She had us at “cell phone pocket,” but if the ability to tuck your phone into your breeches in order to make emergency calls mid-hack or to track your ride doesn’t excite you quite as much as it does us, F.WORDS founder and designer, Kendel Neidermyer, has included several elements of practicality (like anti-muffin-top technology) in all of her multi-functional designs.
F.WORDS was created with utility in mind, and Kendel (who previously designed for Reem Acra and J. Mendel) successfully sought to merge the uniforms of several athletic endeavors into a single brand. We’re particularly enamored with the aforementioned smartphone-enabled breeches, a breathable show shirt that would look great in the boardroom, and a pullover that’s ideal for the barre, barn, or black diamond runs. Best of all, this female-founded company does all of its manufacturing in NYC, donates a portion of proceeds to charity, and boasts a very low carbon footprint.
We caught up with Kendel and asked her a few burning questions (like why “F.WORDS”?), and she was kind enough to extend a 20% discount exclusively to OR subscribers through the month of August (we bought ours this morning!). Simply sign up for our weekly email and we’ll divulge the super secret password, as well as enter you in a drawing for a free F.WORDS hat and t-shirt!
F.WORDS apparel can also be found at Manhattan Saddlery, for those who like to try before they buy.
Our four F.WORDS are Fit. Fashion. Function. and Flexibility. It’s our promise to deliver on a far too commonly overlooked principle in athletic apparel. As a result, we’ve created the most versatile (aka Flexible) collection of athletic apparel known as “fashion performance apparel.” These might not be the first F-words that come to mind!
Briefly tell us about your a-ha moment. Why equestrian apparel?
I started out thinking I’d create the best lifestyle/sport pant, and inadvertently created the must-have equestrian breech with cell phone pockets and generous freedom of movement. The equine demographic can be hard to infiltrate, but I’ve received texts from my clients that they were wearing our breeches four times a week because they love them so much. It turned out to be an amazing accident because the response has been tremendous.
With the shift from traditional clothing to more technical clothing, what makes F.WORDS different from other equestrian apparel brands?
As an urban dweller my closet is only so big, yet I need so much gear for all of the activities I’m compelled to do. So I set out to truly create the most versatile apparel for gear junkies and athletes of all sorts with my collection, so that my client could consume less and be outfitted more. That’s what makes F.WORDS different; we’ve created a stable-to-table collection of fashion performance apparel for the urban equestrian and those who appreciate the lifestyle.
You’re not a rider yourself. How did you approach riders and the industry to conduct the research you needed for fit and function?
Introducing anything innovative has required us to be specific and detailed about our process. Our trusted clients and sales partners have given us incredible feedback about performance with our fit and function. My top clients have become my near and dear muses.
Tell us who your ideal customer is.
She’s a rider in the summer show season, chases snow skiing all winter long, and meets at the barre in between. When I’ve met a client and she is in fact this person, it’s a moment like, “wait, you do exist!”…sort of like when people meet our F.WORDS mascot, a Dalmatian puppy named Alaia, and exclaim, “Wait, I didn’t know you were real!”
“When something is important enough you do it, even if the odds are not in your favor.” -Elon Musk
You have to quickly teach us something we don’t already know; what is it?
I can do 360s down the mountain on my skis. Counter clockwise turn: right foot in front of your left foot, weight remains on your right foot, as you pivot down and back up the hill to back down again to complete your 360. Hips always in line with your feet & skis. You know, there’s a similarity between skiing and riding: toes up and heels down!
What are the most used apps on your phone?
Instagram, Ski Tracks, Try Caviar, and Calm
What can we expect next? Any upcoming collaborations or new products?
We have an exciting launch happening in August, which is still a big secret (stay tuned!). We’ve also just launched our Flow Pullover & funKtion Jacket which are more lifestyle pieces. I want to continue to work on other pieces, such as a fitted vest and additional riding-to-barre-to-office tops. We’ll be adding color ways to our best selling bottoms. And we’re traveling to several markets through the end of the year including Los Angeles and Palo Alto.
What is the last thing you do before bed each night?
True story: I fall asleep every night to a bedtime story called “The Magic of Yurts” on my Calm app. Maybe in my future life I’ll be living in a yurt in the Rocky Mountains of Aspen, Colorado with a pile of puppies at my feet.
What have you learned from the equestrian world that you wish you’d known sooner?
Make sure to look down when you are stepping through a field. That’s # 1, and I learned it last weekend. There can be horse manure anywhere. I’m learning as I go.
As a new entrepreneur you learn so much everyday – what we do well, what we don’t do well. Without mistakes there would be no progress. I actually believe having created couture evening gowns in my past before creating equestrian apparel is an asset, because I have a skill set in construction & pattern making which is unique and ultimately creates a more durable and comfortable garment.
An equestrian, a yogi, and a skier walk into a bar. What happens next?
A yogi in a bar, that’s a stretch. Anyway, the skier was at the bar longbefore the yogi and the equestrian (who orders something strong because she is feeling hoarse). Then all three say, “Hey, you’re wearing F.WORDS!”
(Now you understand why I’m a designer & not a comedian!)