With an eye for fashion, designer and equestrian Sara Griot not only watched rounds at her daughter’s horse shows, she watched the apparel trends riding by.
After a successful dress line that was featured in top fashion magazines and housed at major stores, Griot stepped away from the industry to raise her four children. Coming back, she knew she wanted to focus on designing with the equestrian in mind. Her passion for the sport gave Griot the inspiration to create show apparel with a timeless essence. Griot’s labor of love became the O’Shaughnessey brand (the name a nod to her Irish roots) that was launched in 2011.
With business savvy experience and a designer’s eye, Griot’s show shirts and jackets are designed to be just as fabulous on the street as they are in the ring. Using rich hues and sumptuous fabrics, the apparel line is flattering and distinctive.
A Vision Manifested
New for 2013, Griot collaborated with the creative powerhouse and equestrian trend spotter Molly Knott, founder of the blog DappledGrey.com. Together, the two created a limited edition collection of versatile styles to wear from barn to town. “Designer/retailer and designer/blogger collaborations are a major focus in the fashion world right now, and Sara wanted to extend this concept to the equestrian industry. Of course, it was very exciting for me,” Knott tells.
Like all artists, Griot and Knott have big imaginations. Envisioning what their customer would want to wear “from a morning hack and then lunch with friends or a day at the office and then out to ride after work,” was the start of it, says Knott. “And then we hashed out millions of details!”
Their attention to the details is evident in the fine craftsmanship– apparel that performs under pressure with superior movement, flexibility, and, of course, style.
Although the design process can be exhausting, with long hours and pressing timelines, the equestrian lifestyle has prepared these horsewomen well. “It was very educational for me to experience firsthand the real constraints that designers are up against. It makes it even more impressive when you see a beautiful final product,” describes Knott.
The collaboration includes the show shirt, the Spectator, which was inspired from the casual open collar look that you’ll find many riders sporting when not in the ring. The Spectator’s “faux-show” neckline gives the elegant height of a traditional show shirt collar with a graceful, flattering open neck. The other piece, the Flynn jacket, will be released later this summer. “We wanted a ‘wow’ piece that could be a staple for anywhere a fashionable equestrian might find herself – out for a morning hack, auditing a clinic, a working lunch, watching a child’s lesson, running errands,” says Griot.
Knott is excited, too, to share the collaboration with her blog’s audience. “Absolutely what makes these two pieces stand out, like all the O’Shaughnessey products, is the incredible quality of the fabrics and detail elements – a hallmark of Sara’s designs,” enthuses Knott.
The brand will also be unveiling the O’Connor Spectator Coat, which will be available in red or black lightweight wool. “It’s a long coat with beautiful back detail and contrast lining, inspired by the redingote’s from the 18th century, a statement piece we’ve wanted to introduce for quite a while,” says Griot. A perfect go-to piece for the show mom or busy trainer.
As a distinguishing feature of the brand, all products are designed and made in the United States. “When I had my dress line, I felt very strongly about the clothes being manufactured domestically. Then and now, it’s more about the integrity of having a product manufactured by people that are being paid fairly and treated well, and where I can see what is happening as the product is being developed,” Griot expresses.
O’Shaughnessey infuses show staples with an extra touch of special without any fuss. Inspired by the traditional elegance of past riding days, Griot keeps her finger on the pulse of modern comforts. Bringing the two together means one thing – be prepared to get comfortable and fashionable.
-By Katie Shoultz
This article was published in the June/July 2013 edition of Horse & Style Magazine. CLICK HERE to read the entire issue online!