A Charlotte duo designs chic golf wear for women that’s as pretty as it is practical.
by Cameron Crews
If you’ve ever shopped for women’s sportswear, chances are you have had to settle for practical pieces over fashionable looks. What if you could have both? With Byrdie Golf Social Wear, you can.
Founded by Rachelle Williams and Hayden Shoffner, Byrdie focuses on creating stylish and practical women’s sportswear that can be worn to play golf or tennis, to run errands, and beyond. As the founders describe it, the dresses, polos, jumpers, skirts and more can be worn from “courses to cocktails.”
“Our whole concept is never compromising fashion for performance,” Williams says. “Guys get dressed for the day, go to work, play golf and go to dinner in the same outfit, so why can’t we do that?”
The two women got the idea for the brand during the pandemic, when playing golf was one of the few ways they stayed active. They started planning, and after about a year and a half, Byrdie was born.
“I had just moved back from New York, and we finally decided to do it together,” says Shoffner, a Charlotte native who studied fashion production at Auburn University.
As a small-batch producer, the women say it was essential that the garments be made in the United States.
“I think that goes hand in hand with speaking to our price point — our pieces are more of an investment,” says Williams, who studied communications at UNC Greensboro. Prices range from a $95 polo to $200 or more for dresses. Shoppers also are more mindful than ever about where their clothing is made, Williams says.
The partners work together on the design process. Williams’ background is in styling, having previously worked at Capitol, the luxury boutique founded by Laura Vinroot Poole. Shoffner focuses on production. “I previously helped launch another startup in New York that was a resortwear brand, so I saw firsthand how to launch an apparel brand from the ground up,” Shoffner says.
They each have their own style icons, with Williams’ being Amanda Cutter Brooks and Shoffner’s being Jackie Kennedy, but they credit their grandmothers as the main inspiration behind the designs and identity of Byrdie.
“This brand was truly based on our grandmothers because they were so chic,” Williams says. “I was always on the golf course with [my grandmother]. And she was always there with friends, too. We want it to be this heritage brand that is dedicated to them. A lot of our branding is making golf not just a one-off activity, but building this whole lifestyle around it.”
Byrdie has several upcoming collaborations, including two shoes with Cole Haan and a hat launching for the Presidents Cup. They also plan to launch a wholesale business. The clothing is sold on their website, byrdiegolfsocial.com, or through other online retailers like Over the Moon and The Avenue. SP
Photographs courtesy Byrdie Golf Social Wear