Author: Lauren Hunsberger | Photography: Andrew Valantine | Posted In: Meet | October 2022
A group of Bellevue Club members met while playing tennis, but quickly found out they had much more in common than their time on the courts. As founders, designers and investors of cutting-edge fashion brands, they share the details behind what makes their lines different.
Founders: Linda Chung and Connie Min
Clover Athletica is: Modern, functional and intentional
Summer 2020. Clover was a pandemic brainchild. We finally had the time to act on the ideas we had been compiling about the kind of tennis apparel we wanted to buy and wear.
The a-ha moment:
The courts had just reopened after the Covid shutdowns, we were chomping at the bit to play again, but we couldn’t find any tennis apparel that appealed to us. Everything on the market felt played out and dowdy, nothing fit well, inventory was limited because of supply chain issues, and we couldn’t find colors and cuts that aligned with our own personal style. We are not ruffles and busy-pattern people in real life, why should we have to be in tennis? I [Connie] texted Linda screenshots of the worst skirts and tops I could find online and said, “We’re doing this.”
Who wears Clover Athletica: We thought a lot about our friends, teammates and peers at the Bellevue Club: accomplished, active, sophisticated women who love tennis and fashion, and have busy, multifaceted lives. We wanted our pieces to flow seamlessly from the courts to lunches, meetings and errands, just by adding a jacket or swapping out shoes.
Personal favorite pieces: There are so many variations—I wear at least one thing from our line every day. In the summer, I wore every combination of the line with sandals or platform sneakers. Now that it’s getting cooler, I’ll be layering the tops under sweaters and hoodies, and pairing them with jeans or leggings. With a trench or a long coat, I’ll be set for a Washington winter.
The process: Linda and I are analytical people, so it’s no surprise that Clover started with a very organized spreadsheet of complaints. We took all the skirts we owned, bought several more and examined every aspect of each garment. From there, we reimagined the skirt as equipment—a beautiful, technical piece with fabrics that stayed cool and dry, waistbands that didn’t need constant adjustment, shorties that provided support but didn’t ride up, and clean, modern silhouettes. It took numerous trips to Vancouver, Canada, to meet with our design and manufacturing team to get it just right. Our pieces are for athletes first, and you’ll feel the difference.
For more information, please visit cloverathletica.com
Follow Clover on: @cloverathletica
CARIN SUSANN DESIGNS
Founder: Carin Parcel
Carin Susann Designs is: Timeless, wearable and unique
The launch: December 11, 2021 (which is 12.11.21). I pay a lot of attention to dates and numbers and will often do announcements or releases that coincide with them.
The a-ha moment: The designs and concept were always in the back of my mind, as I had been working in the industry for years. However, when the pandemic hit, and we were all home in Spring 2020, I realized my silver lining: Time to focus on the logistics and administration of getting the business off the ground. There were no more excuses or distractions. In a way, the business was my covid puppy, and I was given the space and time to nurture it. And yes, we got an actual puppy as well!
Who wears Carin Susann Designs: This is tough because jewelry is art and so personal to everyone. So though there isn’t one ideal customer, I love people who are treating themselves or someone else to something special. Whether it’s because they feel they’ve earned it, want a piece they can pass on to someone else or their love language is gifts, these customers tend to be creative, take risks and think outside the box.
Personal favorite pieces:
Anything stacked and layered! My pieces are designed to be worn solo or with each other, depending on the mood that day. If I am feeling organized and productive, I’ll wear the stacks that fit perfectly flush. If I’m in a more flexible or fun mood, I’ll wear non-flush stacks or take a ring and place it on my thumb or pointer finger to mix it up. The necklaces layer as often as I can!
The process: I work with local and small businesses (many women- or minority-owned businesses) in the United States and Canada, where all my items are currently manufactured. I physically test-wear all items before putting them out in the world. My packaging is 100% compostable or reusable, and when possible, I use repurposed metals and stones. For custom pieces, I work with the customer to make choices that align with their values and whatever footprint they want to leave behind.
For more information, please visit carinsusann.com
Follow Carin Susann Designs on Instagram: @carinsusanndesigns
Investor: Angie Taylor
Radmor is: Hip, playful and trendy
The time to invest: Our family decided to invest in Radmor in 2019. We felt not only did their products have great style and flare but their mission was to be as sustainable as possible, eliminating virgin polyester from as many lines allowable. This is the greatest point of difference from alternative leading brands.
Who wears radmor: Golfers looking for a stylish, fresh look. Also, players who need their outfits to transition to the office or post-work obligations. The logo is playful, often sparking conversation!
Personal favorite pieces: My husband and sons wear Radmor to the course, but also often to the office or for an engagement off the golf course. They often pair shirts with jeans or wear the pants or shorts with a dress shirt for a dressier occasion. The outerwear is great for weather around Seattle or the desert communities down south.
The backstory: Co-founders Bob Conrad and Scott Morrison became friends as teammates for the University of Washington golf team. As their friendship blossomed, the idea to start a golf clothing line began. Bob started his career in commercial real estate, while Scott followed a path to clothing design, creating several jean companies, including Paper Denim & Cloth.
The difference: The majority of golf apparel is made out of polyester, a fiber made exclusively of plastic. Golf is one of the only sports that is mainly played in the outdoors, fueling the idea to be a good citizen of the game. The inspiration for their line came from the desire to create a brand that was more mindful of what was being used to design the clothes.
For more information, please visit radmorgolf.com
Follow Radmor on Instagram: @radmor.golf