The Leeward Apparel crew is an ordinary sailing family. We aren't professional sailors, we didn't grow up with privilege, and we didn't grow up sailing. The Ward family was introduced to sailing as adults, but once we were smitten with it, there was no looking back! Nowadays, our goal is to take our family sailing as often as possible, spending quality time together and enjoying a few laughs with close friends. We feel very blessed every time we get out on the water.
When our family is out cruising, the boat, the wind, and water are an ecosystem where our little crew must look after the boat and each other. It ensures we take the time to look one another in the eye, communicate aloud, and maintain awareness of our surroundings. We laugh at each others mistakes and at times, shout orders at each other in accusing tones. We are constantly in learning mode. This is a stark contrast from the usual distractions of work email, social media, and smart phones.
Leeward Apparel was born out of our family's passion for sailing and a desire to bring everyday sailors high quality, ethically produced apparel products. Sailing hasn't always felt accessible to us and most people still think of sailing as a pastime for the wealthy. And while we've learned this isn't actually the case, perceptions of exclusivity are not difficult to understand. Every sailor knows a product branded and marketed for "sailing" or "marine" use generally demands quadruple the price. And while most of us don't mind paying a little more for a high quality product, the fact is, most of these premium priced products fail to deliver that quality.
All of the major sailing apparel and outerwear brands are now produced in countries like China, where labor standards, worker safety, quality control, and fair trade have taken a back seat to cost. And while labor standards and wages in these countries have started to improve, the costs are rising, which means these brands have to charge even more to continue delivering on historically high profit margins. Who is the loser in this economy? Primarily the consumer.
At Leeward Apparel, every product we sell is 100% sourced and made in the USA. And that means you can buy Leeward Apparel with confidence and a clear conscience. We've introduced our first line of active sailing apparel and we plan to continue expanding our offerings to meet the needs of the active sailing family, whether you're just sailing on the weekend or voyaging across the globe.
Ben Ward - Founder