MIAMI, FLORIDA—With the Winter Circuit right around the corner, Florida equestrian apparel manufacturer StepUp is taking a fresh approach to this season’s hottest clothing designs.
According to Creative Director Giovanni Rapini, they’re keeping the needs of their consumer front and center this year, with new show clothes that are as rigid and unforgiving to wear as they are ill-considered for the humid, sub-tropical climate.
“Between the white breeches, suit jacket, tie, and excessive number of layers, it’s clear that is what this demographic wants. And we want to provide it to them,” Rapini said.
Top on StepUp’s list is a re-release of their much-replaced full-seat, fully see-through white breeches, which shine like the light of a thousand moons for exactly one class (jumper or dressage, your choice), or until their first visit to the washing machine. Plus: show coats and suit jackets with limited give in the arms (that’s intentional), questionable breathability, and polyester-blend fabrics that wick away sweat and moisture with the same effectiveness as a single-ply, store-brand bathroom tissue.
And finally, a new line of show shirts and ties guaranteed to provide that finishing touch for any show look—just be sure to pack your Faultless brand starch so you can press and steam them after every class!
“We believe we know our customer base, and what they want, they get,” Rapini said. “We’re really upping the ante this season—our new Amos breeches line boasts a high, high-rise cut with vintage side zipper, minimal pocket space, and 0.5-way, no-give fabric that really locks and loads everything into place. We know our riders want to look good in the ring at every angle, whatever the cost, and these babies will never fail you. You can ride all day in the hot Florida sun and the Amos won’t give an inch. Style, sturdiness, and looking good in the pictures—assuming you can still feel your legs by the time they’re taken—that’s what we’re all about.”
StepUp is also putting the finishing touches on their first children’s line of riding clothes, which promises to instantly wipe the smile off any short stirrup kid’s face so they can buckle down and concentrate on the job at hand.
“The mistake so many brands make is to make clothing so comfortable the kids stop thinking about the fact that they’re wearing them. We really feel that’s the wrong approach,” Rapini explained.
It may sound a little harsh—after all, aren’t we trying to inspire the next generation of young riders to stick with the sport? But, Rapini says, that’s just the point.
“I think of my work at StepUp less as a job and more of a calling. We want grit and staying power in equestrian, and clothing design is how we get there. Right from the get-go, these kids need to level-up. No matter how you slice it, a key part of this game is the ability to look endlessly fabulous while competing in outrageous weather conditions in completely unsuitable attire,” Rapini said.
“They’re not at Disney World, they’re at a horse show, wearing overpriced clothing their parents worked all month to afford. We want them to feel every inch of what it’s taken to get them there, from the 5 a.m. wake-up call, to the Kanye-sized temper tantrum they decided to throw when their juice cup fell over. And, to a greater extent, we want to remind them that they’ve chosen an elegant, time-honored sport that places zero emphasis on their physical comfort or mental wellbeing.
“But don’t worry,” Rapini chuckled, “If our mini-model breeches and coats don’t set them straight, there’s always our tourniquet-grade garter straps!”