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  • October 24, 2016 5 min read

    Melissa Hebeler / E! News

    From music festivals to your favorite shops to the backs of some of the biggest celebs, Aviator Nation is doing something right.

    If you care about where your clothes come from, you're probably already familiar with the made-in-California brand. But it's time you also got to know its founder and CEO, Paige Mycoskie (who's responsible for creating some of the softest T-shirts and sweats we've ever felt). 

    Her inspiring story and so many other cool facts (like the line's many celeb followers) are below. 

    What was your first job?
    When I was really young I used to go to work with my dad and file patient folders for him. I always wanted to color coordinate all the files. I think I was in grade school. I LOVED going to work with him.


    ESC: Trendsetters, Aviator Nation


    How did you get into the industry?
    From a young age, all I wore were vintage tee shirts and sweatshirts and my favorite designs were ones from the '70s. As time went on, they became hard to find, so it dawned on me one day that it may just be easier to try and make what I was trying so hard to find. I bought Sewing for Dummies and a sewing machine then taught myself to make patterns and actually sew. I learned dying techniques and how to screen print from reading other how-to books. Pretty soon I had my own little factory in my bedroom. 

    As soon as I started to wear my creations around town people began stopping me and asking me what brand I was wearing, so after a few weeks of that it became obvious to me that I was onto something. A street fair was coming up a couple blocks from my house (The Abbot Kinney Festival 2006), so I took a chance and got a booth. I spent weeks making clothes to sell at the festival and when the day arrived I set up my first little pop-up shop. That day I made $8,000 selling the first batch of Aviator Nation clothes to my neighbors. I realized, of course, that I needed to quit my job and focus on this full-time.

    What's a typical day like for you?
    I get up early and do some type of a workout outdoors (a jog, hike, bike ride or sometimes surfing) before I start my day. Next I head to the office and dive into emails, which takes a few hours. After emails, I dive into whatever I've decided is going to be my focus that day—one day it might be reviewing sales and finances, the next day it might be analyzing our factory operations. One day a week I try to focus purely on designing new product and/or tweaking current designs. I still oversee every area of the company.

    ESC: Trendsetters, Aviator Nation

    Melissa Hebeler / E! News

    Tell us about your office décor. 
    My office/workspace is pretty rad. I've had the store on Abbot Kinney for nearly 7 years now and my office is in the back of the store. We have a ping pong table and rainbow carpet. My brother gave me an original Woodstock poster and that hangs near my desk and serves as a constant reminder that anything is possible. I think the most special thing about my office is the fact that it's on the street where it all started.

    What's the best part about your job?
    This is always a hard one for me to answer because I love so many aspects of what I do. I love designing new product, I love directing the photo shoots (because I get to create captured moments that encompass my full vision), I love building new stores and I love bringing on new staff. The Aviator Nation team is truly a family and the more we grow, the more awesome people we get to bring into that family.

    Who are some of your career heroes?
    One of my heroes would be Madonna for sure because she's managed to stay relevant for a very long time and has insane passion for her art. She's built her brand from creating the music she wants to, wearing the clothes she wants to and staying true to herself, always. She is a true original. My other career hero would have to be my brother Blake. I'm so proud of the movement he has created with the TOMS brand. It's one thing to create a brand, but to watch him create a movement and inspire hundreds of other entrepreneurs to create cause-based brands makes me a very proud sister.


    ESC: Trendsetters, Aviator Nation

    Melissa Hebeler / E! News

    What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
    When I was in high school, my mom wrote me a note that said "always follow your heart." I taped it to my mirror and looked at it every day for about four years. It was something really simple, but it stuck. Whether it's risky or not I always follow my heart. I'm always honest with myself and I believe this keeps me authentic.

    What do you think Aviator Nation's best known for?
    I think the softness and comfort of the clothes. The various aspects of making the garments as soft as they are is expensive and creates a lot of extra work in my factory, but this element is so critical to me. I think I do it well because, ultimately, I know I'm going to be wearing the clothes—and I don't want to wear something that doesn't feel like perfection.

    ESC: Trendsetters, Aviator Nation

    Melissa Hebeler / E! News

    Who do you love to see wearing your line?
    We have a lot of celebrity fans and it's definitely cool to see that. I'm a big Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, so I love seeing Anthony Kiedis rocking it. Also a big fan of Chris Martin from Coldplay—he wears it a lot. I love seeing Pink rock it because she has mad style and is such a rad female in general. Many other awesome women including Heidi Klum, Jennifer Garnerand Reese Witherspoon rock it. One of my favorites and one of our biggest fans is Robert Downey Jr. He shops with us all the time...and the fact that Iron Man is cruising around in my sweats gets me pretty stoked.

    What exciting things do you have coming up?
    At the moment, I'm super excited about the Aviator Nation outerwear collection coming out this fall/holiday season. We're doing a variety of killer jackets, vests and snowboarding gear, too! I've been working on this for a long time to get the fabrics, comfort and design elements perfect, so it's going to be super exciting to finally see it come to life. And to get to wear it on the mountain!

    ESC: Trendsetters, Aviator Nation

    Melissa Hebeler / E! News

    Finish the sentences below:

    Today for lunch I had…scrambled eggs on a corn tortilla.

    The first website I log onto every day is…www.AviatorNation.com.

    My usual Starbucks order is…flat white (but I try to stay local).

    If I wasn't doing this job, I would…be in a band.

    My favorite place to visit is…Kauai or Bali.

    List five things that are on your desk right now…Fabric samples, patch samples, real estate research, photo of my incredibly handsome nephew and my super-sized moleskin.

    The book I'm reading right now is…The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.


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