Liv2Ride Interview with EESA Founder Stephen Cleary

Two years ago EESA invented the lifestyle performance category with their brand of “lift to lounge” styled base layers.  What started as an idea on napkin has exploded into a snowboarding phenomenon.  Imitators were fast to follow, but so far EESA has seemed to stay one step ahead of the crowd bringing their unique style to everything from Socks to Jackets.

Liv2Ride recently caught up with the mastermind behind EESA, president and founder, Stephen Cleary.  In between designing product, meeting with manufacturers and shipping boxes, Cleary sat down to answer a few of our questions.  Here is our mini-interview with Cleary and his thoughts on competition, new products and what the future holds for EESA Lux Layering.

L2R:  So, EESA basically invented the lifestyle performance category.  How does it feel to see everyone and their auntie coming out with some type of new “cool” baselayer offering these past two seasons?

SC:  Actually, it’s pretty all-time.  We knew we had a killer concept and the other brands are validating what we are doing.  If anything it reinforces what we are doing at retail and more importantly since our sole focus is making lifestyle clothing with technical fabrics you know we are going to continue to push layering where it has never gone before.

L2R:  Some of these products have a very “EESA-like” look to them.  Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery?

SC:  Indeed it is.  Apparel is interesting, because once it’s in the public domain it’s game on and anyone and their uncle or ‘auntie’ as you said, can make similar product.  We don’t keep a pulse on what’s happening within the snowsports industry as much as we look to see what’s happening and relevant in fashion and take our inspiration from that.  When we designed our first collection and brought it to the factories they told us it couldn’t be done, obviously that wasn’t an acceptable answer, so we searched high-and-low for a factory that could make product to our specifications.  It was a massive amount of work, but it was worth it and the factories also learned a ton about what can and can’t be done with performance fabrics.  I still remember our first factory meeting, we blew them away with our designs and they kept asking us if we wanted to use cotton because it would be easier, that was a long, long trip.

L2R: Tell us a little about what’s going on with the brand and the team this season?

SC:  We’re introducing two new categories and two new fabrics.  The first category is luxwear which is comprised of bonded fleece hoodies and track jackets.  We’ve got a couple-two-three pieces that are pretty banging, which I’ll talk about below.  We’re also introducing 100% bamboo long and short-sleeve shirts which we’re pretty amped about.  Bamboo is naturally anti-microbial which means you’re shit don’t stink.  It’s Moisture-wicking which means moisture moves up-and-away from your skin which keeps you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.  Lastly, it’s quick-dry so you don’t get swamp ass and more importantly if you do sweat you don’t stay wet.  All of this tech we fondly call M.A.Q. technology, it’s packed into all our garments and we couldn’t be prouder.  Like landing the date with the home coming queen, only this time it’s with the twins.

As far as the team goes, we’re going to get behind our top 12 shreds, Annie Boulanger, Jessie Fox, Yan Dofin, Max Legend, Tim Humphries, Jaakko Seppala, Andrew Hardingham, Marco Smolla, Patrick McCarthy, Ben Bogart, Dom Vallee and Silvia Mittermuller.  Is that 12?  We can’t count anyways, so maybe it’s a baker’s dozen who knows.  All we know is we’re stoked on the team and there stoked on us – Yay team!  Seriously though, our team is heavily involved with the development of product and you’ll start to see more signature pieces in the line for next year.

L2R:  What’s going to be the hot product that all the kids should be putting on their christmas lists this season?

SC:  The banging product this year is for sure the W’s tracket, it was stolen by the model at the Snowboard Mag photoshoot, so we need we had a winner there.  The Men’s Pulse is pretty ridonkulous and all the bamboo t’s are off the hook.  Once you try a bamboo tee shirt, you’ll never go back to cotton.  Seriously.

L2R:  What do you see the future holding for EESA and lifestyle performance wear?

SC:  We have our roots on snow with an eye towards year-round lifestyle driven collections.  Expect to see us launch a spring/summer collection in the near future.  Shhhh, big brother may be listening….. Ha. Ha. Ha. 



Pulse(M)                 Steeple(W)       Tracket(W)


Biff(M)                      BillyJean(W)         Drip(M)


EESA recently launched their 2009 website.  You can browse the entire 09 line and find a dealer near you at:


~ by hrocker on October 30, 2008.

2 Responses to “Liv2Ride Interview with EESA Founder Stephen Cleary”

  1. Interesting pictures with the scissors. Cool blog too.

  2. Thanks Mario. Appreciate the feedback – HR

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