SAILOR SPOTLIGHT: LAURA LEVY AND NOELLE BREWIN, COFOUNDERS OF SØMAND
Laura Levy and Noelle Brewin say that being a part of a club where women achieve greatness in sailing inspired them to work together. The two met while racing on the Bay and are now meeting the needs of other sailors with Sømand, a line of high-performance sailing apparel designed by women, for women.
How did you meet?
Laura: Noelle and I met through a fellow Club member and my sponsor, Andrew Lorenzen, while racing in the SBYC Friday night series in 2018. We immediately bonded over our shared backgrounds in design. It was from that meeting that we decided to start working on Sømand together.
Tell us about Sømand.
We were inspired to create a sailing apparel company that puts women at the forefront in an industry that typically caters to men. Most women’s sailing apparel are adaptations of menswear and not built for women. Being a part of StFYC we have seen women achieve amazing things in sailing, such as Nicole Breault becoming 2018 Yachtsman of the Year. We feel women deserve sailing clothing at least as good as the options available to men, if not better.
We both come from design backgrounds and share a passion for sailing. Noelle received her MA in Sports Product Design in Switzerland and through a luxury skiwear brand learned how to design and manufacture high-end technical sports apparel. Laura studied Graphic Design and Illustration at Maryland Institute College of Art and launched a fashion start-up.
We started developing the brand in 2018 and recently launched pre-sales of our first product, the Farallon Jacket, shipping in Spring 2021. To inform our design, we gathered input from dozens of members and one thing we heard over and over was how jackets don’t fit. They either have excess fabric or are too slim cut to afford the flexibility needed for sailing. We designed our jacket with an anatomical cut for superior fit and worked with a fabric expert to develop a waterproof, abrasion-resistant fabric that incorporates 4-way stretch with a bonded membrane allowing it to breath. We minimized our use of Velcro and the annoyance of it getting stuck in long hair and opted instead for a new technology “snap tape” on our sleeve cuffs. There is even a hat cord and clip built right into the collar, which is Noelle’s favorite feature.
What are your goals for the company?
We want to build the best technical sailing apparel that exists. It would be great to become a household name known for our high-quality, uncompromising sailing apparel that happens to be made exclusively for women. We launched the brand with a performance sailing jacket as our halo product and will continue to design, develop and expand our full line of performance apparel. In addition to supporting all the amazing women sailors who already exist, we hope our brand inspires all women and underrepresented sailors.
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