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DTC Chat: AYR’s Max Bonbrest and Brice Pattison on Making Clothing Meant to Last

Jun 17, 2023

DTC Chat is Rivet’s discussion series with direct to consumer (DTC) brands to get a deeper dive into their business and latest collections.

Founded in 2014 by Max Bonbrest and Maggie Winter, AYR offers a wide selection of men and women’s clothing with an end goal to carry the consumer through every season of life and create quality clothing for those who want to invest in a long-lasting wardrobe.

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Here, Bonbrest and Brice Pattison, VP of menswear design at AYR, discuss the hottest men’s fits in the brand’s spring collection.

Rivet: What are your best-selling fits for men?

Max Bonbrest: The Normie, our classic straight-leg denim, has been a big hit—both the Cowboy (dark wash) and Holiday (light wash) are top sellers.

Rivet: What are your best-selling non-denim items?

MB: Sweaters have been a popular category for menswear. The Big Softie in Navy and Oyster, and the Two-a-Days—an antimicrobial, wrinkle-resistant, body-temperature-regulating Extrafine Merino Wool that wears like a sweatshirt, but looks like a sweater—are standout hits.

Rivet: What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

MB: AYR’s DNA—beautiful textiles, versatile design, understated elegance, practicality and comfort—translates easily to menswear. It’s a super natural evolution for us and a category we were excited to expand into last year.

Rivet: In what ways has the business changed since the pandemic for the better? For the worse?

MB: The pandemic gave us the opportunity to pause and reassess how we were operating and focus on what was working and eliminate what wasn’t. It helped us streamline our business both in process and product. We came out of the pandemic a profitable business with a focused mission and all-star team.

Rivet: How much is the average purchase?

MB: Our average purchase is between $250-$300.

Rivet: Describe how you approach designing new collections.

Brice Pattison: My intention has always been to make getting dressed not just easy, but delightful. My favorite items in the collection are those that go hand in hand and have multiple uses, because that’s how we all dress in our day-to-day, isn’t it?

AYR produces in small quantities, on a slowed-down schedule. We’re diligent about making the right quantity and designing for the sake of forever-wearability (not trendiness) so, when our customer buys something new, it rotates into their existing wardrobe. I believe in longevity of possessions and apply that practicality to both what I design and consume.

Rivet: What are your favorite items?

Brice Pattison: The Casino is one of my favorite pieces in the collection—it works like a chore coat and wears like a double-breasted blazer. Paired with our Pal pants, it can make an easy, informal suit—or can go easily back to denim for a more casual look.

Another favorite is the Everyday Shirt which is a lightweight, 100 percent Merino wool poplin shirt that feels nice, fits great and keeps you as cool as it looks. Plus, it is machine washable, which is an important factor for daily wear. I also love the simplicity and versatility of leisure golf jackets like The Club, with elastic drawcords at the waist so you can adjust the fit.

Rivet: What’s new in the spring collection?

BP: Our Capital T is more of a vibe than a typical T-shirt because of its casual fit. Made out of a super satisfying heavy cotton jersey, it is also really soft. I love a classic hickory stripe for spring which we made up in our Alpha shirt and Houseplant pants.

We also added PHD, a long sleeve pique polo, The Couch, cotton twill shorts in solids and stripes—with a no-fuss elastic waist and a classic drawcord, ventilated pocket bags and a super versatile 6″ inseam with a relaxed leg fit—and a zip hoodie to throw on for chillier evenings.

Rivet: How would you describe yourself as a consumer and who is your ideal consumer?

BP: Value and versatility are important to me, so I look for things that are classic and will last—both in style and wear. It’s part of the ethos at AYR—everything’s made to wear, re-wear and repair forever. I’m an advocate for the beauty of repaired casual clothing.

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