Some girls love horses, others love fashion—and many love both. Luckily, there’s Free x Rein, a sleek new clothing line perfect for all of them. Created for women by women, Free x Rein is the brainchild of entrepreneurs and horse enthusiasts Andrea Hippeau Vogel and Dana Schwartz.
Designed to transition from the office to the barn, Free x Rein, a direct-to-consumer line, offers a solution for women with a passion for horses who struggle to find classic yet versatile riding gear at an attainable price point. It combines the best in high-tech and sustainable fabrics with classic equestrian silhouettes. With materials sourced around the world—from Italy to Japan, India to the United States—Free x Rein is manufactured at a small, family-owned factory in New York City.
Here, Quest sits down with Vogel and Schwartz to talk about their new niche brand.
Q: When did you fall in love with horses and things equestrian?
AV: My first carousel ride, when I was four years old. My parents got me riding lessons for my sixth birthday, and the rest is history.
DS: My parents signed me up for riding camp when I was six. Between being around such loving animals, the fun I had riding, and the sense of community at the barn, I was hooked.
Q: What about fashion?
AV: I would not consider myself a “fashionista.” I like clothes and to dress well, but I’d much rather have one outfit that takes me from day to night. I’m always on the hunt for that “uniform” I can throw on and know I am going to look good in—which is a big reason why we started Free x Rein.DS: From the time I can remember, clothing and fashion were my self-expression. I used to mix the most outrageous prints and styles together. Who could blame? It was the ’90s! As I grew older, I certainly wasn’t the model-body type, and I took a lot of pride in finding clothing that made me feel and look beautiful without being a slave to trends.Q: How did Free x Rein come about?
AV: Over three years of long car rides between the barn and the city. . . We were so frustrated with the synthetic fabrics and unflattering cuts of riding apparel, not to mention that it was impossible to transition to or from city life. We didn’t think there was anything we could do about it until a beautiful woman in her 30s told us that she was riding with Spanx under her breeches—imagine going for a jog wearing Spanx!—and we decided we had to take matters into our own hands.
Q: What sets your collection apart?
AV: We have the first-ever equestrian bodysuit, so that is definitely unique. We adapted the bodysuit that we all know and love in our fashion lives for equestrian sport.
DS: We incorporate the best aspects of equestrian apparel with street-wear fashion. Free x Rein is for both women who ride and those who appreciate equestrian style. You no longer have to be Jackie O. to wear posh riding apparel. Q: What has your sport taught you?
AV: Being a competitive equestrian at any level teaches you resilience. One day you can be in the winner’s circle and the next day literally on the ground. It is one humbling sport. The same sort of ups and downs come with being an entrepreneur. We know when to celebrate our wins—and when to put our heads back down to work.
DS: Perseverance. Horseback riding is filled with ups and downs. You could train for weeks on end and then, in the ring, your horse could buck you off. It teaches you not to give up on the hard work because the payoff of having a successful partnership with a horse and a great round is the most gratifying feeling in the world.