never goes out of style. We all associate feelings and colors with the beach, and we plan vacations to be a part of that experience. You just need to find ways to get away. Even just a jog or a walk on the beach can help reset your spirit. It’s finding that balance of making sure you get a moment to get away.”
“We have a store in SoHo Manhattan that is built like a bungalow, and we also have a mobile shop that we take around the country half of the year. It looks like a little beach house with an open environment. We create a full range of clothing for the whole family to have that beach vibe experience. Also, our clothing is available online and in about 75 stores.”