By Esther Hahn
Flattering performance breeches at a palatable price point are surprisingly difficult to find. In a landscape of expensive competition wear—that inevitably increases the rising fees associated with showing—it’s nearly impossible to build a competitor’s closet with affordable, ring-ready ensembles that perform and fit as well as the big-ticket styles.
It’s for this reason that Kerrits has entered the hunter/jumper arena, striving to change the dynamic. Pairing the brand’s already well-loved fabrics with a fresh take on design, the new Affinity™ show collection redefines the reality around building show outfits without compromising the equestrian’s overall budget.
The high-performance, durable Affinity™ collection, comprised of breeches, a show shirt, and a show jacket, reimagines what is possible in terms of value, fit, and function—ultimately redefining and expanding what riders can expect from the Kerrits brand.
While many may know of Kerrits, few will have heard that it began as a swimwear company. Founder Kerri Kent balanced her passion for horses and riding with another lifestyle sport, windsurfing. Unsatisfied with the athletic swimwear options available while competing on Washington’s Columbia River in 1986, she decided to purchase $50 in fabric to make her own suits and sold them out of her car trunk. Kerrits Activewear was born.
A few years later, in 1991, an article in the New York Times that covered Kent’s swimwear and activewear brand also mentioned that she had an interest in creating an equestrian brand under the name Kerrits. This caught the attention of industry entrepreneur, Michael Diamond, and he asked Kent to produce riding tights. As the tights grew in popularity, Kerrits cemented itself as a trusted equestrian brand, with a focus on technical fabrics, innovative designs, and flattering fit.
Even at the inception of Kerrits 30 years ago, Kent realized that her brand should be creative in sizing so customers could confidently choose their size. This principle continues today, with Kerrits offering a straightforward size guide from XS to 2X and designing items that fit and flatter a wide range of body types.
Currently, Kerrits is based in Bingen, Wash., with a satellite office in Portland, Ore. The Pacific Northwest roots are important for the company, which states that the area, with its erratic weather patterns, serves as the perfect test lab for activewear. It’s the ideal location for Kerrits to innovate riding apparel using technical fabrics that can withstand the weather wherever the rider may be.
Kerrits’ tights and breeches have always been celebrated for their functionality and in-saddle performance, and the newly launched collection provides a shape and silhouette that will satisfy even the most particular show-style connoisseur.
A brand evolving
With the popularity of Kerrits tights, it’s unsurprising that the brand has become synonymous with the type of riding pant. Perennial favorites, the technical tights come in an Ice Fil® fabric to cool in the summer and in fleece-lined styles to stay warm in the winter.
Kerrits’ first foray into the competitive hunter/jumper market began with its Crossover Knee Patch Breech And to build on the momentum, the newly launched Affinity™ Ice Fil® Breech provides the coverage, fit, and compression that the discipline’s riders have come to expect in a breech from the European brands—except Kerrits’ are at a much more palatable price point of $139.
In addition to providing a beautiful fit, the breech also utilizes Ice Fil® technology, making it the best possible option to wear when riding or showing in the heat. And in the traditional sand and white colors, in addition to schooling shades of lichen and black, a closet full of the perfectly fitting riding breech is well within reach.
To complement the breeches, the Affinity™ Show Shirt and Aero Mesh Show Coat round out the full look. The shirts are available in sleeveless ($59) and long sleeve ($79) styles and feature lightweight, four-way stretch Ice Fil® jacquard fabric. In addition to the flattering style, wearing the shirt can lower the skin’s temperature up to five degrees.
The Affinity™ Aero Show Coat ($199) is an elevated counterpart to the already well-loved Competitor Koat. Updates include hidden string holes for competitor number cards and interchangeable buttons. But it’s the stretch Aero Mesh fabric that’s the star element, allowing the coat to be breathable and lightweight, without losing its tailored and flattering shape.
As the numbers add up, it’s a pleasant surprise that Kerrits makes an entire show outfit available for under $500—and without sacrificing the brand’s signature features of technical fabrics and flattering designs.
“The Affinity™ collection really is our opportunity to talk to a different audience than we’ve been able to talk to before,” says Kerrits CEO, Melissa Hubbard. “It is the next generation of show apparel for Kerrits. It combines clean lines and traditional colors appropriate for our hunter/jumper customers, with the innovation and performance that are mainstays of the Kerrits brand.”
Confidence is a driving force behind the expanding product collection from Kerrits—the desire to have all riders feel confident in their show and riding apparel. Try the thoughtful designs by ordering online at Kerrits.com or visiting a Kerrits retailer. And when a rider next steps into the ring, feeling cool in temperature and in style in the Affinity™ line, that will mean that Kerrits has achieved exactly what it set out to accomplish.
Kerrits also offers a full selection of outerwear and apparel for the active equestrian.
Visit us online at kerrits.com.