The former managing director at Barbour has launched a new unisex, gender-neutral fashion brand.

Hay Life suits

Hay Life dual-gender fashionwear shines a spotlight on the potential uses of farming by-products such as straw

Hay Life has officially launched today and is one of the first lifestyle fashion brands to be “fully dedicated” to unisex fashion.

Hay Life hopes to break down traditional stereotypes about “gender classing” and cross-dressing. All its products have a slightly oversized fit to cater to all consumers.

The first range of products includes tailoring, T-shirts, knitwear and outerwear, with prices starting at £43.

Debut stockists of the brand include Next, John Lewis and rental platform Hurr, among others.

Hay Life founder and former Barbour MD Ryan Llewellyn-Pace said that while the brand is initially launching online, stores are in the pipeline as part of its growth strategy. The brand also goes live on TikTok shop from today.

Accessories are on offer, too, some of which are made from recycled straw, in a bid to shine the spotlight on the potential uses of farming by-products.

Hay Life chief marketing officer Natasha Bailey, who worked alongside Llewellyn-Pace at Barbour, told Retail Week that while the brand isn’t claiming to be fully sustainable, it is definitely making more conscious decisions.

“Everyone needs to be conscious about their impact. What we are not going to sit there and say is that we’re a sustainable brand, because the most sustainable thing to do is not make a brand – but we are conscious about what we’re doing.

“By being a unisex brand, it means we’re not creating a womenswear and menswear range; we’re creating a collection that can be worn by men and women, which aims to reduce waste as well.

“That really ties into why we’re looking at the straw coming through our accessories, which is something we would like to explore further. We also wanted to bring some light to the fashion space. We want to be playful and joyful and celebrate self expression.

“Brands are starting to realise that you need to be part of the conversation, rather than leading it. We are not here to tell people how to celebrate self expression or how to dress. We want to do this in a really considered way that’s true to our values.

“Because we’ve worked with brands and retailers in our [professional] backgrounds, the things we are hearing in the industry is that brands that are more transitional are succeeding. People don’t want a piece in their wardrobe that they can wear for two weeks a year, they want to be able to style, layer and create different looks.”

Bailey added that consumer feedback will be a vital part of the Hay Life launch and journey, especially when it comes to fit.

Llewellyn-Pace called the launch a “key moment for the industry” and said he hopes the brand will break boundaries and campaign for change within fashion.

Hay Life is set to partner with repairs and alterations platform Sojo to encourage longevity and individual styling across the products.