“A big part of what I’ve done, from day one, is to build community,” says Aviator Nation founder Paige Mycoskie, speaking exclusively to The Hollywood Reporter about the rapid expansion of her celeb-loved, ‘70s-inspired athleisure brand.
Founded in 2006 out of her Venice garage, the company, which now boasts 16 of its own stores, has quietly soft-opened new fitness and music lifestyle concepts in Los Angeles in the last two months: Aviator Nation Ride cycling studio in Santa Monica and performance space Aviator Nation Dreamland in Malibu.
Ben Affleck, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, Jennifer Lawrence, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Matthew McConaughey and Robert Downey Jr. are among the Hollywood heavy-hitters who wear the label, which now includes outerwear, activewear, jeans and a cashmere collection. Every piece is made in America, and Mycoskie is proud to have “bootstrapped it” on her own, continuing to be the sole owner.
During the pandemic, Mycoskie dove deep into wellness and workouts, while adding to the brand’s fitness collection. “I grew up with a mom who was really into wellness. She taught aerobics and wrote two cookbooks. So it’s always been a part of my life,” she says.
All of that fueled the creation of Aviator Nation Ride (2940 Main Street, Santa Monica). It includes a cycling studio with 35 Aviator Nation x Schwinn bikes and Shimano shoes, a 16-bag boxing room (with collaborative Prolast gear) that converts into a yoga studio, and a retail space. Soon, wellness seminars and a juice bar will be in the mix. Classes can be reserved through the Aviator Nation Ride app ($20 for first class; $30 for single class.)
“It felt like the universe came full circle when I was driving down Main Street [in Santa Monica] and saw that the Planet Blue space was available,” she says. “It’s funny, because that was the second store I sold Aviator Nation to, in that building, on the same day that I sold my first order to Fred Segal. I lived by Rose Cafe, so I was literally across the street making the clothes!”
As to the vibe: “Ride is very rhythm-based, but a big part of the message is the mental health aspect, so I’ve been recruiting instructors that have a positive message in their routines.”
Mycoskie has additionally taken over the rest of the Malibu building that has housed an Aviator Nation store for a decade. Originally the Malibu Inn, then partially owned by Neil Young as the famous Crazy Horse Saloon in the ‘70s and ’80s, the venue has hosted The Doors, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and The Beach Boys. Mycoskie’s mission is to bring back that tradition in the clubby 14,000-square-foot Aviator Nation Dreamland space (22969 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu), centering on a stage with a state-of-the-art system from Nomad Sound Inc.
Shakey Graves, Drama and Diplo have given the space a test run, while Brandi Carlile inquired about an album release party, as she was shopping there. Monthly ticketed performances and private events will kick off this summer.
“Over 20 years ago, when I was in college at Arizona State, I came out here on a road trip and was surfing at Surfrider Beach,” says Mycoskie, who hails from Arlington, Texas. “I went across the street and walked into the Crazy Horse Saloon and Dickey Betts from The Allman Brothers was playing. I was a fan and it was popping.
“I fell in love with the whole California lifestyle on that trip. It’s a historical landmark,” continues Mycoskie. “I feel like I’m getting to live my passion through this place.”
Also on tap at Dreamland are light bites and specialty cocktails (green juice mixed with tequila is a Mycoskie fave) at indoor and outdoor bars, weekend yoga on the patio with live music and tiki torches, and a side window slated to open at dawn to serve up breakfast burritos, acai bowls and juices to the surf crowd. There will also be takeaway beach cocktails.
Mycoskie also shares exclusively with THR that she has just signed a lease for the seventeenth Aviator Nation store (with a similar Dreamland concept) in The Gulch district in Nashville, after encouragement from friends like Colbie Caillat and Dierks Bentley — a long-time pal of her brother Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms Shoes.
Every Aviator Nation concept store carries a special merchandise collection exclusive to that location.