By Claudie Benjamin
Go with what you like, respect and spend time with people and things that matter to you. Think about responsible actions and endurable values. That’s the takeaway message when you care about being responsible and feeling good about yourself in today’s world. It converges with the Faherty credo. Faherty‘s Upper West Side location is at 245 Columbus Avenue.
First of all, it’s a family company. Now on the website is a promotional video journal that follows family members on a trip taken together in a large vintage RV to visit a favorite spot on the Oregon coast. Vigorous, and attractive, they are outfitted in the comfy, sometimes sun-washed looking Faherty gear that works for any age and likely lasts forever – there’s a lifetime guarantee.
Are you ready to take off for a “Nothing but the open road”? Or, are you more of an armchair traveler? Faherty shares its packing essentials for the big family trip online.
Understated, and ultra-comfortable, Faherty garments and Sherpa throws “like a warm hug,” are designed and marketed with a commitment to appeal to a certain type of contemporary values. Attuned to family and community cohesiveness, think sustainability and partnerships with Native American designers who integrate traditional motifs into contemporary fabric designs.
The styles are simple, but all have a very distinctive quality that raises them above other casual clothing. Touch: they are soft, supple and very much the clothing that feels both comfortable and classy for everyday activities and hybrid work at a computer. Wear a reversible plaid shirt for hikes in the Shawangunk mountains, walking your doodle in Central Park, leading a Zoom forum or meeting a friend for lunch at an outdoor cafe on Columbus Avenue. You are not so much buying the look of an enviable lifestyle here as discovering clothes that match your already established way of life.
Started in 2013 by the Faherty family who live in Brooklyn, the business launched with mens beachwear showing it at trunk shows. The first brick and mortar store was located SoHo. Currently there are more than 30 stores throughout the country and a robust online business. The Faherty twins, Alex and Mike, their mother Ninie and Alex’s wife Kerry Doherty, a lawyer and children’s book writer, are all involved in leading the company.
Today the brand embraces styles for both men and women leading a positive lifestyle that is less suggestive of wealth and luxury and far more down to earth. Take for example the hands down best seller for men and women is a button-down made of a soft flannel-like material. It is called Legend and comes in a variety of colors and plaids. A jewel like blue green velvet shirt sold out early this past holiday time.
Clothes are classic and so wearable and durable, do customers buy more than one at a time? “Yes. For sure they do,” says Doris, Sales Lead of the Columbus Avenue team. “Oftentimes customers come back, and because they like a certain style so much they buy it in every available color.” Talking about eco-friendly textiles, more than 85 percent of materials used in Faherty garments are selected with this consideration. The staff point to stacks of shorts in gray, beige and olive “each is made from 7 bottles turned into polyester.”
The mood at Faherty on Columbus Avenue is relaxed. The staff who come originally from different parts of the world are upbeat, welcoming and helpful.
Doris came to NYC about 20 years ago. After completing her studies in sociology and marketing in Germany, she worked in advertising and public relations agencies for a couple of years. When she then moved to the US, she worked in the corporate marketing communications world in the fields of tech and travel. She found yoga as a tool for her to keep a healthy work-life balance and became an avid yoga practitioner. “I love yoga. It keeps me sane.” Fast forward, after completing several teacher-training programs, she started teaching at a couple of yoga studios in NYC. As a side gig, Doris followed her other passion in fashion and began working in retail for athletic gear.
Covid reductions put a damper on yoga sessions. Looking for alternative opportunities, she was drawn to Faherty. “It’s the kind of clothes I love and I identify with the company’s culture and philosophy of sustainability and mindfulness,” says Doris who rides her bike everywhere.
Kunsang, (Coco) came to the states at the age of 8, as a Tibetan immigrant. Her family escaped occupied Tibet to Kathmandu, Nepal, before moving to Madison, Wisconsin, in search of a life with better opportunities. She spent her formative years in the midwest, and after graduating college with a degree in fashion marketing, Kunsang came to New York to pursue her career. After working for over a decade at one of the Upper West Side’s “go-to” women’s boutiques, Olive & Bette’s, on Columbus Avenue. Unfortunately, the economic downturn and extended lockdowns that came with Covid’s arrival ultimately forced the business to permanently close, and Kunsang spent the next year living in Los Angeles. “But something kept pulling me back to New York,” she says. So when the Store Leader opportunity with Faherty came up, she knew she had to pursue it. And serendipitously, the location was on Columbus Avenue, just across the street from the storefront where she’d spent the previous 10 years, “it was meant to be.”
Monica came from Ecuador at age four with her family. She earned a degree in CUNY. She’s been working at Faherty for three years.
In describing the store’s management style, staff say they appreciate how mindfulness matters. Kerry, for example, will often conclude meetings with a mindfulness session.
Looking toward the months ahead the Faherty plan described on the website, anticipates more adventurous enterprise on the path they’ve already begun, “Our ongoing partnerships with Native designers and artists, Bethany Yellowtail (Northern Cheyenne Nation), Doug Good Feather (Standing Rock Indian Reservation), and Steven Paul Judd (Choctaw & Kiowa), continue our mission as a brand to model mutually beneficial relationships between Native artists and non-Native companies for collective healing. Sales from items like jewelry from the B. Yellowtail Collective or Doug Good Feather designed blankets have contributed to the restoration of Native land and the economic empowerment of Indigenous communities, while amplifying their stories. ”