After a three-year sabattical due to a non-compete, Alex, Laurent and Raphael Elicha, the brothers behind The Kooples, have launched a new brand.
It’s called Veynd, which is pronounced veined, and is intended to celebrate “the dark side of fitness.” The men’s and women’s collections feature some traditional activewear staples such as leggings and sports bras, but then cross over into another realm with dark shades, oversize silhouettes and structured tailored pieces that reflect the founders’ love for edgy fashion.
Whether targeted to the MMA market or the athleisure lover, the collection uses technical fabrics that perform well and are also comfortable, the brothers said.
The first season offers nearly 200 pieces and includes cropped performance tanks, bike shorts, sweatpants, faux leather bombers and joggers in four colors for women, and performance tops and tanks, shorts, leggings, puffer and fleece outerwear and joggers for men.
Veynd is based in Paris and will be sold exclusively online in its first season. Prices range from $48 to $338 and each piece features the brand’s signature logo.
In their first interview prior to this week’s launch in New York City, Alex Elicha said that after they sold The Kooples and exited the brand in 2019, they spent time with family and friends and traveled before brainstorming about the “best way to come back.”
The Elichas founded The Kooples in 2008 and sold the company to Maus Freres, which also owns Lacoste and Gant, for an undisclosed amount. Although they’re no longer involved, they said The Kooples will always be “our baby,” according to Alex Elicha.
But now they have a new baby, and they’re putting their full energies into making this one as successful as The Kooples, which had sales of 227 million euros and 334 stores when it changed hands.
The brothers came up with the concept for Veynd during the time they spent in Los Angeles where they lived for several years when they were younger and revisited during their hiatus from fashion.
“We were working out but it was difficult to find activewear that we liked,” Alex Elicha said. “And when we did find something, we were always cutting the sleeves or buying things three times too big in order to feel comfortable. So one month after arriving in L.A., we started thinking about creating our own clothes in our vision, and that was the beginning of Veynd.”
The name Veynd is intended to be both “mysterious” and “catchy,” he said, and reference veins which are so important to sports performance because they “irrigate the body and bring oxygen to your muscles.”
Veins are also used as inspiration for the graphics on the clothes, they said.
For the launch in New York, the brothers partnered with the Dogpound gym, which has locations on both coasts. “It’s a famous gym in New York and Los Angeles and we’re close friends with the owner so we bet it was a good time to launch the brand with them,” Alex Elicha said.
He said they spent six months talking to athletes to ensure the collection offered the elasticity, breathability and other features they need for working out. But the silhouettes of the athleisure part of the collection offer up an entirely different message because of the volume and darker aesthetic.
The collection will be updated with small drops every month, they said, and targeted to an “underground community” that connects with the message.
Veynd will be sold direct-to-consumer exclusively for the foreseeable future, but the brothers didn’t rule out one day working with “alternative outlets” to sell the collection. “We’re very picky about the people we work with,” said Raphael Elicha. And opening a store is also a possibility down the road, they said, since having a retail presence is the best way to present the image of the brand to potential customers.
Despite their prior success with The Kooples, the siblings know that launching a new brand and finding a niche will take time. “It’s going to be slow growth but we’re going to take it step by step,” Alex Elisha said.