Whether the wearer is a scratch player or simply expert in sipping rounds of Arnold Palmers, Byrdie Golf Social Wear is on a mission to infuse fashion into the game of golf.
Charlotte, N.C.-based founders Rachelle Williams and Hayden Shoffner, who met working for high-end specialty shop Capitol, grew up playing golf every weekend with their families, learning the rules of etiquette for on and off the course from their grandmothers.
For both, golf is as much family time and an opportunity to host and entertain as it is a sport, they say, but they’ve never felt comfortable in traditional ladies’ golfwear.
“You were really compromising your personal style for performance,” Williams says. “You immediately wanted to go home after your round and change into something you felt more comfortable in before dinner or cocktails.”
Williams says she was more likely to create makeshift tee-time ensembles, such as bright Gucci printed shorts with an everyday button-down — until pandemic lockdown. Spending time playing more golf than ever as a safe outdoor outing, the two designers decided to merge their fashion wholesale and production backgrounds to launch Byrdie.
Using family archives of photos to see how their grandmothers once dressed to play, Williams and Shoffner modernized golf staples, including polos, skirts and shorts, bearing in mind proper course etiquette such as hem lengths.
Landing on a luxury performance fabric manufactured in the States, they incorporated feminine details such as Liberty floral prints, gathered shoulders, bright pastel stripes that edge pleated skirts and cropped trousers in kicky plaids. Byrdie is the nickname of William’s grandfather, Byrd, which “speaks to that heritage piece of the brand,” she says.
Response from Houston women to the line, which has hosted pop-ups at the Avenue by Lyndsey Zorich boutique and River Oaks District bespoke hat shop Teressa Foglia, has been enthusiastic.
The South, where golfing is a lifestyle, is “a perfect backdrop for what we’re doing,” says Williams, who grew up the daughter of an amateur player on the senior tour in golf mecca Juno Beach, Fla..
The founders believe millennials and younger generations can become interested in golf “simply through fashion,” Williams says.
Bestselling pieces include a flattering one-piece garment that is their playful nod to a Masters caddie suit, released in preppy florals and ginghams accented with contrasting-print Peter Pan collars. The Hayden, a puff-sleeve button-front dress, is another popular garment.
Collaborations include sun hats designed with Australian luxury brand Lorna Murray. In 2023, Byrdie will release a ladies’ golf shoe in partnership with Cole Haan.
With September comes the new collection launch, which coincides with the President’s Cup in Charlotte, “kind of our Super Bowl,” says Williams.
Collections are designed to serve both a seasoned golfer and a woman first dabbling in the sport.
“We try to champion both,” says Williams. “I think golf is such an intimidating sport to begin with. Picking up a club for the first time … you may not know what you’re doing, at least you can look the part and look really confident in that aspect.”
Half of the brand’s fans are buying the feminine, fashion-forward pieces for riding in a cart and other aspects of a golf-adjacent lifestyle, she estimates with a laugh: “We have a very big 19th hole clientele.”
$95-$295. Select pieces available at the Avenue by Lyndsey Zorich, 3209 Westheimer, and byrdiegolfsocial.com
Source : Houston Chronicle