While Snooki and The Situation may have made the world think of the Jersey shore as nothing more than G.T.L. (gym, tan, laundry in case you forgot), East Coast surfers have long known that the New Jersey coast produces some of the best waves, and waveriders, in the region. For Mike Faherty, who co-founded the fashion brand Faherty with his twin brother Alex in 2013, growing up near the beach in Spring Lake, NJ has always had a tremendous influence on the clothes that he designs.
For Mike, his formative memories all took place outside and he wanted to create a brand that suited that lifestyle. “Every weekend we would set up shop at the beach with a brunch of surfboards, chairs, books, etc. and just spend 12 hours there,“ he says. "Then in the winter, we would all take a big ski trip and ski until our muscles ached and our faces were burned.”
When it came time to start Faherty, after working in design for Ralph Lauren’s RRL label, Mike knew the clothes he created needed to cater to people who wanted to look pulled together, but not stuffy; casual, but not sloppy.
“For us it’s all about creating clothing for life’s great moments, and for us, these exist when outside, whether it be a morning surf as the sun rises, drinking a beer slope-side after a long day skiing, or grilling out in the backyard with friends and family.”
Mike’s own wanderlust coupled with his business obligations mean that he spends a significant amount of time traveling. He still gets back to Spring Lake to catch a dawn patrol surf session when the swell is right, but has also developed a fondness for more far-flung locales like Peru, where Faherty does some of its manufacturing. He is able to work with some of his partners in Lima during the morning and then bolt a few hours south where he’s found some incredible, uncrowded waves.
But Mike also enjoys more cosmopolitan destinations like Tokyo, which he tries to visit annually, just to poke around the city while eating rice bowls with fish and drinking green tea. That “town and country” vibe permeates throughout Faherty, which now has shops in New York City and Los Angeles as well as Nantucket.
Since he’s logged so many miles in pursuit of outdoor adventures, we asked Mike to share his gear essentials for an epic trip. Just try not to flip your car, like Mike and Alex once did in Costa Rica, getting there.
FAHERTY DUAL KNIT CREWNECK
Mike calls this “the perfect combo of sweatshirt and sweater” and wears them religiously whether he’s working, hiking, or going out to dinner. “The heathered fabric has a great texture and is so damn soft.”
A good pair of headphones is key no matter what you’re doing. Like everyone else, Mike has been in search of the perfect pair and thinks he may have found them with these SkyBuds. With no wires, there’s nothing to get tangled, but the best part is the fit. “They are the only ones I’ve found that do not move in my ears at all no matter what I’m doing,” says Mike.
FILSON DUFFEL BAG
A staunch believer in carrying on his bag when he flies, Mike has found that this Filson duffel is the perfect size. “It’s large enough to pack enough gear for any trip.” The iconic Filson twill fabric and the bridle leather straps only look better the more they get beat up and broken in. Mike likes the rugged, yet refined look of the Filson bag so much that Faherty even carries them in their stores.
YETI TUNDRA COOLER
No one ever thought a cooler could be a status symbol until Yeti came along. With their tough-as-nails design, they are a testament to function yielding the best form. And they definitely function. As Mike notes, “nothing keeps beer cooler.”
FAHERTY COMFORT TWILL JEANS
It took Mike about two years to get these pants exactly how he wanted them. “They are the most comfortable pants out there and they’ve got a cool rugged look.” The fabric has some flex to it, making them ideal for an active life outdoors (and for still looking sharp when you go back indoors).
COOLA ECO-LUX SUNSCREEN
The “always wear sunscreen” mantra is no joke. “Sunburn is not a good look,” Mike says. He has developed an affinity for Southern California-based Coola, which uses mostly organic products such as cucumber, algae and strawberry extract in its sunscreen.