Arista Equestrian: an apparel brand focused on quality, authenticity and the next generation
By Rennie Dyball
Jocelyn Kivort doesn’t just tell customers that her clothes will last them many years, she shows them.
As the owner and manufacturer of Arista Equestrian, a boutique brand of equestrian and lifestyle parts, Kivort will sometimes wear his own favorite Arista parts to work all day. And sometimes those pieces will have lived in his closet for a decade.
“People are going to ask, ‘Can I buy this?’ and I tell them it’s a 10-year-old play,” Kivort told The Plaid Horse. “I sprinkle them in my wardrobe because it’s important for people to see how our products last. Even if you’re hard on it, wear it and wash it a lot.
This high quality is at the forefront of Kivort’s mission with its brand. “We are constantly trying to create value for our customers. Our business is probably run differently than the majority in that it’s not so much about profit as it is about the product and the consumer,” she says.
“We absorb a lot of the costs. I’m proud of Arista. It talks to people, and they get good value. Compared to other brands, spending $130 on a shirt is a lot of money. People tell me, ‘It’s so beautiful, I’m not even carrying Arista to the barn. I tell them, ‘Please wear them! We put so much effort into choosing durable fabrics and doing wash tests to make sure the pieces will hold up, wash well and stains will come out. It’s a sin not to take them to the barn.
Arista Sport and a new home at the WEC
While Arista previously took up residence at various horse shows throughout the year‚ in addition to being sold through a network of retailers, the brand now has a permanent home at the World Equestrian Center in ‘Ocala, Florida. Kivort says the clothes were originally popular with dressage riders and older amateurs in all disciplines.
Now, from its new store at the WEC, Kivort is expanding its range to appeal to a younger audience in hunter-jumper circles. “It was the sophisticated designs that first appealed to the mature amateur pilot,” says Kivort. “However, over the past few years we have intentionally added designs to appeal to a younger consumer.”
Kivort is currently designing a separate line within the brand, Arista Sport, with young competitive riders in mind. “We are very excited to develop the Arista Sport line to appeal to the modern rider with strong pieces in sportier silhouettes, with a trendier, more youthful look,” she says. “The fabrics and components used for this line will offer the same quality as the Arista Classic line with designs that appeal more directly to the hunter-jumper rider.” Arista Sport will offer short-sleeved and long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, vests and pants.
The woman behind the brand
Long before Kivort ran this business herself, she received a holiday gift from her sister: an Arista vest. Kivort liked the high quality, design and fit so much that she went looking for more pieces from the brand. “It was 2am, I had just had a baby a few weeks ago, and I saw a note on the website that said, ‘Do you want to become an Arista retailer?’ I had had a long career in retail, so I started selling Arista under the business name In The Stirrup,” she says.
“The brand was my singular focus as I loved the style, detail and quality of the product. My business quickly became the largest Arista Equestrian retailer. As I myself was Arista’s largest customer, I I had an intimate understanding of her needs. Over the years I became more involved in the designs providing feedback to the owners to help shape the fashion direction for the following season. When I had the opportunity to I didn’t hesitate to buy the brand four years ago, it was such a natural progression in my Arista journey.
Kivort has always had an affinity for horses, but she didn’t start riding until she was 30. “It was a very quick road from lessons, to renting and buying my very first horse,” she says. With her horse Nemo, she competed in special adult hunting and riding events, and she recently imported a 5-year-old Holsteiner named Quirano. “He is currently in training with a professional but I hope to show him in a few months,” says Kivort. “He made his WEC debut last week and got some great ribbons in the top classes.”
But her greatest moments with horses have always included her two daughters – Olivia, now 20, and Mirielle, now 18. effort,” says Kivort. “My fondest childhood memories of my daughters definitely include horses. Now they are a great resource as well, as sounding boards for Arista designs!”
Visit Arista Equestrian in person at the World Equestrian Center, Ocala, or online at www.aristaequestrian.com.
*This story originally appeared in the February 2022 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered right to your door!