All things considered, the pandemic has worked out pretty well for Tom Daly and Max Vallot and their conscious athletic brand, District Vision.
In March 2020, when District Vision closed its rambling office in Lower Manhattan, Mr. Vallot found himself pretty much clueless, he said in an interview at New York’s Marlton Hotel in early April. . “Then, overnight, we felt like we had this tailwind. Suddenly people really fell in love with sportswear and we noticed that orders were trickling in.
As anyone who tried to buy a three-pound weight set or a bike at the start of the pandemic knows, there has been a run on fitness products. At the same time, many people who looked after their physical health also considered their mental health, which in this case is the second component of District Vision. The intersection of sport and mindfulness is the brand’s philosophy.
In no time, Mr. Vallot, 35, and Mr. Daly, 34, had completed a 16-session online course in mindful movement, produced, recorded, and ready to be distributed by professionals.
“It sounds really smart now,” Mr Daly said. “But we’re not that smart.” The timing was fortuitous, and the price took off.
By the end of the year, Mr. Vallot and Mr. Daly had moved their operation to Los Angeles and taken a salary for the first time in six years, they said. “It went from a project to a business,” Vallot said. Next week, District Vision is launching women’s apparel, featuring sports bras, jerseys, jackets, leggings, bike shorts, arm warmers and gaiters.
Made from luxury Japanese and Italian fabrics, many of which are recycled, the women’s line is designed in white, cream and orange tones which are the brand colors. It is a suitable performance garment constructed with moisture wicking, anti-friction, windproof and water resistant properties. There are hidden pockets and shapewear elements, a suggestion from Mr Daly’s girlfriend, former Victoria’s Secret model Elsa Hosk.
Perhaps the most powerful design element is the District Vision logo, a D interspersed with a lateral V, which looks like a spontaneous drawing. It is the work of Filip Pagowski, who created the Comme des Garçons Play logo, a heart with eyes. “It took about two years to create the logo,” Daly said.
Having the eye and hand of a graphic designer like Mr. Pagowski is part of District Vision’s amalgamation of athleticism and design-driven wellness. The brand is not Goop or Alo Yoga. This is not a $75 Pilates class. What differentiates District Vision from its competitors, according to Mr. Vallot and Mr. Daly, is the outdoors.
“The journey from our perspective doesn’t start in the yoga, barre or Pilates studio,” Vallot said. “It starts in nature and goes from there.”
Best friends since college in London, Mr. Daly and Mr. Vallot became business partners in 2016 when they launched District Vision with Japanese-made eyewear designed specifically for running.
Their first product was a frame they had agonized over for two years, with a story with an array of cool factors that a certain group of stylish sports elites were likely to discover: Mr. Vallot is a former model who was scouted at age 14 by Hedi Slimane and introduced to his world, working as a model, DJ and finally in marketing at Saint Laurent in New York. Mr. Daly is a lanky, shaggy blond who worked for Acne Studios co-founder Jonny Johansson in Sweden. He has a one-year-old daughter with Mrs. Hosk.
Saint Laurent was a cool, if not necessarily easy, place to work, Mr. Vallot said. After a particularly trying day, Mr. Vallot went to the David Lynch Foundation around the corner from his office, discovered Transcendental Meditation and never looked back. He is a regular on the Vipassana retreat circuit.
Mr. Daly recalls Acne’s top brass publishing copies of Mr. Lynch’s “Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Mindfulness and Creativity.” “It was, ‘If you could do a little bit with your mind, maybe you could be happier,'” Mr Daly said. “But let’s be honest, it was really, ‘Maybe you can work more.'” He quit, moved to New York and became a serious runner as his therapy of choice.
“We had frankly been spat out by the fashion system,” Mr Daly said. “We weren’t as good as we thought we were in this system.” But here they are, tangent to the fashion system, trying to infuse it with health, sincerity and purpose — but also beautiful products.
“It starts with our own practices, but unless you meet us, District Vision looks like a smart brand,” Daly said. “How can we convey sincerity? »
They know how it sounds. But the District Vision Citta Sports Bra is designed with a hidden pocket to store your valuables or even a snack. It’s the kind of design element that any woman who’s ever stashed her money or keys in her cleavage when she’s out for a run will sincerely appreciate.