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Fashion Focus: An Interveiw with Laura Romfh

Equestrian Collections Chats with Laura Romfh

Laura Romfh, creator of Romfh equestrian clothing, was born into a Floridian equestrian family and started riding at the age of two on her grandparents Fort Lauderdale farm.  From lesson, to pony club, to Dressage, and on to Eventing, riding has been a part of her life from the very beginning.

After high school, Laura attended the Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles.  With a lifetime of riding, and the best fashion design education, the obvious next step was to start her own equestrian clothing company ... at the ripe old age of twenty-five!

Laura, also an avid runner, hiker and back-packer, loved the outdoors and how special fabrics and fibers made the outdoors even more fun and comfortable. She saw the equestrian market was missing this entirely. At that point equestrian clothing was all made of cotton, acrylic, nylon or polyester. She also noticed that riding clothing didn't really fit. The polos were boxy and unflattering; the breeches shaped for little boys with no curves. Basically, clothing was completely unchanged from the 1970's and 80's.

The Romfh clothing line has really taken off!  Romfh has come to exemplify classic, no-nonsense tasteful equestrian fashion for serious rider athletes.  

EC:  Your new Fall/Winter Romfh International line is now up on Equestrian Collections.  It has such a wonderful simple elegance to it!  Could you tell our shoppers the process you use to get a collection like this from first concept to finally being available for purchase?

LR: As well as being a rider, I am also an avid shopper!  Between trips to Europe, shopping both on line and going to stores, my mind is constantly seeking clothing and trends which lend themselves to the equestrian market.  I'm always seeking need for our equestrians and figuring out the best way to fill those.  Each season I put together a collection which makes sense for my brand and helps fulfill some of those equestrian desires.  As well as constant communications with my factories, I also travel and meet with them several times a year.  They, too, are searching the markets to bring me the newest and latest trends and developments they've found.  We all work together to bring a comprehensive group of products and styles which make sense with current market needs.

EC: How long does the complete cycle take from conception to completion?

LR:  Its always an on-going process, but from the development sketches to launching new items available to the public takes about one year.  There are exceptions, when, at the last minute, new needs pop up and I'm able to turn items around from customer request in about five to six months.

EC:  Do you design a "wish list" of products?

LR:  Of course! I  always start "pie in the sky" and work my way down to what items make the most sense, keeping in  mind technical fit, financial aspects, and holes in the market.

EC: How do you decide on complete new styles vs. updates to ones that have already been popular?

LR:  Some items are so popular, it doesn't make a lot of sense to change them right away.  For example, by Romfh CoolMax Show Shirt, launched the first season of Romfh, essentially unchanged (give or take small fit adjustments over the past fifteen years) was my number one selling item for most of the life of the company.  This spring 2012, we have completely updated the look, feel, and fit of this popular item.  We continue to be on the cutting edge of fabric trends and consumer needs, while never losing the essence of what makes this Romfh show shirt popular.  The updated version is called the Romfh Pirouette Show Shirt, featuring lightening fast fabric colling performance, better fit, while continuing to respect the great simple concepts that make this shirt work.

EC:  What inspires your Color Palette for the season?

LR: I pull from a combination of what I've seen while doing market research and what colors inspire me.  I never know where these inspirations will come from.  Sometimes movies, sometimes seeing new exhibitions at museums and many times from what I've seen while traveling Europe and Asia.  I always bear in mind our needs as equestrians.

EC:  When you design, do you have a particular "rider" in mind?  What does she do?  What does shes look like?

LR:  For better or worse, she is me in many ways.  Having been a rider all my life, I am familiar with the different needs of equestrians, no matter your age or size.  I know my own mental thought process when I'm shopping and trying on clothing.  I try to make clothing which makes a woman say "Yes!  I look and feel great!" when she puts on my clothing.  As a woman, I know nothing makes me happier and more confident than loving how I look and my overall comfort.  And really, in our sport, as much as we are athletes, we are all women who want to look and feel great.

EC:  Heather Blitz, international Dressage Grand Prix Rider, is an avid wearer of your clothing line.  Why do you think your clothing works so well for her?

LR: Dressage, much  like Romfh clothing, is the perfect marriage between strength and beauty.  Heather is the essence of athletic elegance, both on and off the horse.  It's only a natural fit that Romfh clothing and Heather compliment each other.  I'm happy that Romfh is often a part of Heather's generous contribution to making our sport as beautiful and powerful as it is today. 

Thank you Laura!           


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