7 Brands To Support This Year
photo by Shannon Corsi for Wild Rye
Women-Led Wednesday (WLW) is an annual shopping initiative, started by Cassie Abel. Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wild Rye, an outdoor apparel brand known as much for its bold prints as its community-building. As Cassie and her team readied themselves for the holiday shopping season in 2018, she saw a need to focus on fellow women-led brands, separate from the rest of the sale frenzy around December. Four years and over 500 brands later, Women-Led Wednesday has grown into a powerful spotlight on companies taking up space in often male-dominated industries.
WLW brands vary in terms of product but are connected by their work to make the outdoors and other industries more representative of the world around us. The work is inclusion and innovation; it just happens to be set against the backdrop of skis or outdoor apparel. There are common themes between these brands: from size inclusion to collaboration with like-minded non-profits and companies. And while the WLW directory lists hundreds of brands, here are a few of our Backcountry faves.
Founder: Cassie Abel
From mountain bike basics to base layers, Wild Rye creates outdoor apparel to help folks enjoy both being on the move and the après. Cassie Abel founded Wild Rye in 2016 with the goal of producing mountain-ready kit that functioned and fit well with the style to match. Wild Rye is focused on a sustainable supply chain, from their fabrics to packaging, to help ensure the well-being of the spaces in which we recreate. In addition to their fan-favorite apparel, Wild Rye helps foster community with a host of partnerships like SheJumps and their inclusive roster of sponsored athletes.
Founder: Corrine Prevot
With humble beginnings as a side project in high school and college for her nordic ski teammates, Corinne Prevot has seen Skida through tremendous growth. The colorful patterned headbands may be the cornerstone of Skida, but in the last 13 years, the brand has expanded to include everything from balaclavas to beanies, all with that Vermont-made charm. You’ve likely seen their small-batch headwear in the lift line or the skintrack, and with new patterns each season, Skida has that perfect print for everyone.
Machines For Freedom
Founder: Jenn Kriske
Road cycling kit is rarely seen as flattering for anyone outside the classic stick-thin build. Jenn Kriske is helping to change that, piece by piece with Machines For Freedom. Machines began with road cycling apparel: their best-selling Endurance Bib challenging the idea that a bib couldn’t be as comfortable and sleek as it was functional for long hours on the bike. Now with kit for trail, road, indoor, and off-the-bike wear, Machines designs apparel that is as ready as you are for that next challenge. Their eye-catching designs and sumptuous fabrics make you excited to head out the door for a ride, sure to get some compliments as you pedal.
Founder: Ashley Rankin
SHREDLY knows that as much time as any rider spends on their mountain bike, they get out for other sports too. SHREDLY began with mountain bike shorts, known for their bright colorways, and has expanded to activewear and loungewear to keep you comfortable all day, all year. With bold prints and a range of fits and styles, there’s something for every rider and adventurer, and new this year 100% of their line is fully or partially comprised of recycled materials. Founder Ashley Rankin knows the importance of options, so SHREDLY’s shorts are available in standard and long inseams, and in inclusive sizing from 00-24 in their shorts.
Founders: Sara DeLuca, Kyle Marie Begley, Kate Day
What happens when two landscaping entrepeneurs meet an apparel designer? Dovetail Workwear, now the largest exclusively women’s focused workwear company in the northern hemisphere. Starting with the Maven Slim Pant, Dovetail creates workwear designed for and by women, so folks can focus on the job at hand rather than discomfort from poorly-fitting apparel. Dovetail partners with national organizations that empower women in traditionally male-dominated fields, to help guide everything they create. In addition to durable and comfortable fabrics, Dovetail’s apparel comes in a multitude of sizes to ensure folks at every body size have workwear that fits.
Founders: Jen Gurecki & Lauren Bello Okerman
What started with skis and snowboards has expanded to include a magazine, podcast, and community hub for Coalition Snow’s pursuit of shredding the patriarchy and making space for fellow women and femmes in snow sports and throughout the outdoors. Committed to putting their values front and center, Coalition amplifies the voices of others and pursues meaningful partnerships from photographers they hire to their roster of ambassador athletes. Their line-up of skis and boards offers something for every rider: from folks ripping groomers to those seeking the quietest corners of the backcountry.
Founders: Jennifer Hinton & Thayer Sylvester
The idea was planted on a surf trip for founders Jennifer and Thayer, painfully aware of the need for women’s surf apparel that could keep up with them in the water. Carve Designs began as a surfwear company before evolving into the holistic lifestyle brand it is today, centering sustainability. 100% of Carve’s swimwear is made from recycled materials, and 85% of their apparel fabrics overall are from sustainable sources. Carve brings their outdoor-first sensibility to all they create–from swimwear to sweaters–ready to take see you through every season in style.
Our thanks to Cassie Abel & the brands of Women-Led Wednesday.