Tennis & Golf Clothes So Chic & Versatile Women Can Walk Straight From the Court to CocktailsMeet the Founders of Hedge — a line of fashionable and functional — dare I say, sexy? — clothes for the tennis court and the golf course...
If you saw me on the tennis court today, you’d find it hard to believe — laughable, really — that I was ever any good at the sport.
But, back in the day, I was the number one seed on my high school tennis team.
I had a decent serve and a mean backhand.
What I didn’t have were chic clothes to wear on the court.
They simply didn’t exist.
And for someone who loves fashion as much as I do, that was a tragedy.
A fashionable and functional sports clothing and accessories brand started by two Hamptons women, Antonia DiPaolo and Meagan Ouderkirk.
They came up with the idea — where else? — on the tennis court at The Bridgehampton Club.
Antonia DiPaolo: Meagan and I were playing tennis and she was wearing this beautiful, pleated skirt with a tiny navy line. I’ll never forget this. She did a backhand volley, and I had an epiphany. I said, "Meagan, can we meet for coffee after this?" We both talked about how we were disgruntled with, when you have to wear all-white apparel playing tennis, what was on the market.
Alina Cho: There was nothing.
Meagan Ouderkirk: Nothing. Too short, too tight, too flimsy, too see-through.
Antonia DiPaolo: Not flattering at all.
Alina Cho: It’s almost like, who’s designing this?
Antonia DiPaolo: Well, as we did our research, we realized that men were designing clothes for women. And we said, “A-ha." So that fall, Meagan came over to my house and we took eight or nine of our favorite pieces in our closet.
Meagan Ouderkirk: And we asked ourselves, “Why do we love these? Why are they our go-to’s? Why do we feel more confident when we wear this dress versus another dress?” Just sort-of breaking it down, you know.
Alina Cho: So, what was the goal? To take that and say, “How can we bring this onto the court?”
Meagan Ouderkirk: I think when I would get dressed to play sports, I never felt like myself or my style. And then consequently, not comfortable, or confident.
Alina Cho: Right. And I don't care what anyone says, it affects your performance.
Antonia DiPaolo: It affects your performance and I know it sounds silly but when you feel like you look good…
Alina Cho: … you play better.
Alina Cho: Let’s talk about the name, “Hedge.” Obviously, that is a not-so-subtle nod to the Hamptons, right?
Antonia DiPaolo: Yes. I grew up on the corner of Ocean Road and Quimby Lane in Bridgehampton, and we had huge high hedges all around us.
And when we were trying to come up with a name for the business, it was like an epiphany for both of us.
Meagan Ouderkirk: If you drive around, that's all you see — hedges.
Alina Cho: And you're always wondering what's behind the hedge, right?
Antonia DiPaolo: Exactly. It’s sort-of hidden, but you can still peek in and see a little bit. It’s a little like our line — we're not revealing so much of ourselves. It’s a little more feminine.
Meagan Ouderkirk: What we try to do with every single piece is make it conservative enough for the environment we're playing in, but also, and I don't want to use the word “sexy,” but feminine enough where if we're going to have a collar, let's show a little shoulder.
If we're going to have a long skirt, let's show some waist.
Alina Cho: It’s also made with the idea that you’re going to go straight from the court to cocktails, right?
Meagan Ouderkirk: Yeah, because we're busy, we don't have time to go home and change and remake our faces. We're going from meetings to pickups…
Alina Cho: What's the big dream for Hedge?
Meagan Ouderkirk: We’d like to expand to other countries. Japan, Korea — everybody there loves golf and I feel like Hedge would be really successful.
Alina Cho: So, expanding internationally.
Meagan Ouderkirk: But then I also feel like there are other sports that...
Antonia DiPaolo: ... need help.
Meagan Ouderkirk: Whether it's horseback riding, sailing, hunting, ice skating, gymnastics.
Antonia DiPaolo: We want to create things that you could wear for a plethora of different sports. Because that's who we are, essentially. I love to play tennis; then I go play golf and then I go swimming in the ocean.
Alina Cho: Great idea. I always say the most successful designers are the ones who are filling white space. And that's exactly what you're doing.
Well done. I am very Impressed!