June 2018 - Anique Equestrian

California-based new cooling shirt line is off to a hot start.

There’s enough cute and effective sun shirts out there that it’s somewhat surprising a new entry would venture into this crowded field. But dressage rider and marketing consultant Kelly Artz felt otherwise. Frustrated with the many shirts she tried, Kelly decided she could do better. The result is Anique, a new equestrian sun shirt line that incorporates flattering fit and pretty details with hard-core cooling and sun protection and perspiration management. Made in Los Angeles, the soft seamless knit shirts are woven with a cooling smart yarn and UV protection.

Anique founder Kelly Artz. Photo: Kristin Lee Photography

The line is just hitting the market this summer but already has top riders including Sabine Schut-Kery and Sarah Lockman raving about their quality and style. “They’re so well made,” says Sarah.  “The cuts are really flattering, and the little details make this shirt a must-have. Riding in my outdoor ring in Murrieta I need protection from the sun while still being able to stay cool, and these shirts are the best for this!”

“I started Anique because I felt that in warmer climates, wearing long sleeves is obviously a must, especially with the California sun baking your arms,” Kelly explains. “But I’ve tried and worn about every shirt on the market and I’m not a size 2. I feel like in the everyday, dressing for your size is important to feeling comfortable and beautiful. I felt like the shirts on the equestrian market didn’t really do much for a lot of riders to hide our problem areas, or help with the sweat management of those areas as well. I felt there had to be a way to make them with the same cooling properties, but with better silhouettes, higher quality textiles and pretty details for the equestrian lifestyle.”

The shirts come in five colors, three of which have rose gold zippers. “I put a lot of time and energy into all of the style lines and vents woven into the garment,” Kelly says. “I studied the areas of the body that sweat and produce more body heat, and then carefully constructed style lines to also help the wearer have a more feminine silhouette.

Unique Anique Features

“For example, there’s a panel under the bust for that pesky under-the-sport’s bra drip, so I made that vent not only offer more breathability to the area, but a shape that provides a waistline effect and helps hide sweat and make the wearer appear slimmer.

“I re-enforced the elbow with a special knit for strength, cushion and breathability. The under-arm panels where a lot of the other shirts have power-mesh, which gets stretched out, I switched for a vent and lines that make the arms appear longer. The shirt has raglan sleeves to make the shoulders appear smaller, a heart shaped bust and princess cut torso to make the wearer appear slimmer and break up the torso visually.”

Anique fan Sarah Lockman. Photo: Sandy Stenzel

The shirts are made out of a special cooling yarn that is proven to lower the body temperature 1 degree Celsius (1.8°F), so not only does the entire body of the shirt contain different weaves with ventilation but the flat cross sections of the thread transfer body heat faster. The shirt is complete with a zipper garage as well so you never have to feel the zipper against your neck.

“I want women to feel more attractive and elegant when they ride and exercise and I think the shirts offer something high-end that we haven’t seen before. It’s been really amazing to me how much the dressage and jumper community in California has supported me in designing the shirts- it’s a cool feeling to design something that everyone is so excited to wear. I see the pre-orders coming in, retailers are getting in touch before the inventory is even finished in the factory in Los Angeles and it’s pretty exciting to see how excited everyone is.”

Barbara Beirnat’s Horse and Rider Boutique and EquLifestyle Boutique are the first retailers to embrace the new brand, followed by increasing interest from outlets across the country and in Canada and Australia. The tennis, golf and general active wear market is inquiring, too, Kelly reports.

Anique also includes a socially conscious form of “heat transfer” in its business model: Kool Kids. Ten percent of the proceeds from every shirt sold will go toward making jackets for kids-in-need in cold climates. “I can’t stand being cold and the idea of children not having jackets when it’s snowing just absolutely kills me,” Kelly shares. “It’s important to remember what clothing is—a form of shelter from the elements. So while I hope the sun shirts protect equestrians from sun damage and heat exhaustion, the company at the same time will be making these jackets which will be given directly to those in need by the employees and company shareholders in a human-to-human product giving campaign. It’s my dream to turn Kold Kids into an international initiative by 2020 as the collection of equestrian shirts and outerwear expands. I plan to make the first giving trips to Detroit and NYC in 2019.”

For more information, visit www.aniqueequestrian.com.