If you are looking for super cute equestrian-inspired tees, Tara Kiwi is your place to go! Her tees are light-weight, very soft, and so comfortable! Check out some of the pieces from her 2012 line below (I will also be noting which ones I have!). VR recently caught up with Tara Kiwi creator and owner Tara Leu to discuss her line and what we have to look forward to in the future.
VR: What brought about the creation of Tara Kiwi?
TK: To make a long story short I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in fashion and eventually start my own company. I worked in the industry for seven years and kept circling back to my equestrian roots.
Being that I live in the tee shirt capital of the world I decided to start a contemporary equestrian inspired tee shirt line. I didn’t want the line to be exclusively equestrian so I added a twist of surf hence the logo. The line is really 90% horse and 10% surf but don’t be surprised to see a bit more of this eclectic blend in the 2013 collection.
VR: Where do you get your style influence?
TK: I can’t deny that I have very preppy roots! I attended private school and rode horses growing up so I was used to uniforms. Although as I grew older I started spending more and more time at the beach eventually moved to the land of perpetual summer where I was infected with that laid back beach style. I guess I like to combine structure with ease. I like to look elegant but feel comfortable too!
VR: Do you have a particular customer in mind when you design? Who is she? What is she like?
TK: I design for sophisticated stylish woman who like to have fun and are typically a horse enthusiast! My horse show customers are high energy, positive women who have great style and obviously great taste. Ladies have told me they were going to wear their tees ringside at a Grand Prix event, to their lessons at the barn, dinner parties and work!
VR: Can you tell us anything about what is coming? Anything new and exciting for Fall 2012?
TK: I’m going to do an early release of the 2013 collection for the Holidays. It’s exciting because it’s a new long sleeve silhouette and a new 2013 design. The colors will be festive too… think silvers and golds. In addition to that I’m toying with the idea of making some limited edition prints of the stand out 2013 designs.
VR: What is your go-to style piece?
TK: I wear them all but if I need a chic look for a dinner party or cocktails my go-to look is Horse Shoe Sleeves. I pair with skinny jeans, heels or ballet flats, scarf and my favorite hoops, it’s a no brainer!
VR: What is the fit of the Tara Kiwi tees?
TK: Tara Kiwi has the benefit of being a Los Angeles based company our fit is on par with the contemporary market. We pride ourselves on having silky soft tee shirts that come in a variety of modern silhouettes.
Currently we have three ladies silhouettes:
Swoop Neck Tee – This tee is fitted and flattering on ALL figures.
Urban Tee – Long and loose with a boat neckline
Scoop Tank – Long and slender with mirrored scoop neckline.
We are adding a long sleeve swoop neck this fall and always searching the market for the next great silhouette.
VR: What are some of your favorite equestrian apparel lines?
TK: It’s been a long time, 10 years to be exact when I was riding on a regular basis. I used to wear Ariat, Tailored Sportsman and Essex Classics to name a few. However brands that catch my eye today are Goode Rider, Animo and Tag . I pinned the most amazing pair of Accademia Italiana britches on Pinterest. They are a unique brown/purple camo with purple piping, I would totally rock them!
VR: Do you currently own any horses? If so, what kind and what type of riding do you do?
TK: I have a retired OTTB, Sondra, back in Pennsylvania she is living out her life at a fabulous little farm. My first horse Sylvester, an Arabian mix, passed away a few months ago at the ripe old age of 34. He was one of two so called misfit schooling horses we saved from the auction that ended up being fantastic reliable horses.
I used to compete in the lower levels of eventing, showed in schooling shows and participated in fun events like paper chases. I hope to start riding again in a few years, starting in lessons and one day compete again.
VR: Is there anything else you would like us to know?
TK: I truly love what I do and have a very supportive family, we live ‘Tara Kiwi’ at times! My office is at home. Generally I rock out my day to hip hop and house with the exception of NPR in the morning. Thankfully I do not commute to work anymore but I do miss the ‘water cooler talk’! So if you catch me on the phone or at the coffee shop I may talk your ear off! I started the line small but have big dreams for it. I want to eventually expand the line to printed blouses, skirts and home textiles. I think it would be pretty cool to shrink down mixed up prints, create an all-over print and make a sheer neck tie blouse or perhaps a leather stripes pillow? I know its future talk but I really can’t help myself!
Are you as excited about this as I am?? Having some of these tees, I can attest to how cute and comfortable they are, and I will definitely be getting more. I feel like she was designing with me in mind! These tees are so easy to wear–you can wear them to the barn for a schooling session, to work, or out and about! These will also be so easy to layer for fall and winter. I can’t wait to see the new designs for 2013 and her thoughts about the future…perfect! If you haven’t tried one of these tees yet, you need to! They are also made in America…how fantastic is that! Be sure to click on the link below to see the whole line.
* denotes the tees I have
Tara Kiwi 2012 Line
Horse Brasses* Points of the Horse*
Crops & Fins
Here is a picture that Tara was kind enough to share with us. It is a picture of her and her horse Sylverster at Fairhill.
Explore Tara Kiwi here: