By Rennie Dyball
Jocelyn Kivort doesn’t just tell customers that her clothes will last them many years—she shows them.
As the owner and manufacturer of Arista Equestrian, a boutique brand of riding and lifestyle pieces, Kivort will sometimes wear her own favorite Arista pieces to work for the day. And sometimes, those pieces will have lived in her closet for a decade.
“People will ask, ‘Can I buy that?’ and I tell them it’s a 10-year-old piece,” Kivort tells The Plaid Horse. “I sprinkle those into my wardrobe because it’s important for people to see how our products last. Even if you’re hard on it, wearing it and washing it a lot.”
That high quality is at the forefront of Kivort’s mission with her brand. “We’re constantly trying to build value for our customers. Our business is probably run differently than the majority in that it’s not about the profit as much as it is about the product and the consumer,” she says.
“We absorb a lot of the costs. I’m proud of Arista. It speaks to people, and they get a good value. Compared to other brands, spending $130 on a shirt is a lot of money. People tell me, ‘It’s so beautiful, I don’t even wear Arista to the barn. I tell them, ‘Please wear them! We put so much effort into choosing durable fabrics and doing test washes to make sure the pieces will hold up, wash well, and stains will come out. It’s a sin not to wear them to the barn.”
Arista Sport and a New Home at WEC
While Arista previously set up shop at various horse shows throughout the year‚ along with being sold through a network of retailers, the brand now as a permanent home at World Equestrian Center in Ocala, FL. Kivort says the clothes were originally beloved by dressage riders and older adult amateurs across disciplines.
Now, from their new boutique at WEC, Kivort is expanding the line to appeal to a younger crowd in the hunter-jumper rings. “The sophisticated designs were what initially attracted the mature amateur rider,” says Kivort. “However, throughout the past several years we have intentionally added designs to appeal to a more youthful consumer.”
Kivort is currently designing a separate line within the brand, Arista Sport, with younger competitive riders in mind. “We are very excited to be developing the Arista Sport line to appeal to the modern rider with solid pieces in sportier silhouettes, with a more trendy and youthful look,” she says. “Both the fabrics and components used for this line will offer the same quality as the Arista Classic line with designs that will appeal more directly to the hunter-jumper rider.” Arista Sport will offer short sleeve and long sleeve shirts, sweaters, vests and breeches.
The Woman Behind the Brand
Long before Kivort ran this business herself, she got a holiday gift from her sister—an Arista vest. Kivort loved the high quality, design, and fit so much that she went looking for more pieces by the brand. “It was 2 a.m., I had just had a baby a few weeks before, and I saw a note on the website that said, ‘Do you want to become an Arista retailer?’ I’d had an extensive career in retail, so I started selling Arista under the business name In The Stirrup,” she says.
“The brand was my singular focus as I loved the styling, details and quality of the product. My business quickly became the largest Arista Equestrian retailer. As I myself was the core Arista customer, I had an intimate understanding of her needs. Throughout the years I became more involved with the designs by providing feedback to the owners to help curate the fashion direction for the following season. When I had the opportunity to purchase the brand four years ago, I did not hesitate. It was such a natural progression in my Arista journey.”
Kivort always had an affinity for horses, but didn’t begin riding herself until age 30. “It was a very quick road from lessons to leasing to purchasing my very first horse,” she says. With her horse Nemo, she’s competed in special hunters and adult equitation classes, and she recently imported a 5-year-old Holsteiner name Quirano. “He is currently in training with a professional but I am hoping to be showing him in a few months,” says Kivort. “He made is show debut at WEC this past week and got great ribbons in big classes.”
But her greatest moments with horses have always included her two daughters—Olivia, now 20, and Mirielle, now 18. “From pony days to competitive horse showing, we have enjoyed many hours in the barn, traveling to shows and supporting each other’s horse endeavors,” says Kivort. “My fondest childhood memories of my girls definitely include horses. Now they are a great resource as well, as sounding boards for Arista designs!”
Visit Arista Equestrian in person at World Equestrian Center, Ocala, or online at www.aristaequestrian.com.
*This story was originally published in the February 2022 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!