AYR, aka All Year Round, produces clothes that are just that—able to be worn all year round. The direct-to-consumer brand uses its name in multiple ways, pronounced like “fresh air,” as the clothes are meant to become seasonless, practical, and comfortable staples in customers’ lives.
While the brand started solely with womenswear, it expanded into menswear two seasons ago. VMAN spoke with Brice Pattison, AYR’s VP of Menswear, about his vision for the clothing company’s future, working for a friends-and-family-owned business, and the importance of direct customer connections.
VMAN: What made you want to join the brand?
Brice Pattison: I saw how AYR’s DNA could translate to menswear—high-quality textiles, versatile design, practicality, and comfort—for the guy who actually enjoys getting dressed. AYR’s mentality behind the design was a big draw for me, too: obsessing over fit and details, working with the best fabrics, and keeping a streamlined collection with small batch production. The team has always intended for AYR to belong to a wide range of people; menswear seemed like a natural next step.
VM: What did you manage to learn/find from AYR’s direct-to-consumer approach? What about it keeps it interesting for you?
BP: It’s really energizing to have such a direct connection to the customer, to their feedback. It’s almost like being on the ground in an old-school tailor shop where the customer tells the tailor what’s working, what’s not working what their needs are. Sometimes this is literal, in the form of product reviews—our reviewers are really funny too—and a lot of the time, it’s having hands-on access to the data of what’s actually selling, seeing what people actually like. It’s really cool to be that close to both the product and the people wearing it.
VM: Coming from a background of experience from working with similar brands like Todd Synder and J. Crew, what are you hoping to bring to the brand as they develop the menswear branch more and more?
BP: I want our menswear to fit into our customers’ lives, into their existing wardrobes, into what they already wear. I want to create things that make getting dressed feel a little more intentional. I want a digital shopping experience that showcases fewer, more focused products. I like the idea of a customer coming back to us again and again for their favorites. I like the idea of creating designs relevant to the brand and the customer for decades, not a season.
Our obsession with thoughtful, practical details contributes to the low-maintenance, forever-wearability of our pieces. Everything is designed to last, to wear and re-wear, and repair forever. It’s important to me that our clothes last, that they’re durable, really made to be worn for years, and that they’re versatile—both in outfits, but also over time. My dream as a designer is that you could pack a few AYR pieces in a carry-on or a backpack for a long trip and wear them a bunch of different ways to a bunch of different things and places. If I can create an assortment of items that achieves that I would be proud. Like the menu at your favorite restaurant, we focus on the ‘best of’ items and add in some special sides.
VM: As AYR is friends and family-operated and works bicoastal, how are you managing to help fuse the varying bicoastal aesthetics for harmonious collections that still echo the core ethos of the brands?
BP: I think, more so than fusing east-coast and west-coast aesthetics, our team shares a really mutual vision of substantial, versatile, well-made classics that fit the way you want them to, that feels intentional, and that can stand the test of time and wear.
We also share a similar sense of humor, which is essential to our brand voice and brings an appreciated levity to this thing we all do—online shopping. We’re in touch everyday, we see each other in person on shoots, we’re constantly wear-testing and providing feedback on the clothes we make, and we spend a lot of time in one particular slack channel where we discuss current streaming obsessions, books and music recs, recipes, ‘Bravolebrities,’ and mall food court nostalgia.