What motivated you to start Faherty?
Mike: “I was a kid who lived and breathed buying clothes at the surf shop. I remember all of a sudden, as a teenager, I was like, ‘Nothing here feels good enough anymore. I almost don’t want to buy it.’ It was my vibe, but I didn’t necessarily feel the quality. The other thing that inspired me; my dad had great style. I remember going to his closet and feeling his shirts and his ties, and starting to learn a little bit about the tactile experience of what nice clothes are. And this is all at a pretty early age, maybe 10, 12 years old.
When I had to put pen to paper to write a college essay, I actually wrote it about starting a company and just me having trouble finding clothes that I felt were what I wanted to wear. And so it really was about that, just wanting to create kind of the clothing I always thought should exist.”
Tell us about your surfing lifestyle and how that’s influenced the brand’s look and feel.
Alex: “Our favorite thing to do is to go surfing and to spend the weekend at the beach, wherever it might be. Those are the moments that we love. We call it life’s greatest moments. And the clothes we want to wear doing that are kind of the clothes we designed to fit into that life—it’s casual clothing. It can be colorful. It’s washed out. Some of it’s fun and funky. Some of it’s a little bit more traditional. And it’s just kind of living and breathing in the world that Mike and I live in and grew up in.”
Alright, time to get serious. Who’s the better surfer?
Alex: “Mike is the better surfer, hands down. But the one thing I was always better than Mike at: I was always willing to catch bigger waves and go a little bit crazier. I wanted to do extreme things. So that’s where I went, if you consider that winning.”
Any words of wisdom from over the years that you’d like to share with our readers?
Mike: “Mine would be: it’s never good enough. You can always do better. And it’s about, for me, crafting the best possible clothing that you can find. I think I can do it better than everyone else, and that’s what I want to do is make the best sh*t possible.”
Alex: “From a business advice perspective, bad things are going to happen, good things are going to happen. At the end of the day, it’s all about having a positive attitude and the answer always needs to be, ‘How can we fix it? How can we improve it?’ The other thing is, you’ve got to be passionate about it and you’ve got to hustle. You’ve got to have fun. You’ve got to dream big. You’ve got to be good to people.”
What are some of the coolest—and most annoying—things about working with your brother?
Alex: “There’s an ultimate trust level that we want to get the same thing out of this business. So we’re always aligned on the vision of the brand. Because of that, there’s really never fights about anything. It’s a mutual understanding. This is what we’ve always wanted to do. And when you do it with someone you’ve spent your whole life with, who’s your closest friend, it just makes that so much easier and makes it so much more fulfilling.
And the most annoying thing about working with your brother is…Nothing! Sometimes, Mike gets all the attention. He’s in the catalog. He’s single. He kinda looks great. I’m the dad bod. They don’t let me in the catalog… I’m sort of serious, but sort of kidding.”
I was really blown away by just how hands-on you guys are with the design and the manufacturing. Why do you think it’s so important to be transparent and remain innovative?
Alex: “Faherty’s something we did because it was a passion of Mike’s. Designing clothes is his favorite thing to do in the whole entire world, since he was 18 years old. We think about the world in a different way than other companies, or maybe larger corporations, think about. For us, it’s about how great a product we can make because it’s something we’re proud of. We’ve always been interested in sustainable technology, as far as when we were thinking about starting this brand.
Mike designs every single product, every single fabric we do from scratch. And so the yarn, the material, the feel, the pattern, the color. And that’s something he trained at Ralph Lauren for eight years, and really built a great understanding of how to do that—soup to nuts. And now it’s him being able to do that for his own brand where it’s not about someone else’s agenda. It’s about his own agenda.”
For someone who is new to Faherty Brand, what are your three favorite essentials?
Alex: “Our shirts are going to last a lifetime. The people who come into our store and like wearing shirts that feel amazing, are comfortable and look great; that are unique and just feel special. We get feedback where people are like, ‘This is my favorite shirt.’”
One of the things that’s become a big part of our spring and summer business is indigo-dyed knitwear. It’s blue―guys love blue―so we’ve developed this really big line of short-sleeved T-shirts and polo shirts that are dyed with indigo. We’re doing different stripe patterns and all sorts of different color combinations.
And then the third thing would be our All Day shorts. We make our fabric out of this innovative, recycled polyester. It’s one of the shorts that put us on the map when we launched. We add a little bit of stretch in it, it’s our hybrid. It’s a short that I always wanted. This ultimate short I can always wear and never take off and wear the same thing all summer. So it’s something I can put on in the morning. I can swim in them. I can take a run in them, but they’re made to look like a regular nice pair of shorts.”
Mike: “We 150% plus, guarantee every product ever, with no questions asked. Alex and I are easy to contact. We talk to our customers all the time. If they have questions, comments, concerns, we’re super-open, anything.”
Think fast. Tell us one thing about each other that no one would ever know.
Mike: “As a kid, Alex used to like to wear red and burgundy and I used to make him change [laughter]. He used to come down the stairs with a red T-shirt and burgundy sweatpants on.”
Alex: “Yeah. It still happens today.”
Mike: “Yeah. There’s been times when Alex will show up at the office, and I’m like, ‘Dude, you’re changing. You don’t look good.’ He’s like, ‘Oh, I didn’t have time.’ I’m like, ‘Come on, dude. You run a fashion company [laughter].’”
Alex: “Mike’s like the cool designer brother. I’m kind of more the regular Joe. I’m trying [laughter]. I’m doing my best. I’m getting better every year.”
Ready to try Faherty? Ask your Stylist for looks from our newest brand―including their popular shorts, swimwear, wovens and knits―in your next Fix.