Winter 2020-2021

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158 Winter 2020-2021 Equestrian apparel label Rönner ventures into the lifestyle business. BY CHRISTIE GALEANO-DEMOTT PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELOISE STEVENSON The Ride of Their Lives IN A SPORT THAT'S BEEN RULED by monotonous collections of white, khaki and black show apparel, equestrian fashion has received a much-needed jolt of Latin air with Rönner. The faces behind the brand—Ines Rönner and her daughters, Carin and Jessica Stellabatti Rönner—have been disrupting that traditional sartorial mold for more than a decade, introducing riders to a kaleidoscope of elegant patterns, peplum polos and rufes. What started out as a fanciful idea between the sisters in 2010 has now evolved into an international brand carried by 40 retailers worldwide. The company employs about 100 workers, including Colombian artists, seamstresses and designers, and will debut a European headquarters in Germany next year. Rönner has also maintained a long-standing presence at the Winter Equestrian Festival, which returns to Palm Beach from January 6 – April 4, 2021. The matriarch of the family, who grew up in Germany but has called Colombia home for more than 40 years, says she fell in love with horseback riding the moment she rst rode at 8 years old. Ines became procient in dressage, an equestrian discipline involving a harmonious performance by both horse and rider based on gaits and movements. During her 20 years of competing, the 65-year-old earned several titles, including vice champion in her category of dressage. While Ines' daughters never took to the sport, they say their childhood was spent immersed in their mother's equine love, frequenting her competitions and leisurely riding on the weekends. "The elegance and grace of the sport marked us deeply and now you see that in the brand," Carin, 38, says. Rönner's entry into the equestrian show ring more than a decade ago came with the opportunity to design the Colombian national team's show jackets. Since then, the company has created its signature bold, feminine line that the trio has dubbed "ride-leisure." Made for athletes, the garments offer odor, sweat and sun protection while also being versatile enough to transition into ready-to-wear clothes after any competition or practice. Further evolving into a lifestyle brand, Rönner now has collections that include blouses, trousers and shoes that can be worn from season to season, in addition to children's clothes, stationery, face masks and a forthcoming line of home pieces. That expansion allowed the company to pivot from shuttered retailers when the pandemic hit and develop its digital strategy with the help of content creation and online ads to reach a global homebound audience looking for classic, comfortable pieces. "Growing our online platform was the only option we had, the only way to survive during the pandemic," says Jessica, 36. "It's been gratifying to see that what we've done in the past several months is working. We've gone from 30 online orders per month to 300." Another change Rönner rolled out this year was a companywide, eco-conscious decision to implement sustainable polyester fabrics. Ultimately, the brand's goal is to work with fabrics that have the least impact on the environment, including the current fabric that's made from plastic bottles taken out of Colombia's oceans. It's all part of the company's mission to not only produce modern equestrian fashion but to also provide wearers with a quality, sustainable option. Or more specically, as Carin says, it's a chance for the brand to nd a "bigger purpose." v VICTORIA HOLGUIN

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