This summer we are going to do a weekly-'ish' series titled Women Behind The Scenes Of Our Favorite Equestrian Brands. We'd like to highlight these hard working equestrians who started with an idea and grew it into a top selling brand.
I recently had a chance to visit with Cathy Sacher of Essex Classics,
THE name in equestrian show shirts & now quickly growing a
following in her beautiful line of casual shirts. Cathy has been
riding most of her life with such notable trainers such as
Pat Dodson & Keith Hastings of Cloud Harbor Farm in Clemmons N.C..
Pat was recently inducted into the Carolinas Show Hunter Hall Of Fame.
Cathy, pictured left with her mare Dora.
Upon graduating from college, Cathy went into banking, but found it unfulfilling. Cathys father worked in the menswear industry, designing & sourcing beautifully tailored shirts for men. Pat & Keith were big fans of her fathers garments and encouraged Cathy to break into equestrian show shirts. At the time there were very few made in the U.S. and they only came with one choker. If you lost your choker, you needed a new shirt. Cathy brought the ingenious idea of creating a shirt company that offered 2 chokers with each shirt...and thus Essex Classics was born.
Over the years Essex has become the commanding force of the show shirt industry. Cathy hand picks all the fabrics, bravely mixing colors & patterns to bring beautiful unique looks to the show ring. She is constantly looking for the next new fabric that will help you perform your best at the peak of show season, while maintaining that classic tailored look.
Essex Classics has truly become the industry trend setter all other brands aspire to be. CoolMax, Talent Yarn, Wrap Collar - all got their start under Cathy's guidance at Essex Classics. Sure many companies put out a wrap collar, but Cathy wasn't satisfied with her design until the shirt looked perfect worn closed under a coat or open, ringside waiting for the jog.
This past fall Essex introduced the Dora Casual shirt. Tailored from beautiful stretch fabrics in deep rich hues. I asked Cathy where she came up with the idea for this branch out from her traditional show shirts. Dora happens to be the name of Cathys horse, the beautiful dark bay pictured above with her.
Cathy is just like the rest of us, a true horse lover, but she's also a fierce competitor. She is in the trenches with us - at the in gate waiting with us, she knows what we do day in and day out. Her travels on the show circuit allowed her to observe that trainers, show moms, exhibitors & more lacked a nicely tailored, fashionable casual shirt. From there she worked closely with trainers & riders while the idea for a casual shirt took hold Intent on designing a shirt that both enveloped her deep respect for American traditions while offering innovative classical designs with attention to detail.
These beautiful shirts are reminiscent of the fun colors and patterns once seen in show shirts, with a twist of understated elegance. The stretch cotton fabric is light weight, moves with you & goes anywhere. The fun pop of contrast on the collar and cuffs paired with a whip stitch collar or playful button threads make these shirts uniquely original. A shirt you simply won't find anywhere else. They offer a polished professional look setting jumps for clients in the schooling ring, or out to dinner with friends.
So what's the next new thing you ask? Fun new contrast themes are on the horizon sourced by Cathy straight from Italy for both the Dora and the Talent Yarn lines. She is also expanding her awareness campaigns to reach beyond Danny & Ron's Rescue. We love a brand that uses their branding to help out charities! Haven't tried on a Dora yet? Take a peek at our collection there's sure to be a style with your name on it! I think Cathy said it best when she said "You don't have to horse show to wear an Essex Classics Shirt"
Look for more blog posts about influential women behind equestrian brands in the coming weeks.
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