TCU cheerleader launches activewear line for often-forgotten customers
Athleisure is one of the fastest growing categories within the fashion industry, and Texas Christian University senior Jack Feltgen is doing his part to grab a piece of the pie.
Recognizing a lack of variety among activewear, specifically for men, Feltgen launched Makani Co. earlier this month to provide pieces that go beyond T-shirts and tanks.
Inspired by the cropped jerseys and half-shirts of the ’70s-’90s, Makani seeks to “combat ideals of fragile masculinity that surround men today.”
The Hawaiian word for “breeze,” the name reflects the free-flowing nature of the brand. Its logo is based on the West Maui Mountains, which Feltgen saw on a family vacation as a teenager.
“I’d love for the brand to expand globally and use its presence to support the body positivity movement, as well as redefine society’s standards associated with both men’s and women’s apparel,” says Feltgen.
It’s a lofty goal, but Feltgen is up for the challenge.
In his fourth year as a TCU cheerleader, the budding entrepreneur is a full-time student athlete. And though he has no formal textile training — he's a film major and business minor — he’s learned everything he knows through trial and error, adopting a “learn-as-you-go” approach.
Essentially, he designs the pieces he wants to wear — soft, midriff-baring tops sans scratchy tags and constricting shapes.
“What's interesting with athleisure is that the female market is plentiful in terms of variety,” says Feltgen. “But for men, it's pretty basic tees, tank tops, sweatshirts, and pullovers. I wanted something to shake up this mix.”
Though his focus is on men’s activewear, Feltgen is “shaking up the mix” for women, too. Seeking to inspire body confidence among both sexes, Makani features a women’s line of tops boasting a unique backless design that connects with a button at the neckline.
Pieces range from $20-$40 and are available for preorder online.
“I’ve been involved in various sports throughout my life, so I looked at trends of the past to reintroduce into this relatively new athleisure market,” says Feltgen. “I think both our mission and the apparel we produce set us apart.”