Just in time for the Olympics, Daniel Shapiro launched a new line of men's active apparel on Monday.
Shapiro, who has years of experience at The Gap, American Eagle and Old Navy, debuted Fourlaps to provide men with attractive-but-attainable activewear with unique technical features and an effortlessly cool aesthetic.
We recently chatted with Shapiro about his designs, his workout routine and much more. Keep reading for the full interview.
1. What inspired you to launch Fourlaps?
"Since as far back as I can remember, I have wanted to start an apparel company. I thought about taking the leap in my 20s but received the invaluable advice to get more experience first. I was living in San Francisco at the time, so I decided to start my apparel career at the Gap. I spent over 10 years working for some of America's best brands and in 2013 decided the timing was right to start my own. I felt like the biggest opportunity out there was in men's athletic apparel. Working out is a central part of my life, and I believe that you need the right clothing to look and feel good while doing it. Plus, you shouldn't have to spend a lot of money to get great workout clothing. That's where Fourlaps comes in. We are built to fit a guy's active lifestyle — the perfect combination of function, fashion and accessibility."
2. Tell us more about the brand's tagline, "Start Before You're Ready."
"Taking a leap into something that is new and uncomfortable is always difficult. Ultimately, if you wait until you are ready to do something, that day may never come. The tagline is a part of our overall ethos. The name Fourlaps comes from the four laps it takes to make up a mile — your first real athletic milestone. Once you complete the mile, it's time to move on to bigger and bolder challenges. And you have got to start going after those no matter what to reach your full potential."
3. What makes Fourlaps different from other men's active apparel brands?
"Three key things. First, styling. Fourlaps is all about clean lines and bright, optimistic colors. Both the use of color and the colors themselves are a departure from most men's athletic apparel. Second, functionality. As a direct-to-consumer brand, we have focused on adding in a ton of functionality (like iPhone pockets) and using great materials (with wicking, etc.) all while maintaining the third differentiator: price. The majority of our line is under $50, which is an incredible value."
4. What type of customer do you design for?
"Fourlaps is for a guy who leads a healthy life and cares about what he is wearing. He likes to stand out without sticking out. He wants great workout gear that makes him look and feel good but doesn't want to overpay. I wanted to design a collection that works for every guy, not just one type of man. A perfect example is that I gravitate toward wearing the advance short when I go to the gym for training, but my best friend is a runner and won't wear anything longer than 7". For him the Bolt Short is his go-to."
5. Where do you find your design inspiration?
"So many places! The original collection was inspired by vintage Ivy League images. The clothing has a nod to the past while still staying modern. I'm also an avid traveler (have been to 60 countries) and am constantly inspired by the fresh perspective that travel brings. For our spring collection, I was inspired by some incredible store windows I saw in Paris. Color is a big part of the line, and the colors in Paris are like no other place."
6. What was the most challenging part about launching your own label?
"Launching Fourlaps as a 'solopreneur' is both the best thing I've done and the biggest challenge I've faced. It's hard to drive forward alone without the consistency of people to bounce ideas off of. But I am incredibly lucky to be working out of a shared creative workspace called Neuehouse. I've met some great people here who have been such supporters and given me great advice."
7. If you could see your clothing on any athlete, who would you pick and why?
"Adam Wainwright from the St. Louis Cardinals. He plays for my hometown team, and he is the backbone. He is known for his hard work and good sportsmanship."
8. What do you do to stay in shape?
"I work out six days a week — both for my head and for my body. A typical week includes weightlifting two times per week, pilates two times per week, running or spinning and yoga. I also throw in a cross-training class too. Outside of the gym, I also practice transcendental meditation twice a day. It keeps my mind in shape."
9. Do you have a favorite gym or fitness class in NYC?
"I'm an Equinox member. I really like their offering and swear by my trainer Jon Bokelmann. I go to the Tribeca location especially to see him. He has been such a positive force in my life."
10. If you could compete in any Olympic sport, which would you pick and why?
"Water Polo. I played in high school, and let's just say I wasn't great, but I stuck with it. It's a very hard sport because you need to be strong and have a lot of endurance but also be very coordinated."