I’ve often said that no matter your style preferences, there is at least one brand in the golf apparel market for you these days.
While nearly every style is accounted for, the same can’t be said for every size, though. The segment of the golf apparel market composed of big and tall golfers has been underserved during the game’s fashion revolution over the last decade. However, Aveo Golf is working to change this by providing big and tall golfers with stylish and functional threads.
I recently had a chance to talk with Aveo Golf founder, Darius Hicks, about the inspiration behind the brand, his design process, and the brand’s distribution at major retailers, such as Golfsmith and TGW.
GolfThreads: How did the idea of Aveo Golf come about?
Darius Hicks: I am a 6’4″ 300 lb. golfer who loves the game. The problem was, as I got better and began to play newer courses, including a few higher end private courses, I wanted to look like a golfer. This doesn’t sound like much of a challenge until you walk into a store or visit one online. I dare say it was almost impossible. I have large thighs, a long rise and big calf muscles all of which work to my disadvantage when it comes to fashion on or off the course.
Now to get even more specific, I was invited to my very first pro-am and knew it would be a struggle to find the right golf look. While I looked for something suitable (which failed miserably), I worked with a friend to develop a pair of unbranded blue shorts that fit.
These shorts fit and felt great, and they got a bit of attention. To make a long story short, this is how Aveo started, as a pair of blue shorts with no brand, no price tag and no plans to start a company.
GT: Your tag line is, “Play Fearlessly”. What does playing fearlessly mean to you, and how does Aveo Golf’s apparel help big and tall golfers accomplish that?
DH: Well first, it’s important to say that playing fearlessly is a character trait shared by every member of the Aveo team. It is the ability to push hard, to not accept no when you believe that yes is possible, and more than anything, believing that you can win. Playing fearlessly is taking chances and never letting fear paralyze you. It is what our brand is primarily built on, and it’s the characteristic of the men who wear and will wear Aveo. Every piece we manufacture will be a tribute to pushing toward success. Every piece will be a celebration of overcoming odds. Every piece will be a reminder that playing and living fearlessly is how you reach your dreams.
Wearing Aveo is extremely comfortable, which is important in golf. We give you room to move, room to swing, and style options that allow you to be confident. Having confidence in yourself is the key to playing fearlessly and winning.
GT: Your first product was a pair of unbranded shorts. Talk a little bit about the process of working through prototypes, and different fabrics and designs.
DH: Here are a few words to describe the process: hard, long, stressful and challenging. Did I mention stressful? It is full of obstacles and hesitation. But, it is also rewarding and nothing short of amazing as you watch it come together.
I knew what I wanted. I knew the fit had to be perfect so that other big and tall golfers would approve of what we released. I knew the fabric had to be spot on and perform just as well, if not better, than the established brands.
More than anything, I knew that since no other company was focused 100% on the big and tall golfer, I had to get it right.
When you have a strong opinion of what you want, and you have based that opinion on input from the people who matter (big and tall golfers), you have to be strong and fearless. You have to stick to your principles. Along the way, many people will attempt to sway you. Most people will do so from a positive place. Some will do it from the standpoint of what’s easy. But, no one will fight for your vision the way you will. You have to remember to stay the course and push for what you want, or in the end, you will not be happy with the result.
And the good news is we did it.
GT: You have designed each piece to address specific problem areas for big and tall golfers. What are these areas and how do Aveo Golf’s products provide solutions?
DH: Not only did we poll big and tall golfers to understand them, but I am a big guy myself (6’4″ 300 lbs.), so I have lived with these issues and I’m highly familiar with them.
1. Waistband. It’s no secret that waistbands can pinch, and heaven forbid if you pick up about 5 pounds, it’s only going to get worse. Every Aveo pant or short has our comfort flex waistband, which provides more than 2″ of give. You literally and figuratively can grow with Aveo.
2. Rise. We offer a longer rise product, but still keep it reasonable. For guys who need an extreme rise, don’t worry. We are designing as we speak.
3. Thigh. This was a big problem for me. I have thighs like a linebacker and it is tough to find a pair of golf pants or shorts that comfortably fit my thighs. So we have carefully added room to that area. You won’t have a problem squatting or swinging in these.
GT: What is the range of sizes that you offer?
DH: We offer waist sizes from 38” – 46” and inseams at 32”, 34”, and 36”. Also, our golf polos will be released in a few weeks. We will offer XLT, 2XLT, 2XLB, 3XLT, 3XLB, and 4XB.
Don’t worry, we will be expanding here, as well.
GT: You mention on your website that you don’t copy existing styles based on popularity. How important is it for Aveo Golf to have its own unique look?
DH: Highly important. Our customers are important to us and they need an apparel partner who has their needs, interest, and style in mind. We are not our competitors, so why do we need to look like them. You will see this when we release our shirts soon.
GT:Recently, retailers like Golfsmith, Golf Town and TGW starting stocking Aveo Golf apparel. What does distribution through these retailers mean to the Aveo Golf brand and how does it validate your concept?
DH: It’s been a blessing to have such strong retail partner support for a young company. That is a significant point of validation. There are many brands desiring to be sold in the very same channels where we are succeeding.
These retailers matter to our customer. They send the message to potential shoppers that Aveo is a real brand that can be trusted, so give them a try. We are currently available online with each of the listed retailers, but will soon become available in key stores. Everyone make sure you request that your retailer carry Aveo its store and that will help us grow faster.
I’m also proud to announce that we are launching in Dick’s Sporting Goods very, very soon.