Esports clothing company, Ateyo, recently launched with a bang in Los Angeles hosting a number of well-known esports names with a Fortnite-themed party boasting their flagship product, an oversized zip-up hoodie.
We had the chance to sit down with Ateyo’s Co-founders, Rachel Feinberg and Breanne Harrison-Pollock about their entrance into esports and what they hope to bring to the scene that other companies haven’t.
Esports Insider: What are your collective backgrounds in both apparel and esports?
Rachel Feinberg: We met in design school in New York about 5 years ago and I can’t remember a day I didn’t talk to Breanne.
Breanne Harrison-Pollock: I worked with a large designer in Canada right after school and on nights and weekends we would spend time together FaceTiming designs and running a business basically long distance five hours a night. That business became big enough for me to leave my job and move back to New York and work on it full time which was really exciting. Simultaneously around that time we met someone who brought up the idea of esports. We started gaming and talking to anyone we knew that played video games and just spent a lot of time getting to know the space.
Rachel: This was about 2.5 years ago and we knew very little about the space. We started taking an hour subway ride basically every Saturday to Queens and going to local gaming cafes, which is still very part of the ecosystem. We just started talking to gamers and learning.
ESI: With this vast experience in fashion what made you two want to apply your knowledge of fashion to esports?
Rachel: In the beginning it was being at the cafes that had 14 people in them all day.
“Now two and a half years later I watch around six to eight hours of Twitch a day”
As a designer to have a customer that loves something so much is like a dream come true. We started bringing samples to the gaming cafes and asking people to game with this and let us know what they thought on a really local, small level. What we found that was special was that the people that game online all the time then meet in person, and those are real friendships. That part of esports is what we fell in love with. Now two and a half years later I watch around six to eight hours of Twitch a day.
It’s been a really fun space to be in and as a young hard working person the community has been extremely welcoming.
ESI: What do you want to bring to the community that other haven’t?
Breanne: From our perspective we really believe that clothing can really make gaming more comfortable when you’re playing for ten hours at a time.
“The way clothing was designed 200 years ago, our life has drastically changed and esports and gaming is a big part of that.”
We have a lot of development with customers, friends, and people in the industry but I think there’s so much innovation that can be done around that. For example: most clothes aren’t designed to sit, they’re designed to stand in.
The way clothing was designed 200 years ago, our life has drastically changed and esports and gaming is a big part of that. What we found is that the product that’s being offered doesn’t really reflect the quality of gameplay. That was exciting for us to go in and really create a product for an engaging, passionate audience. I think there’s great opportunities for collaborations as well. In the short term we don’t see ourselves as a merchandising provider, instead we feel very strongly about building a brand that sits apart from the teams or the leagues.
ESI: Women are already underrepresented in esports, especially managing endemic companies. Do you feel as if you’re making waves as female founders in esports?
Breanne: We feel really strongly about empowering women and that’s been a message of ours from our past companies.
We’re really proud to be women in the space and we think it’s important to highlight that there is a gender diversity issue in esports and gaming. If we can make any kind of impact on that, we’re excited about that, it’s not the main focus of our business but we are conscious of it.
Rachel: I think we definitely will be making apparel for women, that’s important to us. We feel strongly about creating a product that’s designed specifically for women.
ESI: Right now you only have one hoodie available, what sneak peak can you give us into what other clothing is planned for the future?
Breanne: Because we are LA based we know the summer is coming and it’s heating up so we’re focusing on creating products that address that.
Rachel: We have some collaborations that will be coming soon! We’ve had a lot of responses from people asking for different categories that we feel strongly about. We ask that everyone keep the responses coming so that we know what everyone is looking for. This means we can look at making those a reality!