Almost everything you need to know about High Sport, a new luxury sportswear brand, can be summed up by the comments on its Instagram.
"Please tell me these pants will be available to order soon." "The whole look. I need." "I want these dang pants!!!"
Those commenters are using multiple emojis because of a simple starting roster: crewneck sweaters, midi skirts and dresses, and wide-leg pants, all offered in thick performance knits with a hint of stretch. High Sport's devoted (and growing) following is particularly obsessed with its knit kick flare pants, in an array of colors from highlighter orange to sky blue. Only three discerning, in-person retailers carried High Sport at the outset, meaning only a handful of in-the-know shoppers could purchase the pants. The rest were left to plead for stock lists in the comments section and wait—until High Sport finally arrived at Moda Operandi last week.
Alissa Zachary, High Sport's founder, knew from past merchandising experience at The Row and Khaite that the best clothing always checked three boxes: "easy to style, easy to wear, and easy to care for," she tells BAZAAR.com.
The kick pant—free of hardware with a pull-on fit and shoe-accentuating hem—met all those criteria. It was also the first High Sport piece Zachary designed. She knew it could be easily styled, whether with a matching knit top from her line and strappy heels or a white button-down and loafers. She didn't anticipate the response: "I don’t think I knew at the outset that this would be our winning item," Zachary says.
Four years of development later, Zachary believes the pant arrived at the perfect time. Right now, "We want to take pride in ourselves and the way we dress, but the expectation has changed. And the expectation is that we expect to be comfortable," she explains. "It seems that people like this sort of hybrid idea of a beautiful, tailored trouser that wears like a legging."
First the pant's popularity took Zachary by surprise, then High Sport followers' preference for candy wrapper colors over basic neutrals surprised her again. "My instinct from working in fashion was that we’d show purple and sell black. You always show the dream and then sell the reality," she says. "I never expected that people would gravitate toward color in the way that they have. Maybe that’s also a factor of sort of re-emerging into the world and wanting to make a statement, and taking pride in your dress."
The pants may be followers' first love, but it won't be their last. Jaclyn Alexandra Cohen, fashion and accessories editor at BAZAAR, tells me High Sport's boxy blazer is her current "wishlist item." "It’s the perfect balance of structure and comfort, and everything that makes American sportswear so desirable: luxury without compromise," she says.
Could it be? A line that exceeds the expectations it sets on Instagram? High Sport's designer thinks so: "These clothes are so much more interesting out in the world than in a vacuum." Or through a screen.